The Pros and Cons of Online Learning

Showayane Wallace

From cost to distance, going to college is a big decision with a lot to think about. Whether you’re a first-time college freshman or a third-generation legacy student, you have to decide between the in-person, hybrid, and online classes offered by the college of choice.

The pandemic transformed much of our lives and opened our eyes to new ways of learning. While in-person learning is the most familiar, and online learning has been around for years, hybrid learning is the perfect mix of the two. Many, however, don’t know enough about online classes to choose them over regular in-person classes.

I’ve compiled a list of the top pros and cons of online learning to help you decide if this is best for you.

Pros of online learning

  1. Workplace Preparation

According to an Owl labs study, 16% of global companies are fully remote. It is shown that 4.7 million people work remotely at least half the time in the US. In today’s world knowing how to navigate online programs (e.g., Blackboard Collaborate, Microsoft Office 365 Suite, and screen capturing, recording, and presenting tools) put you at a greater advantage over your competition.

  1. Flexibility

According to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, close to 70% of all college students work while enrolled. In traditional classrooms, classes are scheduled classrooms are scheduled at specific times and your schedule is made around your classes. If you work while in college it may be difficult to balance your workload and course load at the same time.

Online learning allows for more freedom and allows making your schedule and study when it’s convenient for you.

  1. Cheaper than the traditional option

Furthering your education is expensive but online programs usually cost less than the traditional option because you don’t have to commute or pay for textbooks. Virtual learning comes with virtual resources and repeated access to those resources if there is something you missed.

  1. More free time

Being able to attend classes on your schedule and not having to commute saves both time and money. This means that you’re able to do more things you enjoy while not in class.

  1. More chances of feeling seen/heard

One of the best parts of online learning is the ability to have one on one conversations with both your professors and your peers through message boards and private break rooms separate from the rest of the class.

  1. Easier to learn responsibility and manage time

Taking online classes isn’t always easy. You’re in charge of turning in your assignments on time and balancing your day-to-day life with your classes. This may mean missing out on fun opportunities to study more or starting an assignment late to take care of your family. You can apply the time management skills learned through online learning to all future careers.

Cons of online learning

  1. Less social interaction

Though there are many opportunities to talk in class and to ask or answer questions, there aren’t many opportunities to make friends and connect with other students. There are also fewer networking opportunities in comparison to in-person learning.

  1. You’re responsible for your education

In traditional schools, students meet in-person multiple times per week and finish coursework within specific deadlines. While online classes have their deadlines for each assignment, the toy doesn’t have to meet each day making it your responsibility to establish a routine that works with your daily life.

  1. More distractions

According to the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, “Off-task use of digital devices was significantly greater in online than face-to-face courses. Students were twice as likely to state that they were distracted by multitasking online than in face-to-face classes.”