The benefits of Face-to-face classes

Introduction

Education involves the acquisition of competencies, attitudes, and personality required to function in society. It determines the quality of a person’s life as good education improves employability and standards of living. As a result, improving access to education has been the priority of different governments around the world. Learning institutions have embraced technology to increase access and improve learning. They have replaced face-to-face classes with online classes. However, the introduction of online classes is a controversial issue as people have different views. Some believe online causes are flexible and convenient for learners who are busy pursuing other things like a career and raising children.  Others think online causes are inferior to face-to-face classes as they hinder the interaction between teachers and students and their peers, academic performance and career preparation. Also, the online classes are considered impersonal, time-consuming, and unrewarding for teachers and students. Therefore, the proposal will prove face-to-face classes are better than online classes by evaluating them based on interactions between educators and students, time, academic performance and career, and fulfillment. Thesis: face-to-face classes are better than

Face-to-Face Classes and Online Classes

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The change in learners’ lifestyles and advances in technology have forced universities to create a flexible environment to meet their needs. The institutions have increasingly provided online classes as a supplement to face-to-face classes or a substitute. Electronic learning is considered student-centered, convenient, and flexible, however, traditional classes are better as they facilitate student and teacher interaction. In online classes, content is provided via the internet and the interaction between the learner and instructor is mainly through the text. The learning environment does not have a specific location.  Video and audios are integrated into the material, but the written text is the primary medium of communication between students, their colleagues, and educators. The online courses are flexible ad students and instructors are not required to be involved in the same activities at the same time.  Face-to-face communication leads to a dialogue between learners, their peers, and instructors. Having a dialogue allows students to evaluate their learning and have a sense of community with their colleagues. Studies require a dialogue with their educators and other learners to consolidate their learning. However, distance education via online classes hinders face-face communication and makes it hard for learners to put the course material into the right context. As a result, students can perform tasks correctly if they attend face-to-face classes as instructors demonstrate and expound on the content. This was evidenced in the study Miliszewska reviewed as the researchers studied adult learners included in a blended, control, and online group. The findings indicated that learners in the blended group performed their tasks 30% more correctly than those who studied online (Miliszewska 504). The blended group performed activities 41% quickly compared to the online group (Miliszewska 504). Kemp and Grieve found that face-to-face classes ensured students were engaged. The engagement resulted in meaningful discussions and students think deeply and generate ideas. They get more information on the content from their peers before concluding. On top of that, face-to-face discussions ensure students get immediate feedback from colleagues and instructors after clarifying issues (Kemp and Grieve 5).

Besides, face-to-face classes are less time-consuming than online classes. Van de Vord and Pogue in their study found that instructors needed more time to teach students in traditional classes compared to online classes. The teaching time in a week for learners in the face-to-face classes ranged between 3.83 and 36.32 minutes and online courses between 11.21 minutes and 16.72 minutes. In online classes, there was no scheduled lecture time as educators interacted with learners using technology. The interaction lasted 16.67 t0o 37.67 minutes. However, in face-to-face classes, time is saved when grading assignments as instructors spent between 5 and 49.41 minutes per learner. In online classes, instructors spend between 38 and 49.36 minutes for each learner as they grade discussions, assignments, and assessments. Instructors are required to upload grades when teaching students online. They thoroughly read the assignments to assess students’ learning and facilitate it. Apart from that, instructors are required to post content online and provide feedback to students.

Lastly, students attending online classes perform poorly compared to those in face-to-face classes if they are not disciplined.  Self- discipline is important as the instructor provides the content and learners take the initiative to access, learn, and comprehend it. Also, students have to regularly get help and they are required to complete the material within the stated time.  However, some students find it challenging as they lack the skills needed to become successful learners. They lack the motivation to learn on their own and become discouraged when they face economic problems and drop out. The lack of support from other students and educators contributes to the difficulty in learning and low performance (Arias, Swinton, and Anderson 2). Arias, Swinton, and Anderson compared the effectiveness of online classes and face-to-face classes by determining the performance of students taking macroeconomics. The results indicated students who attended face-to-face classes had significantly higher scores in their examinations and improvement on questions provided by the instructor after the test (Arias, Swinton, and Anderson 1).

