A Battle of the Ages: Traditional Education Versus Online Learning


Education is an important rite of passage. That is a fact that has not, and does not, change. Whether everyone gets access to this rite of passage is another matter, but at the heart of it all what education is all about is giving people the chance to better themselves academically and intellectually. An ancient industry at this point, education has successfully seen through generation after generation of eager students while maintaining its position as a worthwhile, relevant sector. This ideology has not necessarily changed, but the world around which education is moulded has. As such, what this means is that traditional education, while still successful and influential, is not a viable form of learning that is going to be appropriate for all students. With this in mind, online courses has been developed and introduced over recent years, and while there are plenty of people who will say that online education spells the end for traditional brick and mortar academic institutions, that is simply not the case. Instead, online education provides students with certain qualities of life and access points that traditional education does not – the same can be said for what traditional education is able to provide. So, what is the difference between the two? Which is better?

The short answer is that it depends on what kind of attributes any given student responds to. There will always be those who are of the opinion that education should be kept wholly traditional, just as there will always be people who believe that education should wholeheartedly evolve to mature with the shift of the modern world. When it comes down to it, though, all that really matters is that every single individual who wants to be a student has an option before them that caters to their specific requirements and preferences. With this in mind, both traditional and modern online education have a place. The two each have their own benefits and their own downfalls, and in the end every student should do their research before picking which education format to follow through with. Since the moment that online education came to fruition, there has been debate about whether it actually offers anything of value that is not already available through traditional modes of education. They are each different, so it is only right that they each get their time to shine.

Traditional brick and mortar education systems have a leg up on the modern online learning platforms. First and foremost, they have been around a lot longer and have the established reputation of single handedly getting through generation after generation of global students into the workforce successfully. Keep in mind, however, that this achievement was made possible in a different world than the one that exists today. Traditional education provides students with a structure that appeals greatly to some individuals as students. In enrolling in traditionally-inclined institutions, students are given a set program that they must follow. Included in this program is set class times that are compulsory and non-negotiable, a set learning process, and in-person feedback and questions and answers. In short, traditional education allows students an experience that thrives and is most successful when applied wholly and with their education as their top priority. Students who opt for traditional education experiences are often and most likely to be individuals who put their academic progression first, and can fit in the rest of their lives comfortably around that.

Students that commit to their studies via online education are given an innate sense of flexibility that is not possible through traditional education. Traditional brick and mortar colleges or universities do not allow for this flexibility, but online education means that students are able to log on, study, and log out whenever they have the time to. Students are now able to study on their own terms, in their own time, without having to adhere to what is, for some, impossible geographical limitations. Individuals that would not have been able to study if they had to make the trip into campus every other day are now able to commit to an entire degree, knowing that they have the flexibility and the power to alter and shift their schoolwork in around the rest of their lives, not the other way around. When the modern student is busier than ever, this is nothing but a good thing, for the most part. As technological advancement and digitalisation increasingly changed the world, they too changed the education industry. As a result, what has occurred is a steadfast realisation that there are students that prefer the traditional education models, and there are those who prefer to opt for the modern learning methods. There is more than enough room – and demand – for both forms of education to thrive.

Throughout human history, education has successfully helped to mould generation after generation of eager young minds into intelligent, well-rounded human beings and professionals. Over time, however, the world that these students have grown up in has changed, and the generations that have followed them – and will follow them – through the education systems around the world have evolved as well. The inevitable result of this personal and societal evolution is that traditional education methods and models are no longer entirely successful; while they still appeal to some students, there are others that demand a more modern approach to learning. If the question is which form of education is better overall, then the answer is neither. However, if the question is which is better for a particular student, then it realistically comes down to the student in question. For some students, the structure and in-person approach of traditional education is perfect. For others, the flexibility and accountability of online learning is the way to go. Ultimately, both forms of education have their place – and will continue to do so – in the modern – and future – education sector.

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