Online classroom vs Physical Classroom! Which is better?

Classrooms have a direct effect on our learning and understanding process. Back in the day, classrooms meant only physical classrooms. But, online classrooms have gained immense popularity, especially after the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. This article will help you understand the difference between online classroom vs. physical classroom. After which, you will be able to distinguish between these two and choose the more suitable one for yourself or your child. 

What is an Online Classroom?

An online classroom is a digital learning experience that allows teachers and students to connect online in real-time. Online classrooms use video conferencing, online whiteboards, and screen sharing to enable teachers to conduct live lectures, virtual office hours, and discussions with students in an interactive setting. Moreover, online classrooms are meant to replicate the experience of physical classrooms, with some added benefits of file sharing, instant feedback, and interaction, and are ideal in distance learning situations.

Online classroom vector illustration

In addition, an online classroom showcases an online learning system that enables students and teachers to communicate and collaborate. Online classrooms are basically like cloud-based learning solutions and are run digitally. Therefore, they are highly customisable and accessible to all users on several devices. These include smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc.

What is a Physical Classroom?

Physical classrooms create a face-to-face environment for students and teachers. They refer to a classroom set-up where everyone can communicate with each other and engage. A physical classroom has different materials and furniture in them. This includes projection screens, board, teachers, class monitors, etc. Moreover, many of the elements in a physical classroom bring positivity and concentration to students regarding studies. They also help the students to feel less distracted. This is because an academic environment surrounds them.

Physical classroom vector illustration

However, only books, lessons, and various class works don’t have to keep students engaged. Other things like furniture, classroom decorations, teacher’s behaviour, peers- play an essential role in indulging students into the classroom environment. It creates an ambience to make students feel inclined to study and focus more.

Online Classroom vs. Physical Classroom

Since we have now developed a good knowledge of what online classrooms and physical classrooms are, let’s see the critical differences between online classroom vs. physical classroom. First, let’s see the pros and cons of online classrooms.

Online Classroom- Pros & Cons

Online classrooms may be the perfect option for some, but not the correct choice for others. Therefore, it is best to know its pros and cons before deciding for a kid or an adult.

Student watching online video lecture

Pros of Online Classroom

There are several pros of online classrooms. However, some of the crucial pros of online classrooms include the following:

Provides a Safe & Comfortable Environment 

Online classrooms allow you to study in the comfort of your own home. It is completely home-based, and you are in charge of your surrounding environment. There will be no classroom bullying, no fighting, etc. Also, there will be less disease transmission from others. Most importantly, from dangerous viruses such as COVID-19. 

Complete Flexibility

Total flexibility is the primary advantage of online classrooms. Students can work on their assignments any time of the day, whenever they feel. Also, they can access all their classes from any location that has good internet service. 

Online classroom flexibility conecptCost-Effective

Online classrooms require fewer materials. So, it is cost-effective compared to the usual classrooms. Pupils only need to buy e-books and have a good internet connection to attend classes in an online classroom. They do not need to purchase expensive textbooks. Moreover, most of the materials are provided online by the teaching faculty. And, any additional costs, such as transportation, lab costs, are also not required to take online classes. 

Cons of Online Classroom

Among the number of pros of online classrooms, there are some cons too. It depends on different people on what they want to focus more on. Therefore, let us now look at the cons now.

Less Socialisation 

Physical classrooms have several options for students to engage and get involved in many recreational activities. On the other hand, there are fewer options for students in online classrooms. They can’t talk to others, interact in the classroom openly, etc.  Students do all teamwork online, all by themselves. This makes them less social. Therefore, interpersonal skills such as teamwork, leadership, and social skills do not develop in them. 

It also affects their mental growth and makes them socially not ready. On top of that, they miss out on classroom-related extracurricular activities such as class parties, face-to-face presentations, classroom games, etc. 

Motivational Problems

Online classrooms expect the pupils to take authority over most of their work. But, sometimes it gets tricky for them to finish them on time. They have to work in isolation, with no peer or teacher to assist them physically if they get stuck somewhere. Thus, this is a significant disadvantage for students who are not very motivated and very bad at working in isolation instead of in groups. 

Distractions

The list of distractions in an online classroom is vast. In a physical classroom, the environment is only suited for learning and getting to interact with others. But, in an online classroom, pupils are in their homes or any other comfortable place. This means that the primary purpose of that environment is not for learning. They are also not under the supervision of teachers.

For instance, at home, the amount of distractions is endless. There might be music playing in the next room, a serious family discussion in the other room, etc. Thus, the classroom environment is not distraction-free. It diverts the mind of pupils from their studies. This causes them to focus less.

