Distance learning and online computerclasses should replace classroom learning. Agree or disagree?
With the advent of computer technology,especially the internet, more and more students choose to take their coursesonline for a brand-new learning experience. On the other hand, the traditionalclassroom learning seems to be facing more challenges. Is online educationfeasible? Yes. And probably good as well. Will classroom learning be displaced?I believe not.
To be frank, online education providesfresh learning experience unheard of before. The most distinct benefit comesfrom a flexible schedule. Students, especially adults with part-time jobs oreven full-time jobs, take full advantage of this point. They are now free tochoose any program that fits into their daily schedule. Compared with thetraditional idea of “going to school”, this is better illustrated as “theschool is going to you”. Another obvious advantage is the multi-media learningplatform. Computer technology promises vivid short plays, detailed lectures andeven games designed for the course, all of which appeal to students a greatdeal.
However, it is clear to me that onlineeducation has certain innate setbacks which render it unable to compete withthe traditional classroom learning. Firstly, communication is very limitedonline. The opponent may argue chat-rooms are great tools. However,face-to-face communication can never be replaced, because it conveysinformation besides the words that form a sentence, but also intonations andbody language. Facial expressions and gestures all facilitate understandingduring a conversation. Suppose a student finds part of the lecture baffling, hecan directly ask the professor in the classroom and probably they willcommunicate with the help of notes, pictures, blackboards and their bodylanguage. These tools are simply impossible to combine during an online course.
Yet another important downside of onlineeducation is that it has the potential of turning students into negativelearners, because they do not and cannot participate in classroom activities.Since everyone is learning by his or her own on a computer, chances are slimthat they can form real-life study groups, which in a traditional setting doprojects and researches together. For example, if a student enrolls in anonline drama class, it’s natural to play a part in the drama to gain in-depthperspectives on this topic. However, the student is unable to join the activityonline, simply because it is not feasible. Gradually, the drama topic seems tobe drifting away from the student because he is not actively involved in thelearning process. A traditional classroom setting, on the other hand, providesa lot more opportunities for students to take an active role in the learningprocess.
To sum up, online education is fascinatingin some ways and does offer different learning experience. However, it cannotand should not replace traditional classroom learning, due to the lack ofcommunication and participation. A classroom always remains the best place tolearn.