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Online Learning vs Classroom Learning: Which One is Better?

Online learning vs classroom learning? Here’s what you need to know.
EvelynLast Updated: May 5, 2023
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In the past decade, online learning has become increasingly popular as an alternative to traditional classroom learning. While both modes of education have their own benefits and drawbacks, the debate over which one is better continues to persist.

In this article, we will explore online learning vs classroom learning, and which one is better. And we will share 5 differences between them.

Introduction of 2 Learning Modes

Learning is a lifelong process. The educational landscape has drastically changed recently as students switch from traditional face-to-face classroom learning to online learning.

It’s acceptable to be undecided while discussing online learning vs. classroom learning. This might be the case since both are remarkably effective teaching modes.

online learning and classroom learning
online learning and classroom learning

Classroom Learning

Face-to-face classroom learning is the most common and traditional form of education. Students and teachers gather in a classroom to learn and interact with each other.

It has a clear division of roles and responsibilities. The teacher is responsible for lecturing, explaining concepts, and facilitating discussion. Students can actively engage with the book material, ask questions, and participate in group activities.

In traditional classroom learning, teachers can adapt their teaching methods to the needs and learning styles of their students. Students also receive timely feedback from the teacher, collaborate with peers to share ideas, participate in extracurricular activities, and develop social skills.

Online Learning

Online learning, is also known as e-learning or distance learning. Unlike traditional classroom learning, you can access educational content remotely and interact with instructors and other students at your own pace and convenience.

Online learning has gained popularity in recent years due to advances in technology and the increased demand for flexible and accessible education.

It includes a variety of formats, such as self-paced courses, live virtual courses, webinars, and multimedia content. It also involves various interactive features such as discussion forums, online quizzes and assessments, and collaborative projects.

5 Differences Between Online Learning vs Classroom Learning

Is online learning as good as face-to-face learning? We will show you 5 differences between online learning and classroom learning.

the differences between online and classroom learning
the differences between online and classroom learning

1. Flexibility

Students frequently commend online learning for its flexibility. Students can manage their time, so they can study and test at their own pace. Online learning makes time and distance a non-issue. Students may receive education whenever they want and enroll in online courses from any location, including their bedrooms or the local coffee shop.

With online learning, students can fit learning into their busy schedules by accessing open-source online courses from anywhere on the Internet. You can also solve any questions by watching replay videos or looking up relevant course materials. This is especially beneficial for those whose work or family commitments make it difficult to attend traditional classroom education.

On the other hand, punctuality and attendance are important for classroom learning. If you are late or absent, it may affect your usual grade. The teacher may ask something for you at any time in class and expect you to respond accordingly but doesn’t leave much time for you to prepare.

2. Student-Teacher Interactions

Interactivity is an important aspect of online learning and traditional classroom learning because it promotes engagement and a deeper understanding of course material. However, the degree and type of interaction can be different between the two approaches.

One of the greatest benefits of traditional classroom learning is the ability to have face-to-face and real-time interaction between students and teachers. This approach can enable students to receive immediate feedback from teachers and build stronger relationships. In a classroom, students can also ask questions and participate in group discussions, which can improve their understanding of the course material.

In contrast, online learning may rely more heavily on digital platforms and EdTech tools to facilitate interaction, such as email, forums, chat rooms, and video conferencing. While teachers and students can also communicate remotely through relevant platforms and online tools, they may lack the immediacy and personal touch of face-to-face interaction found in traditional classroom learning.

3. Expert Access and Resources

Expert access and resources can be an important aspect of the learning experience because they can provide students with additional support and information beyond what is covered in the classroom.

In traditional classroom learning, students have direct access to teachers and other experts in the field who can solve questions and provide guidance in real time. In addition, students may also get some physical resources such as textbooks, libraries, and specialized equipment. Those resources can enhance their learning technique and provide an immersive learning experience.

However, one of the benefits of online learning is that it can offer a wider range of digital resources and platforms. You can also access online libraries, multimedia resources, and digital tools for collaboration and communication. And you can communicate and interact with other experts via email or video conferencing.

4. Cost

A recent study from Arizona State University found that “online courses can save between $12 and $66 per credit hour, a difference of 3% to 50% of the average credit hour cost.” And through more statistics on online learning vs classroom learning, we found that the cost of online learning is much lower than traditional classroom learning.

There are no physical facilities or infrastructure to maintain while learning online. Students do not have to pay for housing, transportation, or other costs associated with being on campus for classes. E-books are becoming a booming industry today. Many online courses offer digital textbooks and materials. In this way, they may be less expensive than traditional textbooks.

When it comes to higher education, tuition isn’t the only issue. Students also need to worry about rent, food, and living expenses. Many choose to apply for student loans to cover living expenses and tuition. In the UK, many people have retired without even paying off their student loan interest. So online learning is the more cost-effective option.

5. Teaching Tools

Online learning and classroom learning use different types of instructional tools to facilitate teaching and content delivery.

Online learning integrates many technologies in the classroom, such as educational software, online polling, interactive quizzes, and online web platforms. These methods and tools enable communication and collaboration between students and teachers or between classmates. You can also access online libraries, develop educational resources, and more for free.

Classroom learning uses some more traditional tools such as textbooks, whiteboards, and projectors. These tools can enhance students’ understanding of course material, conduct group activities, and provide student participation in class discussions. Students who engage in offline learning can also build their models and specimens or conduct experiments and research to enhance their hands-on skills and practical experience.

Tips: Online Learning Technology Tools

Here we would like to recommend FineShare FineCam. It will help you create high-quality course content and make your online teaching easier and more effective.

With FineCam, you have the equivalent of a powerful teaching aid. You can add videos, pictures, presentation slides, educational materials, and other multimedia elements to change your webcam background. In this way, you can make a more dynamic and engaging online course and also create an immersive learning experience for your students.

You can use FineCam to create pre-recorded instructional videos for your students to watch before class. Meanwhile, you can use it to record online lessons. This is very useful for students who are absent due to illness or distance learning. You can also use your iPad or iPhone as a webcam to capture text materials in 4k quality and share written notes with your students.

Download and try!

Free Download For Windows 7 or later
Free Download For macOS 11 or later

If you want to know more about online technology tools, you can read: 15 Favorite Online Teaching Tools Used by Teachers and Students.


In conclusion, both online learning and classroom learning have their unique benefits and drawbacks. The decision ultimately comes down to the preferences and needs of the individual students.

Whether you choose to pursue your education online or in a traditional classroom, it’s important to select a mode of learning that fits your learning preferences, lifestyle, and goals.

This article is originally published on May 6, 2023, and updated on May 5, 2023


Evelyn enjoys writing and painting, she also likes listening to music.

HomeResource Online Learning vs Classroom Learning: Which One is Better?

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