Increasing digitalization and technological innovation have evolved long-established teaching models. To top that, the COVID-19 pandemic forced many educational institutes worldwide to adopt online learning. However, now the pandemic is in a distant backdrop. A new normal has been established in Australia and the world over. It’s perhaps the right time to ask, “Is face-to-face learning better than online learning for kids?”
The truth is that face-to-face learning for kids is more socially enriching, constructive, and educational. Let’s discuss these two distinct learning approaches to establish the importance of face-to-face learning compared to online learning.
What Is Face-to-Face Learning?
Face-to-face learning, also known as in-person learning, is when teachers teach their students in a class setup reserved for education. It’s a well-established learning mode, proven to have a 5x higher completion ratio than online learning.
In-person learning puts most students at ease, enabling them to learn more efficiently in a traditional classroom environment. It provides students with equal access to information and learning tools. In face-to-face learning environments, the teacher is able to connect and interact with the student effectively. It involves various learning modes, including reading, writing, assignments, demonstrations, videos, class discussions, group and solo presentations, etc.
6 Compelling Benefits of Face-to-Face Learning
Here are some reasons that prove why face-to-face learning is better than online learning for kids:
Higher Engagement & Idea-Sharing
Face-to-face learning enables students to engage with their teacher and each other seamlessly. Teachers can use different tools in a classroom setting to help their students learn the lessons. They can also encourage interactive classroom activities, group presentations, and impromptu classroom debates that result in idea-sharing and the development of critical thinking.
It will help open children’s minds, enable them to be more receptive to different perspectives, and develop dynamic thinking. In-person learning will also help students develop the patience and skill to work collaboratively with each other and develop public speaking skills, preparing them for the real world.
Face-to-face learning presents the opportunity for students to interact with pupils from various diverse backgrounds. It helps them develop deep-rooted friendships, experience a sense of belonging, and develop social skills. Studying alone from home can be somewhat isolating for some students due to the limited interaction with their peers.
Classroom learning instils social responsibility, camaraderie, and mutual respect between students. It enables them to blossom into confident, social young people. Moreover, in-person teaching helps the teacher gauge the body language of their students to make changes in the lesson or activity. It can help students pick up each other’s idiosyncrasies as well.
Limited Distractions & Disciplined Learning
As much as a parent tries to discipline their child at home, it’s not the same as the discipline they can learn in a classroom setting. A student learning virtually will have access to a world of distractions through their computer. However, they will have limited distractions when learning in a classroom. Face-to-face learning also encourages the students to follow a particular schedule, stay on task, and apply their learning timely under the direct supervision of their teacher.
The ultimate benefit of face-to-face learning is that it gives teachers the opportunity to stay on top of the progress of each student. It enables students to ask questions or resolve their confusion immediately and get one-on-one time with their teacher if needed.
Some classes and courses, such as science and STEM, require the active participation of students. For instance, students will need to perform experiments together in a lab to learn about certain concepts. Face-to-face learning makes this significantly easier as students have access to a lab, equipment, and tools needed for STEM and science-related lab work, which can be complicated when the teacher can only guide them through a screen.
Sense of Accountability
Face-to-face learning instils a sense of responsibility and accountability in the students. They cannot delay classwork or avoid watching a pre-planned lesson. They have to come to school every day and attend their classes timely while abiding by the rules set by their teachers. In-person learning helps the teacher hold students accountable for their actions and prepare them for adult responsibilities.
What Is Online Learning?
Online learning, also known as virtual learning, relies on technology to impart education. It uses online video platforms like Zoom to connect the teacher to their students. While it does sound appealing and can help students and teachers become adept at using technology, online learning is less effective than face-to-face learning.
The Challenges Online Learning Presented During the Pandemic
Even though online learning became the need of the hour during the pandemic, it presented many challenges. Students faced adaptability, internet connectivity, time management, and technical issues. A 2020 survey of school leaders and teachers in Australia and New Zealand found that 80% of educators believed students would need more instructional support when they returned to classroom learning. They also displayed concerns that students would struggle with learning loss, social isolation, and poor well-being due to online learning.
Children who are taught virtually suffer from reduced one-on-one interaction with their teacher. They face difficulty in engaging with other students. Similarly, teachers struggle to monitor the individual progress of all students. Online learning also requires continued oversight from parents, which is not always possible.
Lastly, online learning presented the challenge that not every student had access to the same level of technology, including internet connectivity and online tools. According to a Victoria University research study, when studying remotely, school students face up to a 23-33% yearly decline in math and a 15-22% decline in reading from ages 5 to 9.
These are increased statistics due to the inclusion of disadvantaged students with limited access to technology. The disadvantaged students face limited internet access, lack of familial resources to support home learning, poor technological know-how and skills, and limited parental support.
These challenges are enough to surmise that face-to-face learning is better than online learning for kids. It evens the playing field and gives equal opportunities for growth and learning to all students present in a classroom.
The Bottom Line
There’s no denying the importance of face-to-face learning and its absolute supremacy over online learning. While the latter has particular merits, the former is much more fulfilling, interactive, and accessible for children and teachers alike.
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