Physical Classroom- Pros & Cons

The physical classroom environment is the most common and the most traditional learning environment. However, it has its own pros and cons list too. Let us have a look at some in this section.

Empty physical classroom

Pros of Physical Classroom

Physical classrooms have numerous advantages. Nothing else can beat learning with a proper physical classroom and face-to-face human interaction. Some of the pros are:

Respect 

Respect towards one’s own physical and mental health and respect for your classmates/teammates is included in a physical classroom environment. Pupils can use this teaching in other social and working environments. It also encourages pupils to achieve through learning, gain recognition for their efforts and achievements, and raise their future aspirations to succeed. Pupils should be involved in learning in its widest sense, both inside and outside the classroom, to achieve their true potential.

In addition, physical classroom education teaches the students how to talk to others and show respect. They learn this through various classroom activities. For example- group projects, presentations, story sharing, etc.

Interactive Learning 

Physical classrooms involve interacting with different teachers face to face, ask more questions if there is any confusion in a topic. Moreover, it allows students to interact with their peers. This builds up their team working and team-building skills. Students can brainstorm ideas amongst each other as well as get feedback from others. 

Books and pencils on a table

The feedbacks can be both good or bad. The bad feedbacks can be treated as constrictive feedbacks, and they can work harder to achieve the desired results. Also, if one is struggling with any lesson or subject, face-to-face tutor help after school hours is available too. Thus, their self-confidence is boosted up through these special classes. 

Discipline

Discipline is a crucial part of learning. Most people prefer physical classrooms to ensure that students are learning how to behave, learn good manners alongside academic education. Waking up on time, getting ready for school, catching the public transport, acting correctly in class, etc.- these are all part of the disciple that the physical classroom teaches. In addition, discipline teaches students many lessons that can be converted into real-life scenarios when they grow up. 

Self-discipline is one of the essential skills to have – significantly when revising for exams and working full time as an adult. Physical classroom education helps to teach this. Without discipline, all the other skills acquired by an individual go unnoticed. This skill helps to make the different skills and expertise shine brighter.

Moreover, the discipline also teaches individuals proper leadership skills and goal setting to prepare them for their future in work. If an individual is not disciplined, they can never be good leaders or goal setters. Thus, for example, allocating team captains for sports such as volleyball can help pupils learn to work with small groups and assist them in completing a common task (for example, score a goal). 

Cons of Physical Classroom

Amongst all the pros of physical classrooms, there are some cons too. Thus, the most crucial cons are highlighted in this section. Let us have a look at some now.

Expense 

Physical classrooms have a reasonable cost. Educational institutions charge more money from students if they are to learn in physical classrooms. However, in these challenging economic times, when many schools are getting the axe, and some districts are even laying off teachers, the expense of holding physical classrooms may cause some schools to reconsider whether the class is worth it. The cost and maintenance of classes and equipment, the expense of a gym, maybe money that’s better spent on retaining talented teachers or entire academic programs.

Coins and bills

In addition, many schools and administrators base budget choices on the most important programs to students and parents: usually, those academic subjects measured on standardised testing. If the expense increases for a school, it would also directly impact the money it charges from students and their families. Thus, this creates division amongst students too. It builds up a notion that if you are financially more capable, you can afford the best form of education.

Travel

With physical classroom learning, students must physically attend the courses to get credit for attendance. Therefore, those who must travel long distances to get to school must allow enough time to arrive on time, particularly when inclement weather is involved.

Especially during the time of this global COVID-19 pandemic, it is also unsafe to travel. Thus, the risk of exposure to harmful viruses is high too. In addition, it would make the students more vulnerable to fall severely ill. Additionally, for students who are physically disabled, coming to school every day can create problems. They would have to always rely on someone else to take them to school. However, if they cannot commute to school sometimes because there is no other to take them, it would make them feel different from others and, therefore, are treated differently.

Less Flexibility

Physical classroom learning means the class schedule is already fixed and is not subject to change. Thus, they will not be able to take up specific jobs too. Some pupils face financial issues at home, and therefore they have to work to support their family and themselves, but a physical classroom education acts as a roadblock. Thus, less flexibility is one of the critical points in the Online classroom vs. Physical Classroom.

Closing Note

Education is essential for all. However, different people have different preferences when it comes to selecting the most suitable mode of education. Online classroom vs. Physical Classroom is an ongoing debate for several people. Sometimes, it gets challenging to pick the appropriate form of the classroom for yourself or a child. This article will help you solve all your dilemmas and educate you regarding online and physical classrooms. 

Here at Coursegate, we have a wide range of courses to select from. Furthermore, all our courses are delivered online with 24/7 support from the team. Therefore, if you feel that online classrooms would be more suitable for you at the end of the debate of online classroom vs physical classroom, look into our well-equipped online courses!

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