Online Degrees Platform

INTRODUCTION We propose that Lagos State University (LASU) launch an online version of Degree program in early 2018. The goal for having “Online Degrees” offered at LASU is to deliver high-quality programs that is accessible to global audiences and is recognised as top-five online degree programs by 2019. The “Online Degrees” will follow the existing … Read more

Synchronous and asynchronous remote learning during the Covid-19 pandemic

Student’s Motivation and Engagement Motivation plays an important role in student engagement. Saeed and Zyngier (2012) contend that in order to assess student motivation, researchers should also have to examine engagement in and as part of learning. This manifests that there is a relationship between student motivation and engagement. As support to this relationship, Hufton, … Read more

Considerations for distance learning that impact student performance

With the rapid development of the internet, many colleges and universities have begun to offer online courses as a viable alternative to traditional face-to-face instruction. According to Reyneke (2018), distance learning is in high demand around the world because it allows access to many students who do not enjoy the luxury of studying full time … Read more

Benefits of self-paced learning

Self-paced learning is a learning approach that allows people to learn at their own pace and move on to a new topic if understanding of the previous topic has been achieved, or skip topics if mastery can be demonstrated through a pre-test. Before commencing a lesson, the performance of learners and then permitted to begin … Read more

Database Research – Motivation and Online Learning (evaluating articles)

The Impact of Motivation and Personality on Academic Performance in Online and Blended Learning Environments by Nurcan Alkış1 and Tuğba Taşkaya Temizel In the article, The Impact of Motivation and Personality on Academic Performance in Online and Blended Learning Environments was a study conducted by Nurcan Alkış1 and Tuğba Taşkaya Temizel. The study analyzes the … Read more

Evaluating Moodle Learning Management System

Abstract : Moodle is an open source software of learning management system to enable distance learning system for individuals and organizations, especially students around the world for purpose of using Moodle utilized to create private websites to enable online courses for students and trainers to obtain objectives of learning environments. Fundamental structure within Moodle is … Read more

Hands-on learning vs. digital learning

Introduction ‘’Most of what we know about how the world works was discovered, not by sitting on a chair and thinking hard, but by getting hands-on: pulling things apart, putting them back together, testing out ideas’’[1, p.ii], said Dr. Alice Roberts. Nowadays, most companies demand a basic knowledge of STEM education to have a job … Read more

How prepared is higher education for Digital Innovation?

In today’s economic environment, whether one subscribes to capitalism, socialism or anywhere in between, Higher Education (HE) is often seen as the great equalizer. It is for many a clear pathway for upward social mobility, often blocked by issues of affordability, equity and accessibility. By addressing barriers around elevated cost of education, relevance of taught … Read more

Difficulties encountered by student in online teaching and learning (proposal)

An action research plan on online teaching and learning practices. Abstract As an education student, I realized the lectures that was online based had problems and challenges that needed urgent solutions. This paper focuses on the nature of online teaching and student learning. The paper elaborate how students encounter technical difficulties, how understanding and consuming … Read more

Efficacy and viability of education in an online mode

“Change is the end result of all true learning” Leo Buscaglia an American author made this statement much before the advent of online education. Schools, colleges & other educational institutions have been following the universal method in imparting education to the learners because it is a tried and tested methodology from as far as one … Read more

About Online Learning

Online learning vs classroom learning

Technology has had its fair share in impacting and influencing changes in almost every sector in society, education not being an exemption. Undoubtedly, technological advancements and science have always served to make life more efficient. These advancements available have increased the demand for online learning platforms since, as of today, the internet is accessible to a majority of the world’s population. Education is a pillar in society and a rather sensitive sector. Therefore, establishing an effective way of learning that maximizes the learning outcome of students is important; this is what builds on the relevance of this issue. Online learning has a number of strong advantages over traditional learning such as convenience, cost and personalized learning; as a result, a substantial number of learning institutions have begun utilizing virtual learning in some of their courses. On the other hand, however, traditional learning still has significant advantages over online education such as physical interaction with an instructor and other classmates which are vital in learning and in the development of significant skills useful in one’s future career.