One of the issues identified is the increased use of technology to provide online lessons and the negative impact it has on students and teachers. The online classes distance learners from the university community, including teachers and peers and hinders them from being prepared for their careers in the future. It prevents the grasp of the content delivered and leads to a lack of competencies and poor academic performance. The solution proposed is the blending of online classes and face-to-face classes to create a favorable environment that benefits all students. Blended learning is a contemporary educational technique that has substituted electronic learning in many institutions of higher learning. It is characterized by increased yields, affordability, and inclusion of more complex types of learning. In this case, teachers try to include the components of technology into the conventional classroom setting because of the associated efficiency.  The strategy promotes interactive learning and helps mix the role of the educator in the traditional classes with the roles of teachers in online classes. It encourages learning by integrating visual cues and educational concepts. The virtual environment is used to get the attention of students and augment interactions with teachers and other learners. Blended learning is a combination of direct and indirect learning. It ensures the usage of technology when teaching and learning without leaving the usual educational circumstance and attending classes. Ut concentrates on direct interaction in the classroom via the usage of modern communication methods, including computers, the internet, and networks. Studies have examined blended learning and noted that the social presence provided in the environment allows questioning and provides a way for learners to get timely clarification.  Blended learning allows the organization of information, attitude, and experiences for learners via multimedia provided information technology. As a result, blended learning decreases time, effort, and cost of delivering content to learners only. The information is provided to them faster and in a manner that allows the instructors to manage and control the education process and evaluate students’ performance. It improves their educational achievement and provides an attractive learning environment (Oweis 2).

On top of that, blended learning has additional benefits such as it allows students to access computers and information. Also, it develops the instructors’ educators’ role as mentors and leaders. They focus on providing appropriate leadership to facilitate learning and comprehension of the content. Besides, teachers provide mentorship to students to help them acquire skills that are critical to their career and also improve their performance. Blended classes provide a good option for learners who want flexibility in learning and also need some personal contact with other students and instructors in the class. It goes past time, cultural, and location barriers and creates better opportunities for instructors and students. It promotes critical thinking, student-centered learning and increased interaction with other learners. Studies have shown that students who attend blended learning perform better than those who attend traditional and online classes only. Hence, blended classes will address the limitations of traditional and online classes and improve teaching and learning in universities and colleges (Vernadakis et al., 440).

The opponents of face-to-face classes believe that online classes are more effective as they provide flexibility to learners who have work and family responsibilities. However, the flexibility comes at a cost as students are required to be disciplined to complete the course assignments and read materials and attain the objectives set. The discipline ensures they meet the course requirements and get their degrees. Nonetheless, having a degree is not critical like the mastery of skills employers require. Face-to-face classes allow the development of problem-solving, collaboration, teamwork, and interpersonal skills.

Conclusion

In conclusion, universities and colleges are increasingly using technology to improve the teaching and learning process. However, they should consider the benefits and risks associated with e-learning when making the changes. Face-to-face classes allow interaction between learners and teachers and an in-depth understanding of the content. Also, it facilitates the development of the right skills and competencies and better performance through discussions and constant feedback. However, universities ad colleges can embrace blended learning to incorporate technology in traditional classrooms.

References

Vernadakis, Nikolaos., Giannousi, Maria., Derri,Vassiliki., Michalopoulos, Maria, and Kioumourtzoglou, Efthimis. The impact of blended and traditional instructions on students’ performance. Procedia Technology, vol.1,  2012, pp. 439-43

Oweis, Thelal, I. Effects of using blended learning method on students’ achievement and motivation to learn English in Jordan: A pilot case study. Education Research International, 2018, pp.1-7

Arias, J.J.,  Swinton, John and Anderson, Kay. Online vs face-to-face: A comparison of student outcomes with random assignment. E-journall of Business Education and Scholarship of Teaching, vol. 12, no.2, 2018, pp.1-23

Van de Vord, Rebecca and Pogue, Korolyn. Teaching time investment: Does online really take more time than face-to-face? 2012.

 

Miliszewska, Iwona. Is it fully “on” or partly “off”? The case of fully-online provision of transnational education.  Journal of information technology Education, vol. 6, 2007, pp. 449-514

Stern, Barbara. S. A comparison of online and face-to-face instructions in an undergraduate foundation of American education course. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 4(2), 196-213

Kemp, Nenagh and Grieve, Rachel. Face-to-face or face-to-screen? Undergraduates’ opinions and test performance in classroom vs online learning. Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 4, no. 1278, 2014, pp. 1-11

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