Is Conventional Learning Better Than E-learning?

By: Mik Siwel

With the explosive growth in online courses in recent years, students have more educational choices now than ever before. Before enrolling in any online course however, a student may wish to consider this question: Is conventional learning better than e-learning? While each student must come to his or her own conclusion, in my opinion-based on my own personal experience and observation-the answer is definitely, "No!"

About eighteen years ago I was working in retail sales, in my family's business, making a decent living but at the same time becoming thoroughly frustrated with my job. I needed a career change, and finally decided I wanted to pursue my interest in a teaching career. I began researching undergraduate programs in order to earn my Bachelor's Degree. After investigating many programs I settled upon a state university located more than sixty miles from my home.

It took me two years of my life, hours of travel, thousands of miles on my car's odometer, and hundred of dollars in gas to earn my Bachelor's Degree. I attended school full-time, while continuing to work full-time at my job as well. Getting my degree was worth the effort, but in retrospect, I really wish e-learning courses had been available back then!

In contrast to my educational experience, my husband went back to school in August of 2002, but he was able to get his entire education online.

When I was in school, much of my day was spent either on the road traveling to and from school or awaiting for my next class to start. Between doing homework and working on my job, my social life ceased to exist and it was difficult to keep in touch with friends. However, when my husband earned his degree online he worked part-time, took care of our young son and attended school. We were able to take part in our favorite events and still socialize with our friends.

After two years of traveling to and from the University three to five times a week my car was literally worn out! So as soon as I graduated I had to buy a car to get to my new job! When my husband earned his degree online he didn't have to travel even one mile to get to school. In fact he could go to school anytime that was convenient for him. He could even go in his pajamas!

While my tuition may have been less expensive than my husband's online courses, when I figured in the cost for transportation I ended up paying much more for my conventional education than the University charged me on paper. My husband didn't pay one cent in travel charges for his online education. He didn't have to fight the traffic and crazy drivers either!

When you compare my husband's and my educational journeys side by side, I think you'll see that online education has definite advantages over conventional learning. Ultimately however, the decision on whether to enroll in a traditional campus-based program or in an online program is up to each student, based upon individual needs and preferences.






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