Online vs. Face-to-Face

Online learning is a different experience from the face-to-face environment most of us are familiar with. Basic characteristics of online learning include:

  • A computer connected to the Internet is the basic "classroom" - so instead of you going to the classroom, the classroom comes to you.
  • Studies can take place anywhere as long as the learner has access to the computer with Internet access.
  • Most online learning consists of a combination of web pages ("content"), communication tools (e-mail, bulletin boards, chat rooms), quizzes and tests (usually online), supplementary readings (either sent via regular mail services or available to print online), and assignments that you submit via e-mail or post onto a discussion board.
  • Depending on the course, an instructor and/or tutor may guide you through the course and evaluate your progress.
  • Most learning events can take place at your own pace and on your own time, although there may be deadlines for certain assignments.

Think about some of the differences. There is no instructor in front of you, so there may be some delay in getting responses to questions, for example. However, you can read the material as often as you want, rather than seeing or hearing it only once in the classroom. And you can spend the time you find is best for you on the material rather than being bound to the pace of the group.

If you work or prefer to study during the evenings or weekends, you can set your own schedule. This makes online learning useful for many shift workers and those with other commitments that make it difficult to attend classes during regular daytime hours.

The most important thing to remember is that online learning requires motivation and effort on your part. As with most things in life, the value derived from it is directly proportional to the effort you put into it!

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