Online Vs. Traditional Education

Category: Education
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Is Online the New Traditional?

Education is truly a hallmark of human society. It has been made an intricate and core piece of man’s intellectual development because it acts as a catalyst for a child becoming an adult so that they can be productive members of society. Whether this is from learning a trade or skill or gaining an abundance of intellectual property through meticulous instruction, education is seen as a way for anyone, poor or rich, to escape their present, and at times relegated, socioeconomic status. It is the tool used to gain a stake in this game one calls life. However, 1`education for many has always had to take a back seat to the demands of the day to day expenditures of life. Instead of school, many have not been afforded the luxury of being able to attend school because they have to work. Time and cost are the major dilemmas for students who have to financially support themselves and possibly others. What is a solution? One has been the inclusion of online classes to the roster of higher educational institutions. Yet like any system, online classes do have their pros and cons when it comes to helping a student obtain their respective degrees while having a job.

The degrees and diplomas earned by and individual affirms their knowledge in a particular field that grants them seniority over those that may have the same knowledge yet have not earned the credentials to attest to that knowledge. Education means higher pay and better jobs. However, higher education in the United States over the past 20 years has not only become time consuming, but also very expensive. In Georgia alone, the average price of in-state tuition and fees for public four-year institutions has doubled (The College Board, “Tuition and Fees by Sector and State Overtime”). It is hard for individuals to work and obtain a higher education at the same time. It is for this dilemma that many educational institutions have adopted an online system allowing students to move from a traditional setting to a technological one. This helps the student taking advantage of this opportunity to have more control over their time, specifically when it comes to working a job.

The increased likelihood of being enrolled online is becoming a major trend as it pertains to higher education. Since 2014, nationwide the proportion of undergraduate students enrolled in online classes has risen from 27.1 percent to 30 percent in 2016. In that same time, the proportion of graduate students enrolled at least partially online has grown from 32.5 percent to 36.6 percent. These numbers show there is a drastic need for online educational programs because a large percentage of students, over 30 percent, are utilizing this 21st century practice (Erstad, Online vs. Traditional Education: What You Need to Know). Furthermore, one can see how online enrollment rates can be a reflection of students needing to work while they are in school. The percentages on both undergraduate and graduate levels are roughly the same, however it is easy to see that there is slightly a higher demand to work on the graduate level than it is on the undergraduate level, which makes common sense. While higher education for two, four, or ten years allows the student to obtain a better future, the demands of the present still exist and persists. On the contrary, for the true value of online enrollment to be realized it is imperative for the pros and cons of this system, as it pertains to the student, to be weighed and counted.

When a student has to decide whether they will take the traditional or non-traditional approach to schooling, there are a lot of factors that go into their decision making, one those factors being having extracurricular activities such as a job. This is the main problem handled by taking online classes because of this education being flexible (American InterContinental University). Time is the most valuable asset you have, so the flexible schedule of online learning can work naturally with your lifestyle. Instead of traveling to campus, you can spend more time learning in the comfort of your own home. Fitting in coursework and study time is up to you, which is ideal when for many ( Another key advantage of taking online classes is its releviations of distractions. Having physical classmates is good, however they can be a hindrance to many, especially if someone has a job and already has problems dealing with their coworkers. Adding more people to their life may not be the best choice so this is why online classes allow the student to be fully engaged without outside influences misleading them.

In addition to time and physical influences, another reason why online classes are conducive for a working student is allows them to stay in a place they may have deep ties to. For example, if a student cannot move because of family, work, and other obligations, and their local college and/or university does not offer the program they are interested in, online classes allows them to access other avenues of education that do offer the classes needed for their future careers (Purdue University, “Classroom vs. Online Education: Which One Is Right For You?”). In addition, online programs make it easier for students to network with each other because they are all connected through one forum, which would be the program’s online website and resources. When choosing the traditional approach to education, most students will not meet and network on campus because their schedules and social circles will simply not allow it to be so. Online classes make the student communities more personal and more accessible to networking while still juggling other day to day responsibilities.

Education is one of the keys to success in today’s day and age, however life still goes on with or without it. Before making the decision to either take online or traditional classes, one has to see and evaluate their own lifestyles so that they can make the right choice. Certain questions will help. Questions such as: “Do I like group settings” or “Do I work better if I’m physically engaged with the instructor” (Atlanta Technical College, “Frequently Asked Questions.”)?

No matter where you are, from Atlanta to Los Angeles, students must know themselves and their own abilities before making this decision. Online classes are amazing, but only with self discipline. Traditional colleges and universities instill a sense of discipline with the rules and procedures that encompass and lead a specific institution. Online classes strip this away because now it is the rules and values that you govern your own self by and your household that hold the ultimate weight in your education. You must find it in yourself the motivation and inspiration to continue, not matter the obstacles and current obligations.      

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Online vs. Traditional Education. (2021, Mar 22). Retrieved from

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