Traditional Classes vs Online Classes: Which One to Choose?

Technology has indeed impacted the education industry deeply, which brings forward two modalities of classes: traditional classes that take place in a physical classroom and online classes that are live-streamed or pre-recorded.

But what are the differences between online learning and classroom learning? Should there be a debate about “which is better, traditional or online education?”

Let’s dive into the advantages of traditional classes and online classes for students to know how online learning is different from classroom learning.  


Tasks most appropriate for traditional learning 


(a) Social Environment  

According to a 2019 Harvard study, students who participated had expressed that they learned more through in-person lectures that employed active learning strategies [1]. Classroom techniques such as getting the students to answer clicker questions and assigning the class to work in groups are found to produce better educational outcomes. It is the social environment of traditional classrooms that engages students to use their physical senses to learn, enhance their soft skills and increase student interaction.


(b) Retains Focus Better 

One of the common differences between online learning and classroom learning is the level of focus when attending a class. Being physically present with the educator and peers can retain focus better compared to sitting alone in front of the screen. When with others in person, there’s a degree of accountability to concentrate and actively participate in traditional classrooms. It’s definitely a different feel altogether in a virtual class whereby students can switch off their video cameras and lose concentration.   


Tasks most appropriate for online learning  


(a) Better Evaluation of Student’s Progress  

If you were to put a “traditional class versus online class” comparison in terms of progress-tracking evaluation, online classes are likely to be on top.

With the use of learning management systems (LMS), educators have a much easier time settling administrative tasks, delivering educational courses in addition to documenting, tracking and generating reports of each student’s progress. The software application facilitates e-learning in such a way that it organises, consolidates and analyses the student’s learning based on quizzes and other types of assessments.

This adds to the many advantages of online classes for students, including helping them to see their level of understanding of a subject and how they can score better in their next assessment. 


(b) Videotaped Instructions 

Students can replay recorded lessons to reinforce information unlike in traditional classrooms. This significantly helps those who need a slower pace in learning without repeatedly asking the same questions to the educator. It also allows students who are working to replay the lessons during their free time.  


Blended Learning as a Solution 

The advantages of traditional classes and online classes have led to “blended learning”, that is combining the best of both worlds. However, there are variations within blended learning.


Predominantly Physical 

Some educators prefer to conduct most of their lessons in physical classrooms. The virtual part comes in when the students receive pre-class briefings and assignment tasks by email or an LMS for them to complete in their own free time. They can also be given online quizzes.


Predominantly Virtual 

Meanwhile, other educators might feel more comfortable with teaching their students using video conferencing and online teaching tools. For the purpose of giving hands-on training and instruction, the educators will conduct physical lessons. 

Which is better, traditional or online education? At the end of the day, it’s mainly about how online learning is different from classroom learning. Taking note of the differences between these two allows educators and curriculum developers to implement blended learning into course design and teaching.

At UNITAR, we offer undergraduate and postgraduate programmes which are either in conventional, online or blended learning to provide the knowledge and skills for today’s competitive job market. Inquire now.





Download Brochure

"*" indicates required fields

Terms and conditions apply.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.