Online Classes vs. Traditional Classes

The educational delivery system has transformed drastically since the Internet expanded its opportunities with advanced technologies. This flexible learning system is held entirely online providing a possibility to access online classes from any location in the world. Of course, traditional education has not been dismissed by online education. However, it’s hard not to admit that eLearning platforms gain popularity in 2020 faster than ever before.

Advantage disadvantage concept

So, let’s talk about eLearning vs. traditional training and how these two approaches are advantageous. Needles to say, the online learning approach has been already greatly recognized by the top-ranked universities on a global scale. No kidding, they do offer to complete plenty of accredited degree programs on the Internet now. Recent research shows that online education is just as effective as the traditional approach. Plus, learning online gives lots of fun benefits to students by providing active participation in forums or group discussions in virtual settings.

Read this blog post and learn more about the pros and cons of the eLearning vs. traditional learning approach. Learn the real advantages and disadvantages of these two.

Some fast stats regarding online education

Male teacher holds traditional textbook and reading e-books

Before we go deeper into the subject, here are some facts and figures regarding online education that are good to know. Okay, the World Economic Forum (or WEF) has revealed in its recent survey called Global Shapers that by 2020 at least 77% of learners had already gone through some online courses as part of the curriculum. Obviously, this number will grow even higher reducing the gap between online education and traditional education.

The after all prognosis made by the global market states that from 2018 and until about 2023, the USA along with the Asia-Pacific region will be taking the leading positions in the industry of training and learning online. Starting from now and in the next four years, annual growth is expected to be about 10.26%. By 2023 the market value is expected to exceed 286 billion dollars.

the World Economic Forum (or WEF) has revealed in its recent survey called Global Shapers that by 2020 at least 77% of learners had already gone through some online courses as part of the curriculum.

Some fast stats on the eLearning enrollment rate for the previous year:

  • 6,700 million – that is how many people signed up for online courses in 2019.
  • About 300 accredited colleges and universities added eLearning and online coursework to their curriculum.
  • About 70% of instructors and university teachers stated that they believe virtual tools such as video consultations, lectures, podcasts, forums, etc., are important for effective teaching and delivering study material. All these imply traditional brick-and-mortar colleges too.
  • 30% – that much of academic learners have already taken online courses at least once.

Another fact that proves the continuing boom occurring in the area of online learning is the growing number of eLearning platforms. The number of users joining these marketplaces also keeps growing. By 2018 we already had about 5 most popular online learning platforms that had almost 90 million students. Also, according to the Class Central’s search engine, there were over 850 universities that added MOOC as a study option available to students.

Some pros and cons of education that has been received online

Even though advantages usually override the disadvantages, we’ll try to cover both. First, we’ll provide some reasoning on why the number of people who are thinking of enrolling on the Internet is growing. We’ll list some bad stuff you can run into while studying online. But before we start talking about disadvantages, let’s start with the good part. Let’s talk about how learners can benefit from studying online.

Any location in the world

Students can log in and get instant access to learning platforms and study materials at any location in the world. Since eLearning platforms allow learners to live literally anywhere you want with the relatively fast Internet available, they can benefit from the convenience of residing anywhere they want or need to. Want even more fun? Online learning platforms will let you mix both – travels and studies. Isn’t it great?

Online courses for lower costs

Online platforms offer courses for lower costs. Saving money and keeping yourself afloat moneywise can be challenging, especially for students. That’s why they usually look for any opportunity to save some cash on tuition. Nearly half of them admit that the cost of courses is a #1 priority. This is also one of the major reasons why students start taking classes on the Internet allured by affordability. And for that reason, more colleges started to offer their coursework online,  at the same time trying to keep the cost of these programs lower compared to regular courses.

No traveling back and forth

No traveling back and forth – no more putting valuable time to waste. No more headaches dealing with car troubles, getting low on gas and money, weather alerts, etc.  All you have to do – just log in and start learning! No more worries about what’s going on on campus. Everything you need is online keeping you up-to-date instantly.

More flexibility in setting up your own scheduling

More flexibility in setting up your own scheduling. Most eLearning platforms will arrange schedules according to your time and availability. Obviously, the more flexibility you have in time management – the more productive you become. Unlike traditional classes taken on-campus, you will be the one who arranges hours for taking classes. That way you’ll still be attending your day job with no problems and spending enough time with your family. No more strict time frames where attendance is required no later than 9:00 o’clock in the morning every day.

