Like most of the people I also experience temporary absence from the virtual or online world. For that I would give cliched, absurd and out-of-shape excuses of having been busy. Well, indeed people are busy and have to look after real world matters, automatically shunting virtual world back in the yard.
Being in the education field, I was forced to draw some parallels with online learner’s behavior. The obvious conclusion was that there is a huge difference in the environments of the online learner and classroom learning. Below I have discussed some differences that alter the way learners learn things.
From an education point of view, the environment in which learner is learning greatly matters. In classroom training, the student has to make up his mind and travel from home to institute. Whereas in online program, the student studies from the ease of home, decreasing the importance and worth of program.
In classroom, learners are away from their family and friends, with the chance of fully focusing on what is taught. However, in online learning the learner is at home, with the chance of full distraction. Online learners find it very difficult to ensure that they are not disturbed while learning online. In the absence of formal learning environment, the learner gets casual, creating distractions for him. Besides, the demands of family and friends also feel more dominating that result in the gradual increase of breaks.
Flexibility of time
Leaving everyone else out, the online learners alone have to play with the dangerous double-edged sword called flexible timings. It is in human nature to procrastinate when timings are flexible. When we have the freedom of timings, we tend to delay and get it down on the eleventh hour. Things done in hurry or at the last moment tend to have mistakes and errors. This ultimately makes online learning incoherent with less understanding of core knowledge.
On the other hand, classroom training bound the learner to attend the classes at specific time. This ensures no excuse for lecture absence. When missing a lecture, the learner will feel the guilt of losing the knowledge he has paid for. Keeping this in mind, the learner will concentrate on his classroom training and get better knowledge. Classroom training now also offers flexible timings, but once class timings are confirmed, the learner has to observe it strictly. In actual, classroom training institutes introduced flexible timings to leave no excuse for learners not to attend classes.
Strength of supervision
Online learners mostly do not have any kind of direct supervision. With lack of direct supervision, the learning intensity is decreased, making the whole session less knowledgeable. I do agree that with peace and cohesion of mind, the learning capabilities are increased. However, with higher intrinsic content load, learner also needs to get his mind into high gear.
Direct supervision does help learners. It enables them to stay focused and absorb the technical knowledge taught. Online learners can stay focused but within controlled environments. Generally, online learners study in environments that are not accommodating at all.