Following the present trend of advancements and inventions, it is only reasonable that technology should be embraced for learning in this fast-changing world. This line of argument triggers a debate about online learning and traditional learning. In as much as online learning, also referred to as virtual learning, may seem to utilize the current technology most, it has been around for almost as long as traditional learning. The invention of telecommunication devices such as the radio opened the first doors for virtual learning. In 1906, Calvert School of Baltimore was the first junior school in the United States to offer correspondence courses and was followed by Pennsylvania State University in 1922 which was the first college to air their courses on the radio (Ferrer). This same trend was also observed in Europe as well over time. David Ferrer records in his article, “History of Education,” that the first education television channel was aired in 1951 by Iowa State University. This adoption of technological advancement saw the University of Nebraska as the first creators of a computer online course by 1968. All this while, traditional learning still proved to be the most reliable way of learning. Even upon the invention of the internet and the present personal computers which heightened the utilization of online learning, traditional learning was still not replaceable until in recent years when degrees were entirely online were established. Apart from the efficient nature of such degrees, much controversy regarding their effectiveness has been a subject of discussion by critics and education professionals whose most findings suggest that in as much as technology may seem like the way to go in the delivery of education; traditional learning still stands out as an effective way of learning.

In recent years the popularity of online courses has increased dramatically compared to its historic trend, thanks to technology devices such as smartphones and personal computers. In recent research done by iMod Education News, the predicted rate of the trend in which online courses were becoming popular showed that “By 2020, at least 50% of courses will be offered online in most learning institutions.” This research further showed that between 2012 and 2013, the number of institutions that launched e-learning platforms for their courses increased by 23%. Predicting the potential popularity using this data over a decade gives an expected influence in which technology will have had on education. It is important to acknowledge that people have different opinions and reasons for doing things. Similarly, people also have different reasons and intentions for opting for online degrees such as convenience and cost among other reasons. Two professors from Ankara University, Hale Ilgaz, and Yasemin Gulbahar were motivated to research on people in order to have a better understanding of the rising popularity of online courses. According to their article, “Why Do Learners Choose Online Learning: The Learner’s Voices,” they stated that “The main reason as to why majority of the people choose online degrees is because of their tight schedule, making virtual learning a convenient option, while several other mentioned cost as their reason (129)”. These are the advantages that online courses have over traditional learning. From further research done by Ilgaz and Gulbahar on the unstated motives that lurked behind convenience, they found out that most students prefer online courses, even if they have the time to learn in a class, due to their less demanding nature as compared to traditional learning (133). Undeniably, traditional learning is usually intensive in its instructions, assignments, and tests which students often feel overworks them. Sara Nottingham and Susan Verscheure, who are medical teaching experts, argue in their article, “The Effectiveness of Active Traditional Teaching Techniques,” that intensive classroom teaching helps students learn and familiarize better with the content taught (34). As part of their experimentation, they gave a group of students the class content online and taught the same content in class to a different group. Upon doing a similar exam while monitored, the students who attended class overall performed better (37). With these results, traditional classroom learning is evidently better in terms of effectiveness compared online learning despite its increasing popularity among people.

For any learning course, tests are usually put in place by instructors or teachers in order to analyze the content understood and grasped by the students. This contributes to the intensity of the workload a student is faced with. Both traditional and online learning have different modes of examination. Traditional class exams are usually supervised in a limited period, unlike online tests which time is only restricted without any supervision. The whole essence of any test is to be able to examine oneself on the grasped content. It is natural that if given a chance to confirm answers during a test most students will. However, this only compromises the outcome. Online course tests are compromised due to a lack of supervision. In a study about online courses conducted by Hana Muslic, an experienced academic journalist, she identifies in her article, “Academic Sites Make It Easier to Cheat,” that students use online sources to cheat on her online course. She quotes a freshman saying, “I just Google the questions and there almost always is a Quizlet version and answer, I mainly use it for quizzes, which we have every other week.” Due to this, students end up getting good grades that have not been genuinely achieved. Although professors deny that students cheat frequently, research Online Schools Center proves otherwise. From all the students interviewed, 42.1% admitted to having cheated on online exams compared to 24% for traditional exams. This shows online examinations (not all) are prone to a sense of bias. Therefore, the outcome of an exam done in a traditional classroom tends to have more credibility than online courses thus making traditional learning better.