Study on the fly and study anytime

Study on the fly and study anytime. With online classes, it is possible to squeeze studies in free hours throughout the day. Just got up and too busy eating breakfast? Not a problem! While munching on food, log on to the message boards or listen to a lecture on your way to work. During lunch hours pick through a chapter or two on an ebook reader. Or you can even take a test or practice exercises while preparing your dinner after work. Recent research shows that by spending less time on learning and breaking this process down into shorter blocks is proven to be more effective. You get more efficient results compared to the results of long learning sessions. Since the human brain can retain focus well only for a certain period, maintain retention by spending less time for studying but more frequently.

Complete studies faster

Students can complete studies faster with semesters that are shorter in length. It seems like online learning made it possible for universities and colleges to make semesters shorter. Now they offer 8-week online sessions, instead of 16-week sessions. That way students don’t have to wait too long until the next semester starts. Every month or every other month they can sign up for new courses and keep on learning.

Getting access to degree programs

Getting access to degree programs became easier, even if colleges are miles and miles away from the place of residence. Once and a while students face a problem when the degree program they look into is not offered by a local university. Now, the Internet will let you sign up for specific programs at any university, even thousands of miles away. No more going through the pain of relocation to another city or state.

What are the disadvantages of online learning

Macro photo of tooth wheel mechanism with ADVANTAGE-DISADVANTAGE letters

Now let’s go into some details on the disadvantages that online education has.

Here are the main cons we selected in brief outlines. Look through the info and compare it to what you’ve just read above. Decide whether eLearning is something beneficial personally to your needs.

You’ll need to spend a fair amount of time being stuck by a computer (or another device) with no real communication with other people. Online classes are not able to replicate human interaction with other people adequately. If you’re one of those people who value communication with others with the purpose of developing relationships, then an online environment might not be the right place for you. Typically, people do learn better when they see an instructor standing in front of them in his physical form. Eventually, some people can start feeling that they miss out on natural conversations and spontaneous interactions with other classmates.

Online education is not able to provide a full engagement in hands-on training. Or if the specialized equipment is required. Some skills can’t be fully acquired only in the virtual format, such as biochemistry or physical therapy. So, if this is the case, look into participating in blended (or hybrid) learning.  This type of learning will be provided with both – online and in-personal training experience.

The need to juggle lots of things. You’ll have to keep your personal responsibility on a higher level. Online learning implies managing all coursework on your own in the personal learning journey. This simply means – you’re the one who is responsible for keeping track of everything. This will include remembering all deadlines for assignments, which classes are next coming up. Or when your financial aid application is due and what is a deadline for filling it out. If you used to be a rather irresponsible person, learn how to be organized, and manage your time efficiently. Use your iPhone or any other smartphone like a tool for staying on track with mobile applications designed specifically for online learning needs. You’ll stay in better control of your course load and will be able to self-direct your education more effectively.

Talking objectively about online classes vs. classroom-based learning

Woman sitting on chair holding traditional book and e-book reader tablet touchpad

With the undoubted growth of the popularity of online education, there are plenty of folks out there who feel strongly opposed to it. We think that the two alternatives are better than one. Do you? But if you believe that the education delivered online can’t really provide a good learning experience to the fullest extent, keep on reading and maybe you’ll change your mind.

Of course, if you’re pursuing a biochemistry major or some other degree that requires lots of hands-on practical experience, the traditional classroom training is much more appropriate for studying everything in-depth. Now, compare actual facts and try to analyze them in order to draw a final conclusion.

Okay, let’s spill the beans. Take a pick through fast stats of what people think of eLearning:

  • According to the opinions of about 70% of learners, learning online is just as effective as traditional training.
  • Nearly 80% of academic staff stated that the education provided on the Internet is just as good as traditional brick-and-mortar learning.
  • About 30% of students claimed that they had better results from studying online.

Scores received for standardized tests by online learners:

  • Face-to-face instructions is a better approach for keeping students focused on studies.
  • 90% of online learners will make it to the final finish line, but only if provided with plenty of assistance and support from instructors and staff.
  • 50th percentile – traditional classroom learners’ average score.
  • 59th percentile – an average score of students who have taken classes online.
  • A ratio by which students differ is 5:1, which means that it takes about 5 times more effort for slower learners to complete tasks compared to faster students.

Costs for eLearning vs. traditional learning costs (mostly for the US):

  • Degrees received online cost about 80 times less compared to degrees received from traditional colleges or universities.
  • $85,000 – an average cost of studying for traditional degrees.
  • $30,000 – an average cost of degrees received through online education.


If all the information we provided in this post made you feel definite enough to pursue online education, go to the Grinfer’s website for more information on courses and consultations. Get more great news and updates about our fresh online courses from the Grinfer’s blog. Keep an eye on promotions and discounts Grinfer currently offers. If you interested in receiving promo codes to discounts for courses, contact our great marketing team!

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