How Online Classes Differ From Traditional Classes
By Ryan Laspina
Senior Specialist, Red Flags and External Reviews at APUS
Online learning has become much more popular due today’s technologically advanced world. There are numerous universities that are fully online, and pretty much every university in the country has at least a small online component in their curriculum. While traditional schools and online schools offer the same end game (i.e. a diploma, certificate, etc.), the actual classrooms have numerous differences. Online classes do require a different kind of learning style than traditional classes. Some of these differences are explained below.
- Online classrooms usually require more writing than traditional classrooms. You must be prepared to answer weekly forums, have essay-based midterms/finals, and respond to other students’ postings with written responses. In a traditional classroom, a lot of the discussions can be verbal. Obviously, that is a little more challenging with online learning, so online learners need to have satisfactory writing skills.
- Online classes are much more flexible than traditional classes. With online classes, you usually have the freedom to log in at any time during the week and submit assignments. There will always be deadlines, but you will not have to be present online from 1-2:15 every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday like you might have to in a traditional college setting.
- You must be able to self-motivate as an online learner. To succeed at any kind of college, you must have the motivation to be a great student, but it is crucial to be self-motivated while enrolled in online classes. The flexibility of the online classroom is nice, but it means that the structure of a traditional, schedule-based school is not present. This requires online learners to create their own schedule and stick with it for the entire duration of the class.
- Online universities offer flexibility, affordability, and self-paced learning. However, online schools cannot deliver the full “college experience” that a traditional school can. Online universities may have clubs, extracurricular activities, networking events, and graduation ceremonies, but they probably are not the best option for someone looking for the ambiance of a college campus.
There are major differences between online classrooms and traditional classrooms. It absolutely takes a different kind of learning style to succeed, but they are not mutually exclusive. There are many learners out there that can adapt to both styles. If you are planning on attending an online university, be aware that it will be different from your typical on-ground learning experience.