Pros and Cons of In-Person Learning That You Should be Aware Of
In-person learning has been as old as the concept of education itself. It has worked well in the past and seemed to be doing nicely even in the present times. However, the Covid-19 pandemic exposed the drawbacks of this system of learning which led to the surge in popularity of online learning methods. This new way of learning has presented a great challenge to in-person learning and unless the traditional form of education doesn’t solve its inherent predicaments, more and more people may shift to online mode of education.
Anthropological and archeological theories suggest that the main difference between Man and other animals is his ability to learn and grasp new things quickly. This ability is what puts our species at the top of evolutionary charts. Our brains are wired in such a way that we quickly adapt to new surroundings, find ways to utilize the natural resources that are available in those surroundings, and create conducive conditions to survive and thrive in new environments. All these steps require careful understanding and quick learning of new things. Though the first fire lit by Man may be a sheer stroke of luck, but subsequently he learned not just to create fire but also to control it to suit his own needs. Same goes for any technology that is used today- be it smartphones or space travel. Thus, learning ability of Man is what sets us apart from other animal species.
Today, our lives have been institutionalized, meaning every step of our upbringing is perfected by a certain specific institution. In this institutionalization, schools and colleges have been entrusted with the function of educating the masses. Since time immemorial, schools have been doing this job of educating their students by imparting knowledge in-person, i.e., students attend classes in the schools they have enrolled to get formal education. The global in-person learning market figures are a testament to this very fact. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has pushed through, among many other things, a new method of education- online learning. Though online learning has been around since a fairly long time, the pandemic-induced lockdowns have made this method a go-to option.
Pro and Cons of In-Person Learning and Online Learning
In-person learning, to state the obvious, is a real-time learning process wherein students and teachers physically take part for exchange of knowledge. Such a medium of instruction has been the primary mode of formal education before technological advancements made it possible to impart knowledge through audio-video format, with the use of internet. Though online learning is gaining ground nowadays, both these methods have their own set of pros and cons. Given here are some of these:
Pros of In-Person Learning
- Dedicated environment for learning
Schools or colleges are designated places for formal education. As a result, suitable conditions are created in these institutions which help in easy exchange of knowledge and ideas. Libraries or reading rooms in schools are good examples of such dedicated surroundings, which aren’t provided in online learning methods.
- Hands-on Learning
Probably the biggest advantage of in-person learning is that students are able to get hands-on learning experience which helps in their physical, emotional, cognitive, social, academic development. Practical knowledge gained from hands-on learning cannot be replaced by online learning methods.
- Better community building opportunities
In-person learning present better opportunities for building trustworthy relationships not just between students but also between students and teachers. A community feeling is developed and nurtured in a much effective way in in-person learning than in online learning methods.
Cons of In-Person Learning which are addressed through Online Learning
- Outreach of in-person learning is poor
Many students don’t opt for a renowned school or college just because they live in a different city or far away from where the college is located, and hence won’t be able to attend the classes. Online learning solves this problem straightaway as a stable internet connection and a smart-device which supports audio-video streaming is all that is needed for this method. Hence, online learning, in a way, has been able to cater to the educational demands of students in a much better way.
- Online learning is much cheaper
Since online learning allows attending classes and lectures from your own home, it reduces the overall costs required for completing formal education. Costs related to transport or relocating to a different city in case the college is situated away from your hometown are done away with, in case of online learning modes. In-person learning, on the other hand, is expensive for every stakeholder in the education system.
The Bottom Line
In-person learning is a great way of ensuring that quality education reaches to each and every enrolled student. However, it too has its own disadvantages. Investing in education-related infrastructure so as to enhance the outreach of educational programs can be a great way to kick start countering the problems associated with in-person learning.
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