The Lesser of Two Evils: Is E-Learning Better Than Traditional School? (Opinion)

Sam Sublette | Reporter

Long hours, monotonous schedules, and a repetitive cycle. Students experience this environment when attending school on a regular schedule.

However, with a quarantine in place, students now have an extended break from this cycle. The academic setting has migrated from a physical place of learning to a virtual one. Does this newer method trump the traditional method of education or does it lack the core criteria for learning?

While online school may vary between each student, in general, students learn more effectively in a physical school environment opposed to a virtual one.

The National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado, Boulder recently released a study titled “Understanding and Improving Full-Time Virtual Schools” that reported fewer than 28 percent of K-12 operated virtual schools were meeting Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in 2010-2011, compared to 52 percent of all schools nationwide.

It is no doubt that most students prefer the comfort and relaxation of their own home preferred to the more professional setting of school. Nevertheless, this comfortable setting tempts students with distractions towards their general learning.

The choice of working on classes is easily accessible at any time the student desires to work; however, so is the choice to procrastinate or put off work to the side. In a school setting, this option is more restricted as the daily schedule decides when students work and when they earn a break. Personally, I have put off schoolwork because of loose restrictions, but I was still able to get all of my assignments completed on time.

As mentioned previously, online school affects different students in different ways. Some students work faster and better because they have the option to do schoolwork whenever they desire and for as long as they desire. For most students, though, it affects their general focus on schoolwork when absent from an environment purely centered around academics.

School online is not a bad method to replace school during a quarantine, but it remains as a weaker method in teaching students the required materials. However, it could be a better method with more experience, restrictions, or improvements over time.

For instance, at Riyadh schools, private schools located in Saudi Arabia, students are using laptops and technology to teach themselves information that they would not have known until years later in a traditional school setting. Here, students are using programs that feed them questions with harder and more arduous difficulty.

Public school and virtual school both educate students effectively, but the traditional setting remains to be the best way to teach students the general information to prepare them later in life.

Trial and error is the best method to improve e-learning to its full potential and see where the limit is. While online school is a great method to substitute public school, it should be held off as the primary education system until further notice.

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