Online Education vs. Traditional Education - Make the Right Choice

While contemplating, deciding, entertaining, and fathoming the thought of going back to get your degree is one thing, but thinking about which platform accommodates you and your family’s expectations and needs, is quite another decision that has to be carefully considered and evaluated. There are many differences between participating in an online school classroom and the traditional classroom (on-campus) learning environment. As a prospective student investigating the advantages and disadvantages what may or may not work for your family, taking the proactive approach versus reactive is what will most likely lead you to make the ultimate decision that will be the best for you and your family’s needs. Online schools are gaining momentum versus the traditional classroom learning environment, as was the trend back in the day, but there are many comparisons to consider before making a final decision.

Comparing Online Learning with Classroom Learning

  • Flexibility

    Before determining which type of learning experience is right for you, take time to evaluate how flexible your current responsibilities and commitments are. With online learning, you have the
    ability to work day or night, without any restrictions, based on your unique situation. Online courses are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at a computer located anywhere in the world with an internet connection. However, in the traditional environment you will have scheduled in-person class times and due dates. Before making a decision, ask yourself "Do I have the time to dedicate to schoolwork?" Most online programs have assignments and discussions at your fingertips, so you must be self-disciplined and motivated in order to complete your coursework within designated deadlines. The online learning platform is a fast-paced atmosphere, so you must be prepared to dedicate your time during the day, at night, or on weekends to complete assignments.
  • Social Interaction

    Before enrolling in online classes, be sure to ask yourself if you need face to face interaction with your classmates and instructor to be a part of your educational experience. In the online environment, you do not get to physically “see” your classmates and instructor, as you would in the traditional classroom environment. So, most of your lectures are the chapters you are assigned to read and comment in your online discussion boards. If you thrive in environments with other people and want to make strong connections with your peers, traditional learning may best suit your goals. However, online education still allows you to learn and network with others, it is just in an online format instead of in-person.
  • Self-Discipline

    As mentioned previously, traditional schooling typically includes specific attendance policies and hard due dates for assignments - while you still have to remain disciplined in this format, online learning requires much more self-motivation and discipline. With the freedom to learn on your own and complete lessons as needed, it can be easy to fall behind if deadlines are not in place. If you are driven and discipline comes easy, you will most likely succeed in an online format. To set yourself up for success, try setting a particular place and time that you will study and complete schoolwork. If you are having difficulties balancing school with work, reference these tips to get yourself on the right track.
  • Structure & Access

    Unlike the previous points, the structure of each learning model is essentially the same. Even as an online student, you go through the same enrollment and financial aid process as the traditional classroom setting, with the same personal attention you would at a physical campus. In the online learning environment at Bryant & Stratton College, you also have continuous access to the library because it is virtual, to help suit your busy lifestyle.

The Blended Education Model

Knowing there are benefits to both traditional and online education, is it possible to do both? It is now with many universities offering blended learning. Bryant & Stratton College in particular offers blended learning that splits the instructional experience evenly between face-to-face class meetings and virtual instruction that occurs online. This format allows you to build critical interpersonal experiences while still having control over your time and schedule. The best part of this model is that students are never alone. While getting to discuss assignments and build relationships with peers, the instructor is always available to provide feedback, guidance, and support through all assignments.

As mentioned before, the choice to go back to school is yours along with the decision of obtaining your degree through the online school environment or through the traditional classroom. Make sure to do your research to find which method may or may not be a benefit to you and your own learning style(s). Remember that your education doesn’t have to be a “one size fits all”; you do have options. As a prospective student, you just have to evaluate what works and doesn’t and put 100% commitment and time into your final decision.

Have you decided between online school and traditional school? If you are ready to advance your education and career, Bryant and Stratton College offers online, on-campus, and blended learning options so you can pick the option that works best for you. Contact the Admissions office to get started in selecting a program!

About the Author:

Carrie E. Wittke, MBA, is a full time instructor teaching business online at Bryant & Stratton College. An alumnus of Bryant & Stratton College, she enjoys working with students, and spending time with her family and friends. In her spare time Carrie enjoys drawing, painting, traveling, and watching football.


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