Similarities of Traditional and Online Education:

Contrary to what people may believe traditional and online learning requires a lot of hard work and dedication. Traditional and Online Education requires both teach, students and lesson plans. Almost everything you can think to do in a traditional classroom setting such as home work assignments, papers, discussions, tests and quizzes are also a part of online education. Just like a traditional classroom setting the teacher takes into accommodation different learning styles and techniques, so does the online instructors.

Differences between Traditional and Online Education:

The differences between Traditional and Online Education is location. Traditional education is located within an infrastructure of some sort. You have a physical teacher in the classroom as well as physical students in a classroom. For Online education it is a virtual classroom. The classroom is not located within an infrastructure and you can literally have class anywhere as long as you have access to the internet with the appropriate devices that are compatible to the classroom such as Firefox browser, Flash Player and Adobe Reader. Due to Online learning being asynchronous, it takes a little more self discipline, dedication and motivation. A major difference between online learning and traditional is that feedback time is totally different. In a traditional class you can get real time feedback where as in an online learning environment feedback can be anywhere from 48- 72 hours depending on requirements.


As the text states "Like traditional teaching, online teaching methodologies include lectures, handouts, assignments, assessments, visual and audio media, and group discussions. However, the delivery methodology is different. In an asynchronous course, the instructor works remotely and delivers the course materials through a learning management system which is available around the clock." (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012). Examples of methodologies are interactive or discussion activities, and tests, quizzes, or exams.

Course Material:

There are various course learning material. You have lecture material, collaboration, assignments, technology, instructor materials and assessments. The only difference in course material in an online classroom setting opposed to the traditional classroom setting is the delivery. For example, in a traditional classroom a lecture is centered around the instructor and you get real-time feed back from the instructor and other students. In an online classroom the lecture is online and it may include some video's or other articles to help support. If you have questions and or concerns about the material presented you can't ask questions right away and receive feedback right away. You must email your professor and normally they give a 48-72 hour window for giving any feedback.

Advantages of an Online Classroom:

You can access your classroom anywhere, anytime as long as you have internet access.
Provides interactive classroom setting that promotes the open exchange of ideas.

Disadvantage of an Online Classroom:

No face to face interaction.
Delay in time of feedback.

Advantages of a Traditional Classroom:

Traditional classrooms offer more interaction with the Instructor as well as with other classmates.
Traditional classrooms offer immediate feedback on lectures and various assignments.

Disadvantage of a Traditional Classroom:

Students are too busy taking notes of the lecture and not allowing the information to fully absorb while being delivered.

Traditional classrooms places students in a passive rather than an active role, which hinders learning.


Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek (2012).Teaching and Learning at a Distance: Foundations of Distance Education (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon

Suskie, L. (2004). Assessing student learning: A common sense guide. Bolton, MA: Anker