Online Education vs Onsite Education- Benefits and Downfalls of Both Approaches

Online Education vs Onsite Education- Benefits and Downfalls of Both Approaches

The invention of the internet has resulted in the world being called a global village. Because of the World Wide Web, people no longer need to travel to the intended destinations to fulfill their objectives. A lot of fields have been influenced by the internet, particularly, the education sector. As a result, as opposed to traditional forms of learning, contemporary times have enabled students to study virtually through online platforms. The efficiency of online learning, however, has been put into questionable doubt. Thus, this article considers both approaches to ascertain which method brings greater benefits for learners. In doing so, a qualitative study is employed that involves analysis of three credible peer reviewed articles, book and movie review essay which were required from students. Based on the results received from looking into secondary materials and personal examination of the two learning approaches, this article infers that onsite learning is more efficient than the online one.

Online Education vs. Onsite Education

Recent advancements in technology have seen a shift from the traditional methods of learning to more sophisticated virtual ones. Because of this, the issue of which form of studying is the best has raised a lot of controversies. Traditional methods which entail the presence of students in class have been endorsed based on their ability to equip learners with communication and coordination skills. Moreover, this form of studying is characterized by accurate assessment that tests the students’ understanding of course material. Additionally, supportive exercises frequently provided onsite allow for sharing more knowledge which leads to better acquisition of information among students. Therefore, although online education provides flexibility and leverages technology, onsite education is still superior because it offers hands-on learning experience, instills students with social skills and employs more accurate assessments.

The Analysis of Onsite Learning and Online Education

Arguably, the effectiveness of onsite and online methods of learning can only be ascertained after establishing the teaching constructs that form the foundation of productive studying.  Simonson, Smaldino, and Zcacek contend that good learning environment is the one which involves student-tutor interaction, easy learners’ assessment, and supportive exercises that enhance acquisition of knowledge. The mentioned above three criteria will be used as the roadmap for justifying onsite education as superior in comparison to online learning.

Students’ Interactions with Peers and Instructors

Interactions are an important component of learning. As such, they are classified into learner-tutor, learner-content, and learner-learner ones. Obviously, online platforms are convenient in that they allow for meetings between tutors and students without necessarily having to be physically present. Nevertheless, these virtual platforms are not as effective as traditional methods since they offer limited or no opportunities for meetings between tutors and students. Moreover, they are subject to malfunctions especially when many parties are sharing the same server. Furthermore, in a study conducted by Stack, it has been found out that interacting in online classes is inefficient due to the lack of internet self-efficacy among some students. As a consequence, most learners who are not accustomed to using sophisticated internet functions consider it formidable to participate in virtual class discussions. Therefore, although interaction in online classes may be convenient, it is an ineffective approach to learning due to numerous factors.

On the other hand, traditional methods of studying offer unlimited learning opportunities resulting from one-on-one interactions. Kuo at al.  claim that one-on-one interactions in onsite education are beneficial to students as it teaches them important life skills that enhance their capacity to lead better professional and personal lives. In this sort of classroom setting, students can freely speak or ask questions they have to their peers and tutors. What is more, one-on-one interactions onsite teach students important team work coordination and communication skills. At the same time, this form of traditional learning imparts participants with the virtue of respect. Therefore, onsite education is more preferable than online learning as it provides unlimited one-on-one interaction opportunities which enhance students’ social and professional skills.

Students’ Assessment

Undoubtedly, assessment is a key component of learning. In his study, Stack has established that evaluation enhances proper learning by gathering evidence on the student’s prior knowledge, their understanding of course material, and their capabilities to implement what they are taught. In accordance to this, online education is beneficial in that it allows tutors to conduct a real-time assessment of students. Furthemore, this kind of flexibility makes it possible for learners to study at their own pace. To be more precise, they may decide when to undergo CATs and other examinations. However, convenience does not necessarily guarantee quality. The assertion stems from the fact that while it requires no physical presence to assess students, this allows them to engage in exam malpractices such as cheating. Moreover, even though online assessment is efficient to a certain degree, it does not determine essay writing or cognitive thinking skills. Because of these reasons, one can conclude that online education is not fully effective regarding students’ assessment.

On the contrary, onsite education offers a better tool for evaluation providing superior learning environment. The only inconvenience arises from the fact that the tutor has to be physically present and has to move around to assess students. Needless to say, onsite education system is also subject to students cheating in an exam. However, as compared to online studying, it enacts stricter control enhanced by the physical presence of invigilators who discourage cheating. Apart from evaluation during tests, onsite education makes it possible for tutors to physically monitor the progress, students’ understanding and provide help if needed. As such, the support could be rendered either at individual or class level. Thus, onsite education is superior to online education as it offers a superior assessment environment.

Supportive Exercises

Additionally, education should not be limited to coursework material. Rather, it should include supportive exercises such as class discussions and experiments which enhance the students’ learning experience. With regard to the mentioned activities, online education enhances class discussions and experiments through forums and recorded videos respectively. Although this is convenient, it does not enhance the individuals’ studying experience as opposed to the way it would do if the learners themselves took part in the discussions or experiments. As a result, it is obvious that online education as an effective platform for enhancing learners’ experience and their understanding of subject-matter has some disadvantages.

On the other hand, onsite education is highly effective in providing supportive classroom exercises. Betts asserts that onsite learning employs a hands-on approach that enables students to gain deeper understanding of subject-matter. As such, supportive activities such as discussions and experiments eliminate the monotony of coursework material and allow students to share knowledge among themselves. Furthermore, these integrating exercises create positive learning environment as they equip individuals with a sense of ownership of the learning process, and this makes studying enjoyable. Moreover, onsite education enables identification of dormant class members and compels them to participate thus enhancing deeper understanding of the topic by everyone. As if not enough, onsite discussions and experiments provide learners with critical thinking skills and motivates them too. Therefore, onsite education, as compared to the online one, is superior in guaranteeing deeper understanding of coursework material by learners.


In summary, onsite education is definitely superior when compared with online studying. The rationale behind this assertion stems from the fact that onsite education allows for one-on-one interactions, better classroom assessment, and supportive exercises which form the basic constructs of proper learning. As for the online education, it offers opportunities for flexibility and studying based on individual cognitive abilities. However, this does not make it better than onsite education.

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