Five Ways Online College Learning Can Be Better Than Face-to-Face Teaching

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Cambridge University announced that all lectures will be offered online for the academic year starting in October 2020. Other UK universities are should adopt similar policies, adopting a format that blends online learning with more traditional teaching.

The announcement has disappointed and worried some students, who are concerned about the quality of their educational experiences and the lack of opportunities to socialize on the campus.

In recent months, universities have had to scramble to move courses online. In some cases, this would have resulted in unsatisfactory student experiences and exacerbated negative perceptions of online learning.



Read more: Coronavirus: Universities are moving online courses – but it’s not as easy as it sounds


Online college courses may not be able to replicate the experience of social life on campus. But in terms of teaching, well-designed online learning can be more satisfying than seated in a large amphitheater.

Here are five ways online learning can surpass traditional college education.

1. Accessibility

Online learning is free from a series of physical restrictions that hamper face-to-face teaching. Students – and teachers – with some physical and health conditions often find online learning more accessible than on-campus activities. It not only offers an opportunity to acquire new knowledge, but also an opportunity to meet and socialize with other students, which is not available otherwise.

Online learning can be more accessible and flexible than teaching on campus.
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For many students with travel difficulties and social responsibilities, online learning may be the only option. It can open educational opportunities for a larger group of international students. Well-produced learning content, such as recorded lessons, can improve ease of learning, especially for students who for some reason may find it difficult to retrieve new information in real time from lessons. punctual.

2. Personalization

Students enter university with varying backgrounds, knowledge and previous experiences, and they learn at different speeds. However, in large lecture halls, it is extremely difficult to adapt the difficulty of course content to the different needs of the students. Instead, teachers can assign independent tasks that need to be completed between weekly classes and hope lower level students can catch up.

In online courses, however, it is possible to present several learning paths with different sets of resources and activities, allowing students to choose their own content and pace of learning. A brief self-assessment to help students better understand their subject readiness and choose the best option for themselves can be a great start to online learning. These flexible learning experiences can greatly improve student satisfaction.

3. Clarity

Clarity is at the heart of well-designed online learning. Every idea and task, big or small, is explained explicitly and repeatedly in the online settings. Students pause, think and repeat until they understand.



Read more: Coronavirus: 14 simple tips for better online education


Although we often assume that face-to-face communication is more effective, many ideas, rules and details are not expressed and misunderstood. Teachers are often in a rush to finish lessons, mistakenly perceiving a few students nodding their heads as a sign of class consent, and confused students are too embarrassed to ask for clarification.

4. Flexibility

Online learning offers the opportunity to shake up the traditional model of university studies. Rigidly scheduled weekly lectures can be replaced by group project work or intensive tutorials. The size and participation requirements of the sessions may vary depending on their purpose.

This means that students will have a variety of learning experiences which can be more difficult and challenging than face-to-face lessons with little variation. Speakers can get creative when designing modules and organizing activities, without worrying about room availability and a set schedule.

Students who learn online can network around the world.
fizkes / Shutterstock

There are different ways for students to interact academically in online modules. These range from class discussions to peer review exercises and small group project learning. Students can feel supported by structured peer-to-peer activities and develop a strong sense of community in line.

5. Independence

The shift from face-to-face “teaching” to “e-learning” suggests that it is ultimately the students who must regulate and guide their learning. It is important to note that many students may find it difficult. They can go through a painful process of trial and error until they establish the right habits and routines, working in their unique learning situations.

But they acquire invaluable lifelong learning skills and attitudes through this process. Succeed in online learning offers a deep sense of accomplishment. While it can be difficult for teachers to let go of control in the first place, they are often amazed at how active students can be in their learning. As a group, students also find creative ways to overcome virtual restrictions and go beyond what is planned and imagined.


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