Physical interaction is the one aspect that online education has not been able to accomplish over tradition learning. In an online course, everything is carried out virtually, from lessons to assignments to the tests taken; therefore, no face-to-face interaction is involved throughout the course. This limits the development of the social skills of a student that are necessary throughout their career life. In the article, “Interpersonal Relationships and Communication as a Gateway to Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement,” by Mary Chambers, she emphasizes the importance of interpersonal skills for university graduates. She states, “Business would be extremely difficult without interpersonal skills since communication is the basis of all aspects of work” (407). Interpersonal skills build up in a person through class activities such as presentations, which boost one’s confidence and group work, which helps build one’s team skills and receptive nature of relating and collaborating with one another. Sadly, however, online learning does not have room for developing most of these interpersonal skills. For online courses, students are only able to learn these skills but are not able to practice them. In a survey done by James J. Heckman and Tim Kautz, they recorded in their article, “Hard Evidence of Soft Skills,” that interpersonal skills were a great determiner for an employee’s performance and success (453). These facts portray the importance of soft skills for employment. Therefore, interpersonal skills which are acquired ding interaction can only be achieved through traditional learning. These skills are advantageous since they help students in the future as employees to be able to interact swiftly and ethically with other colleagues and clients as well. With this factor, traditional learning is undeniably better than online learning.

Each and every student in a classroom and has different capabilities, strengths weaknesses and speeds of learning. Teachers are often trained to be able to handle such differences through a careful assessment of their students. This is another advantage that physical interaction puts on the table when it comes to learning. In a classroom setting, a teacher is able to analyze students based on their assignments and performance, and for the case of weak students, they can be able to summon them for one-on-one assistance. This helps students to understand the feedback of their assignments more and as a result, one is able to improve their assignments before submitting a final draft of the work. Also, face-to-face learning, which is dominant in traditional learning, encourages engagement and focus. In the journal, “Online or Face-to-Face Instruction,” by Oliver Keis et al., class engagement and focus are essential aspects that facilitate better learning by students (194). Online education is basically watching a video or going through slides without much engagement and since there’s not much supervision, getting distracted can be quite easy which compromises effective learning. Therefore, this makes traditional learning a more effective mode of learning.

In spite of all the advantages credited to traditional learning, there are critics who argue online learning to be the most effective way of learning. Besides being cheaper and convenient, the distinguished computer company, IBM took the initiative to research further on the effectiveness of online learning. Their findings showed that online learning had more creative ways of learning which made learning more effective and that learners grasped more content compared to traditional learners (Dexway). Eliza Bobek and Barbara Tversky in their article, “Creating Visual Explanations Improve Learning,” support the idea of creativity of learning in online education. They establish their argument stating that visual explanations trigger the memory of students and make remembering easier (27). However, in as much as these are substantial facts, it is important the difference of intensity of instruction of both online and traditional learning. Online courses usually have less intensive instructions for the sake of convenience of the learner. This cannot be compared to the content shared in a classroom which engages a student several hours a day for five days a week. Additionally, although online learning may be somewhat effective, it cannot be used for technical courses which require experiments and practicals due to its nature of no physical interaction, which also limits a student from developing soft skills that are crucial for any career. Therefore, in order to achieve equal effectiveness with traditional learning, online courses should be evaluated and considered for inclusions of ways that can help increase instant interaction so that students can be able to develop the necessary soft skills.

Conclusively, even with the growing popularity of online courses in learning institutions, classroom learning will never be phased out due to its effectiveness in live learning compared to virtual learning. A wise man once said, “Cheap is expensive,” opting for a cheaper mode of learning which encourages completion of a course other than effective learning will cost the learner eventually since they will be half baked in the skill they aim to acquire. It is not by chance that traditional learning has stood out from the beginning of a classroom setup, it is because of its effectiveness in learning.

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