Benefits of Online vs. Physical Learning

Ever since the concept of e-learning has gained prominence, the debate revolving around the benefits of online vs. physical education has actively emerged. While both have their benefits, we present a holistic picture for you to decide for yourself.


One of the important elements to bear in mind when deciding between online or physical options for learning, the nature of flexibility matters a lot. You need to keep in mind the amount of time you have every day to commit to your study time and whether you can have your own say in it or not. Are you comfortable attending school full-time or do you need more flexibility with your studies?

In case you are a proponent of flexibility, online education is, hands down, the best option. You tend to get a lot of flexibility in your schedule and can run the studies at your own pace. There are no hard and fast time schedules as to when you should study. Instead, you design the schedule according to your own needs and preferences.

Whereas, traditional or physical education lacks this flexibility. If the class has been arranged at 7 am in the morning, you need to be there on the exact time, failure to do so will result in an absence and missing the important contents of the class.

Interactivity & Engagement

Interactivity & engagement are two key elements that are essential for better retention rates and attention span among students.

Without a doubt, online education comes with increased engagement and interactivity levels. The reason is, that the mode is self-paced and involves digital media. Students can make use of different videos, audio, games and other media to supplement learning.

While traditional learning lacks such elements as the involvement of digital media is not that common.

Social Interaction

Social interaction is necessary for building in confidence and enhancing the personality of the students.

Online education comes with lesser interaction in the sense that there is less and sometimes no physical contact among students and teachers. Although virtual interaction exists, it can never truly replace the physical, one-to-one connection.

Traditional modes of education, on the other hand, are all about physical interaction. Students and teachers interact in real and spend time together. This helps build different skills in students.

So, we will give this point to physical/traditional modes of education.

Lecture Contents

The amount of content in each lecture is also something you might want to consider before making a decision.

Online education focuses on a single learning objective at a time. The duration of lectures is also relatively shorter in order to ensure an increased attention span among students and prevent it from getting boring. Otherwise, students will be demotivated while studying.

However, physical modes of education are usually lengthier and they mostly focus on multiple learning objectives per lecture.

Attention per student

Many students face this issue where they complain that they do not get enough individual attention from their teachers.

Talking about physical education first, it is not easy for the teachers to provide individual attention to all students due to the large number of students to manage at a time. This results in collective attention where some students might feel neglected.

In contrast to this, online education addresses this issue of individual attention. All students can get attention and their queries can get resolved at any time. You can even ask questions that otherwise seem to be a challenge in the presence of other students due to the fear of humiliation or lack of confidence. You have your complete privacy. You can even repeat the lecture contents as many times as you want in order to have a better understanding of the concepts. This is a more student-centered approach.

Learning Space/Environment

The nature of the learning space or the environment you are studying in affects your overall study time a lot.

Online learning gives the benefit of studying from anywhere and anytime. This means you have total control over your environment. This way, you can avoid any distractions that might come along during your study time. You have your own dedicated, peaceful space to learn which can be designed any way you like. If you like, you may study from your bed or the comfy sofa in your drawing room.

Whereas, there is a single study space set up which is supposed to fit all the students. You hardly have control over the distractions in the environment. You can not change seats and positions in case you feel uncomfortable.

Cost, Effort & Time

Online education saves up a lot of cost, effort and time. As you are not compelled to travel, you save up on your transportation cost. Moreover, the effort you put in while travelling is also eliminated. You do not get tired and that saved energy and time can be used for study purposes.

On the other hand, physical modes of education require you to travel to your schools or academies. As the petrol prices have seen a hike these days, you need to bear increased expenses. Travelling also tires you and creates anxiety sometimes which affects your ability to learn. Your time also gets wasted which could otherwise have been used for doing productive stuff.

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