The Benefits of Online Learning

Will online teaching replace traditional classes?

  1. Do you agree that learning online is more efficient than attending traditional classes?
  2. Would you say that by introducing online learning we could overcome the problem of poor teaching at schools?
  3. Do we still need traditional classes?
  4. Have you ever tried online learning? Were you satisfied with the results?
  5. Will schools soon become obsolete?


(abridged from here)

What are the benefits of online learning?

It’s not hard to see why online learning has become so popular when you consider the many reasons why people choose to embark on an online course instead of more traditional methods of study.

Greater choice

One of the major benefits of online learning is that students aren’t required to travel to an institution, and can learn from their home (or even on the go) at the click of a button. In the age of online learning, students can study at top institutions from a distance, which is especially useful for those who live in rural areas or who can’t afford the costs of travel and accommodation (either to evening classes or to embark on a residential course). What’s more, as well as the choice of institution, the choice of subjects is virtually unlimited.

Immediate start

Unlike traditional university or college courses, many online courses don’t have a set start date, allowing students to make an immediate start. This flexibility will be a refreshing change for those who’ve experienced the frustration of discovering a course only after it has started, or having to wait weeks or months for a course to begin.

Study at your own pace

Many online courses give students the flexibility to work at a pace that suits them. If you’re a fast learner, you won’t be held back by the slower students. If you’re a slow learner, you won’t feel under pressure to move too quickly through the syllabus, as you don’t need to move onto the next module until you feel completely comfortable that you’ve mastered a topic. This leads to better learning outcomes, enabling students to reach their potential.

Fewer distractions

Many students find noise in a classroom distracting when trying to study, but with online learning, they’re free to take their studies into a distraction-free environment in which they can give a topic their full focus. This means that they can absorb information more quickly and easily.

Flexibility to fit your studies in around other commitments


Because you don’t have to commit to studying at a particular time each week, or at a particular location, online courses are open to anybody, anywhere in the world.

Save money

There are fewer costs associated with online learning, as you won’t have to think about transportation, and nor will you have to cover the accommodation costs you’d have on a residential course. What’s more, as study materials are typically web-based, you won’t normally have the cost of buying textbooks to consider.

Are there any drawbacks to this method of learning?

There are pros and cons to any learning method, so in the interests of a balanced appraisal of online learning, let’s look at a few of the potential pitfalls of embarking on an online course.

Less human interaction

One of the main disadvantages of studying online is that, with some courses at least, students have less contact with other people, either their peers or their teachers. Whether that’s exchanging ideas or just receiving the incentive of immediate praise from a teacher, some argue that the relative lack of human interaction in online learning is one of its biggest pitfalls. To combat this issue, many online courses offer forums or chatrooms in which students can discuss ideas with other students, virtually but in real time.



Some students may find it harder to cope with the fact that on an online course, they don’t have the time structure of a traditional teaching environment and must motivate themselves to study. Combined with the lack of contact with other students, this means that some students find it can be difficult to motivate themselves to study an online course. This can unfortunately lead to higher drop-out rates for online learning.

Teaching and assessment methods for online courses

In the absence of direct human contact with students, online learning providers are faced with the challenge of delivering lessons in an interesting and stimulating way. In addition to this, they must find ways to mark students’ achievements fairly at the end of the period of study. To be engaging, online courses must constitute more than a series of static webpages that students read and are tested on.

Vocabulary exercise:

to embark   /   drop-out rates   /   at a pace   /   unlimited   /   incentive   /   cover   /   syllabus   /   commit

  1. We live in a society of __________ choice.
  2. CEU estimates that students need to budget an average of 160,000 HUF per month to __________ accommodation costs, costs of utilities, meals, city transportation…
  3. If you are unwilling or unable to __________ to studies on a full-time basis, you reduce the likelihood of successfully completing the doctoral program.
  4. Rewards and punishment will be a powerful __________ and try to influence future conduct.
  5. This flexible approach allows you to study __________ that suits your circumstances.
  6. Be assured that if you embark on this course of study you will be amazed and inspired
  7. The number of students failing to progress into their second year of study varies greatly, with institutes of technology found to have extremely high __________ at 17%, compared with 9% in universities and 4% in other colleges, including teacher training centres.
  8. This tool is a web-based application that walks the user step-by-step through the __________ requirements