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Online Learning vs Classroom Learning – What is Better for You?

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  • Last Updated : 11 Oct, 2021
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Online Learning vs Classroom Learning – One of the most trending and debatable topics in the present-day world. And why not, as the global education industry has seen an exponential surge towards online education after the unprecedented pandemic. Learning and upgrading yourself by staying at home i.e. via online mode has certainly become the new normal now. But the point to note here is that many individuals aren’t accepting this new norm all the way and holding a strong concern about what is actually better for them – Online or Classroom Learning?  


Let’s first have a clear picture of ‘What is Online Learning’ and ‘What is Classroom Learning’. Online Learning or e-Learning is concerned with the mode of learning through virtual means that can be accessed using relevant devices including laptops, smartphones, tablets, etc., and internet connection. On the other hand, Classroom Learning is concerned with the traditional way of learning i.e., inside the physical classrooms. In simple words, students as well as teachers, both are required to be physically present in the classroom.  

What you need to know is you can’t get a pin-point answer to this Online Learning vs Classroom Learning concern as it majorly depends on one’s own preferences and requirements, so what can be done is we can compare both the learning process based on various significant parameters and then you can’t find the right choice for you accordingly. Let’s get started with the comparison:

1. Learning Flexibility  

Looking at the first parameter, learning flexibility – it is concerned with various aspects such as learning from wherever you want or learning at your own pace, etc. And it is quite evident that online learning gives you the utmost flexibility compared to traditional classroom-based learning. For instance, you can enroll yourself for an online course from any foreign university and can study it right from your home or other preferred places without any hassle. Whereas, for offline classroom learning, you’ll be required to be physically present at the particular school, college, or institute to attend the course.  

In online learning, you can opt for a course and can complete it at your own pace and convenience. Especially, if you’re a working professional or someone with a busy schedule, online learning would be a better option for you as it will allow you to take a course as per your preferred schedule and will save a lot of additional time of yours such as commutation, etc.

2. Student-Teacher Interaction

The precise and fluent interaction between the teacher and students is very much necessary for a worthwhile learning environment and its outcomes. If we talk about classroom learning, the interaction between students and instructors/teachers here is undoubtedly interactive, engaging, and clear. Here, the students can interact with teachers spontaneously in real-time and can get resolved their queries or doubts. It also allows the teachers to know the students well and provide them with a personalized learning experience. Although the scenario is not very much same in the online learning. For example, in an online course with recorded lectures, students find it difficult to ask questions and get resolved their doubts as there is only one-way communication.  

However, online learning is enabling the interaction between students and teachers via various ways like live classes, chatrooms, emails, discussion forums, etc – still, traditional classroom-based learning is a bit preferable in this parameter.

3. Wide Range of Courses / Programs Options

Going down the list, here comes another prominent parameter – the availability of a vast range of courses or programs options. Now, you can easily guess that out of the two (online learning and classroom learning), which one is having an upper hand in this parameter….right, it’s Online Learning! In classroom learning, you’re required to be physically present inside the classroom and thus, the course/program options get limited due to geographical barriers. Also, factors like resource quality, updated content, etc. make the options more limited.  

But, in online learning, there are plenty of enriching courses or programs available out there – whether you’re a student who is looking for a degree program or a fresher seeking a skill updation course or a working professional who’s looking out for a renowned certification – things are available for each and every individual’s requirements from which you can opt for the right one for you without facing any geographical barrier or any other hassle.  

4. Sociability and Solidarity

Another crucial parameter to make a valid comparison between online learning and conventional classroom-based learning is  Sociability & Solidarity. Classroom learning promotes social interaction among fellow students or learners more copiously and thus they get to learn and explore various new things and also grow their network by building real-time relationships. The learning environment that is created in the classroom-based learning due to the physical presence of all the students and teachers not only makes the knowledge transfer or doubt clearance process much smoother but also boosts the confidence of students and helps to develop other important career skills as well like communication, etc.

On the other hand, in online learning, it is not that feasible for the students to socially connect with other students and participate in various practical experiments, brainstorms, fun activities, etc. ​and due to this students even sometimes feel like they’re all alone in the learning journey that eventually lowers down their enthusiasm and encouragement.  

5. Accountability  

Moving further, another parameter in the list is Accountability. You need to understand that as online learning gives you the utmost learning flexibility, it requires you to be self-motivated, self-disciplined, and consistent as you’re more accountable for the learning outcomes in the online learning process. For example, in physical classroom-based learning, you usually have a fixed learning schedule and deadlines for the allotted tasks.  

Also, there’s an instructor available in the class who can look up to you if you’re mentally present in the class or not, or if you are understanding the things appropriately that is being taught in the class or not. But, in online learning, the picture is a little different. Here, it is up to you how you manage & regulate your time, avoid distractions, etc. to stay on track. In simple words, the greater flexibility in online learning comes up with greater responsibility or accountability!

6. Cost-Effective  

Last but not least, which one is more cost-effective…?? However, both the learning methods (online and classroom-based) have their own cost and expenses associated with them but if we consider the overall outlook, it can be said that online learning is more cost-effective compared to traditional classroom learning. There are various standard online programs or courses available that are far more cost-effective than the respective physical classroom-based course or programs. One such platform is GeeksforGeeks where you can get quality content and course for almost every tech skill including programming languages, data structures & algorithms, computer science subjects, etc either for free or at very much affordable prices. Not only this but other expenses like commutation cost, relocation cost, study material, etc. also get reduced in online learning.  

So, these are some of the significant parameters that you surely can consider to decide what is better for you – Online Learning vs Classroom Learning. Again, you must remember that it will majorly depend on your own requirements and preferences. For example  – if you need real-time social interaction more while learning then you can go for classroom learning or if you’re the one who is self-disciplined and self-motivated, then you can prefer online learning, and so on…!!  

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