If you are starting a new career, this may seem like a scary time to do so. Many technical colleges have moved classes to fully or partially online because of COVID-19, so you may be worried about your training being negatively impacted. Even before the pandemic, many classes offered online options, so it’s a tried-and-true educational method. The argument of online vs. in-person classes has been raging for years, but today we’ll look at some of the differences between online and in-person classes to see the strengths of each. See if you can reach a conclusion as to which method of education would work best for you.
One of the major benefits of online classes is their flexibility. Being able to study material, complete coursework, and turn in assignments all from your home and in your own time is a huge upside. Many technical college students work jobs either part-time or full-time, so this flexibility can be a lifesaver! In-person classes aren’t as flexible, which is a potential drawback for students who have busy schedules outside of college.
The flexibility that comes with online education can be a double-edged sword, however. Many students benefit from a more rigid structure, as procrastination is a problem that almost everyone deals with at some point. It’s much easier to put off work when you don’t have a professor in a classroom reminding you to get it done. Online learning, therefore, requires a greater amount of self-discipline than in-person education.
Building relationships with your professors and classmates is an important part of the college experience. In-person classes make this easier because you get to see them in the flesh sometimes multiple times per week. In this area, in-person classes have an advantage. However, even if you never meet your online classmates or professors in real life, you can still build relationships with them through email, messaging, and video call class meetings (if your class has that component). Building relationships definitely takes more effort in an online environment, so this is one downside of that method of education.
Many technical colleges offer options for their students to take classes either in-person or online. While this usually doesn’t affect how much the class costs, there are other costs associated with in-person classes. The biggest of these costs is transportation. If you are taking in-person classes and don’t live within walking distance of campus, you have to consider gas, maintenance, and parking costs. Parking permits are usually quite affordable, but the other transportation costs can add up to thousands of dollars per year.
Fully online students save money by eliminating the need to drive to campus multiple times per week. This means online education can be somewhat less expensive. Of course, students who study online will be driving their vehicles to other places, so they will still have vehicle maintenance costs building up over time. Online education has a clear advantage as far as cost is concerned, and this is a major reason many students choose this option.
This is perhaps the most subjective factor when it comes to online vs. in-person classes. The learning environment is an important part of education, whether it be a classroom, a machine shop, or out in the field. In-person classes offer their attempts at the best possible learning environment for the subject matter at hand. Online classes allow the student to create their own ideal learning environment, whether it be an office, a kitchen, or a coffee shop.
The perfect learning environment depends on so many different factors that it’s impossible to quantify, which is why neither online nor in-person classes necessarily have an advantage here. Everyone learns differently, so we cannot say whether in-person classes or online classes offer a better learning environment. The important thing is to pick the type of education that fits your needs best.
As you’ve probably concluded, there is no “better way” to take classes. It all depends on the subject being taught and the student taking the class. If you’re looking for a slightly cheaper education that gives you flexibility, online classes might be better for you. If you want a more rigid schedule with more opportunities to build relationships with professors and fellow students, in-person classes could work for you. For more information on the types of classes available, reach out by clicking the button below. We’d love to talk with you!