Discussing any topic can easily lead to polarisation. Favouring your option comes naturally to humans as we love to be in the right. Being blindsided by the positives of a stance or topic is common as people often downgrade the negatives. Just because a subject of discussion has negatives, and everything has its negative sides, doesn’t mean it’s any less desirable. On the contrary, analysing both the good and the bad leads to a balanced stance.
And a healthier relationship with the subject at hand. Favouritism and blindly following anything without taking a grounded approach can lead to more harm than good. Such is the case about the new field of online learning. Both sides are heavily polarised, and we aim to change that with a balanced review of both the good and the bad. Remember this approach, as it can serve you during your academic years and for all that follows.
1. No commute, less socialisation
If you want to study a topic that is not available in your city or the immediate vicinity, then online learning is godsent. Not travelling back and forth, or not relocating is an incredible money saver and life changing. You are no longer limited to the options presented but can pick and choose your own. Money saved can be substantial, and you can funnel it towards your plans, and all that money saved, can be used to have a healthier balance in life. But one of the parts of college is the socialisation, networking and group activities which are completely lost. Yes, there are Zoom classes and gatherings, but these fade to the real thing in comparison. The only upside here is if you are an introvert by nature, but even then, humans are social beings, and nothing can replicate or compare to the real thing.
2. Learning at your own pace, lack of motivation
When you are in the same class as X other students, the curriculum is standardised for all. This is very impractical as different people learn at different paces and some of us can study with music, others need silence. Deriving knowledge and mastering any course requires various degrees and amounts of time and effort. Some people need scraps, others need detailed and accessible RTO training resources, while others can go by with notes.
It’s all individual, and online learning provides options for those who need them. On the other side, it can be challenging to adapt to the new environment. While there are still deadlines to follow, not physically being in college can create a false feeling of not attending one. With that comes the illusion of ample time which leads to procrastination. Also, since you are learning from home, there can be a whole list of distractions there. Games, movies, TV, PC, friends, pets, family, and so on can easily distract you from your objective unless you focus and summon the determination to fulfil your goal.
3. A healthy balance, no hands-on experience
Juggling your personal life/work/study is a feat of strength and a worthy accomplishment. Online learning places the study part as an item in your daily life and doesn’t make it the focal point around which it is based. Those that are working while studying can attest to the hardships of trying to balance a study schedule with their work shift. And the inability of employers and college staff to help them out. Online learning gives you more options to tailor the study part to your schedule, as lessons are recorded, and the material and research are there for you at any time.
This sounds like a dream come true, but online learning cannot replicate the practical experience of certain fields. While you can study any theoretical aspect of a subject, some require a hands-on approach, practical application and work experience. All of which are provided by the university course. You may try to achieve it yourself from the courses and such, but again, having trained professionals demonstrate and guide you while you are in the real world, with actual situations and physical presence is a learning experience that’s impossible to replicate digitally.
So, there you have it. Comparing the two can be as easy as counting to three. Having a balanced and open mind able to critically study any subject, taking the good with the bad, is ideal. Not just for online learning, but for anything that you may encounter in life. It’s important to note that any downsides don’t necessarily mean that you should avoid but, on the contrary. Taking the good with the bad can make you see online learning in a whole new light. It is even better to view it that way, as you can be blindsided by the negatives, since you are only focusing on the positives. We wish you all the best in your future endeavours.
© 2022, Mike Parsons. All rights reserved.