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Is Live Online Learning Better than Offline?

Coronavirus has helped propel the notion of live online learning firmly into the debate about how education and teaching will evolve in the coming decades. 

The sudden shutdown of schools and universities have necessitated the delivery of a virtual alternative to teaching, whether that’s a Zoom call where all the class participates or a live one-on-one session to provide a pupil with extra support and guidance.

However, even prior to the COVID-19 outbreak live online learning was becoming increasingly popular, ironically amongst academics who continued to teach physical, classroom-based lessons. 

A recent US study, for example, showed that 77% of teachers surveyed believed live online learning was equal or superior to physical teaching lessons, and a 2018 survey by Learning House found 85% of pupils agreed live online learning was either equal to, or better than, attending lessons in a physical setting.

But why is live online learning seen by many as the superior teaching model? The ultimate reason is almost immeasurable in terms of its benefits: live online learning severely reduces the stress and anxiety many pupils feel while learning in the physical presence of their tutor.

A recent Gallup study, for instance, showed those who participate in live online learning courses are twice as likely to have better mental wellbeing than their peers who continue to learn inside a classroom. This is attributed to the fact that live online learning offers students greater control over their own learning and allows them, ultimately, to work at their own pace. 

Further, live online learning content is considered by learners to be far more engaging than traditional classroom methods like the textbook. This has lead many to view online learning as a ‘double win’ in comparison to the classroom, as the convener hones their creative and digital skills - to bring ‘learning to life’ - and the students subsequently immerse themselves in new and varied teaching styles that allow them to see which type of learning suits them.

Finally, other benefits of live online learning that have been identified by researchers is that more learning actually gets done, given it is far easier to reschedule lessons rather than ‘miss’ the physical classroom version - and Gallup themselves have concluded the lower likelihood of missing lessons contributes to improved retention metrics amongst pupils. 

In this time of working and learning from home, which will not dissipate any time soon, live online learning will continue to go from strength to strength. 

Yet even prior to the sudden changes caused by coronavirus, many distinguished academics have argued the benefits, and superiority, of this model. Likewise, 8Billionminds - since its inception - has always been committed to delivering live online learning sessions for these very reasons, in addition to the fact it feels nobody should be excluded from learning something new due to insufficient funds. 

If you haven’t yet tried live online learning yet, perhaps you ought to - and see for yourself what benefits you may be missing.