Virtual classes vs physical classes


Online classes, smart classes, and e-learning are changing the way the education system works. But do you think that these virtual classes are good for the overall growth of a student? Physical classrooms are better than virtual ? or should it be a combination?

Educational Technology
Maya Kharkwal MA, BEd
30 months ago

13 answers


Physical classes are the real classes - virtual classes are alternatives only.

Charu Gulati
30 months ago

I think there has to be a combination. I agree real classrooms are more effective. However real classrooms are not possible sometime because of various reasons.
Virtual classrooms and now MOOC kind of things help you to learn things which were hard or expensive earlier.

Hitesh Mathpal
30 months ago
Thanks, A combination is good but I think the majority should be for real classrooms. - Maya 30 months ago
Virtual classes are important but can not replace real classes. - Charu 30 months ago
As an individual who completed my MSL in a blended environment, partially online and in class, this hits home. There is tremendous value in the in-class physical presence for building relationships and working on projects. Yes, they can be accomplished virtually, yet it is more challenging. A key issue is "where is the student now?" work/life experience & future goals. - judith 30 months ago

'Blended learning' has to be the way forward. Nothing beats the live interactions of a group of delegates and an experienced trainer but augment this with systems such as Cogknit's iCOG and there's real power.

David Cottrell
30 months ago

Real classes are more effective, however for any reason sometimes you don't have the opportunity to join and the virtual ones are a valuable B plan.

Paolo Beffagnotti
30 months ago
I agree. - Maya 30 months ago

Virtual Class is far more better than physical class however both styles have its own pitfalls

Jack Dom
30 months ago
Type of program, work/life experience the student brings and what type of activities need to be accomplished. Building relationships is critical, can be done virtually, yet more challenging. - judith 30 months ago
I guess this depends totally but i strongly recommend virtual classes for professional courses as its convenient and cost effective - Jack 30 months ago

Consider what outcome measures are expected from the student. Can they be demonstrated virtually? Are they clinical in nature and must have direct supervision or coaching?

judith sands
30 months ago
Good points. Do you agree subjects like Litrature or History can be taught virtually but not Physics or Biology ? - Maya 30 months ago
I think those subjects could all be taught virtually. Obviously clinical labs need the hands on component. In the future with technology, some of that will go away. Those courses that lead to degrees with human interaction and clinical care should have the direct human intervention. - judith 30 months ago

Physical allways much better!

María F Lara
30 months ago
Yes. Agree. If there is a choice - I would prefer physical. - Maya 30 months ago

Having been a trainer online and in-person, there's no substitute for in-person engagement. There are exceptions for some people who learn better via video, for example, but distraction and discipline are key problems. If someone shows up for a class, I can see immediately who's paying attention and who's confused, plus it shows their commitment to show up in the first place. Not everyone has the time or money to attend in person, and motivated individuals should have opportunity to access the same instruction. .

Karen Bluestein
29 months ago
Karen Bluestein Couldn't agree more. I welcome every attendee and look them in the eys in order to see who will be an ally in the audience and who might be a potential troublemaker. can't do that over a video link. Also, there's a magic that comes from a group of people and a good teacher working together. - David 29 months ago
Excellent points, David. Agreed. - Karen 29 months ago

The question has a flaw. Many who participate in traditional face-to-face classroom instruction do so choosing not to receive virtual classroom experiences, and many who participate in virtual and other mediated learning do so to avoid traditional classroom learning environments. Thus, the results of head to head comparisons involve self-selected learner populations who may in fact be quite different from one another in learning skills and abilities. Remote learning is its various manifestations requires greater discipline on the learner's part to persist and complete their learning aims, and therefore attracts learners who already possess those talents. A mixture perhaps appeals to a broaden range of learners and learning strategies but does not maximize organization of learning experiences. In the end, I believe research shows that it is the person-environment fit which best predicts success rather one instructional strategy being inherently superior for all learners.

Jim Ratcliff
30 months ago
Agree Jim, A hybrid arrangement is the future, - Maya 30 months ago

Teaching has in general to functions, to communicate knowledge from the teacher to the student, but also to motivate the students to learn for themselves. At university the professor resumes the topics and the classes get used for interactive discussions. So the answer, it should be a combination. E-learning can enhance the overall learning experience.

If no other opportunity, e-learnings could be used for training of motivated students. For example to learn language. This could be done with a live-teacher, connected with camera.

Patrick Henz
30 months ago
Thanks for your input. Good points. - Maya 30 months ago
Thanks!! - Patrick 30 months ago
Create engaging courses and make these interactive to have students more involved. Consider that having adult students or younger is completely different. - Paolo 30 months ago
Great points, reminds me of "situational leadership", where is the student in terms of motivation, experience, interest, willingness... There are cultural and generational factors that must be considered. - judith 30 months ago

A previous user has suggested that a physical classroom is real and that a virtual classroom is not real. This is absolutely not true. Education has changed a lot over the last 50 years now and new classroom educational initiatives have seen the physical classroom change so much. So, a typical 50 minute lecture where a professor talks to a group of students in a physical classroom is obsolete and no better than a poorly run online class. In fact, these types of lectures are often skipped by students and many if not mist student are asleep or on their phones after ten minutes. So a physical class of pure lecture is often the least effective way to teach (retention is at its lowest). However, a well designed online classroom that utilizes technology that get people taking and interacting (and teaching each other) can be MUCH more effective than a physical classroom. So, the point is...both can have their purpose and both can be wonderful for a student, if done carefully and planned and executed well. DO NOT ASSUME that a physical classroom is ALWAYS better than a virtual one, that is SIMPLY NOT TRUE. As mentioned by someone else in the comments, a blended approach is what is being considered all over the world.

Charles Gullo
30 months ago

It depends on the class. General Ed classes are fine as online instruction. If it's art or design then you need to have the assistance of an expert in the field, if you want to improve.

Carolyn Zahnow
30 months ago
Right but sometimes video could be enough if when you need assistance of an expert in the field. I know a person having video pilates classes and it works well. - Paolo 30 months ago
Good point, Carolyn. While dental students start out working on manequins, performing surgery on real patients in a clinic under the supervision of a skilled professional is still the pathway to success. Performance skills in all fields may be initiated virtually but at some point need to move to hands-on real life experiences. - Jim 30 months ago

I believe that the education delivery model has changed significantly in the last 10 years. The meteoric rise in online universities outpaced the acceptance of the graduate's education, but that has changed. To substantiate my point- I can now enroll in MIT for elective and executive track courses, entirely online and with no requirement to step foot on the hallowed grounds of the university. An MIT executive MBA is arguably more attractive than a moderately sized state university MBA attended in person.
Further to the point that online education has now been fully accepted, it is entirely normal to have high school students attend class during normal hours and then return to an online hosted forum for a lab or additional discussion. These are part of the core curriculum and is expanding rapidly.
One can create examples where independent online study would be dangerous if accepted as equivalent to mentored and guided instruction. Doctors, surgeons, and may more. But there was no suggestion that there was a one or the other model. As with most things that include technology the value lies in the judicial use of both methods to achieve the greatest overall benefit meeting the needs of the market.

Oren Birks, MBA
30 months ago
Agree, Thanks Oren, - Maya 30 months ago

Have some input?