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Blog: Digital VS face to face learning

It’s certainly true that there will always be a place for face to face learning, but digital learning is opening up a world of opportunities. Nowadays, people are beginning to expect to have digital learning at their fingertips. They want to be able to log on to an app on their phone instantly or sign up to an online course and start learning right away. A lot of what we do is on demand these days, and in many cases, so is learning.

There are two main schools of thought when it comes to learning. Firstly there’s the traditionalists. They think that all learning should be done in person and you simply cannot replace the classroom. According to some estimates, nonverbal cues account for up to 60% of communication.

Secondly, there’s those who take a more modern approach and may believe that all learning can be done online. Whilst both these have a compelling argument, we really don’t have to pick one or the other. Digital and face to face learning can work together in harmony to produce a brilliant all round learning experience.

People these days are also very busy, and many find that digital learning enables them to study when they wouldn’t otherwise have been able to. It opens up new opportunities for people to study around their nine to five job or access a course that would have been too far to travel to in person.

In 2000, David McConnell put together an interesting table which outlines some of the potential benefits and setbacks to both. You can check it out here. However, nowadays it’s not that black and white. There are different generations of learners, each of which are used to information being delivered in different ways. As with most things learning related, a one size fits all approach just won’t work.

Below we explore the benefits of both digital and face to face learning:

Digital pros

  • Digital allows us to have access at our fingertips when we need it most
  • Learning can take place anytime anywhere
  • You don’t have to wait for other classmates to turn up
  • There’s an astonishing amount of choice and a diverse collection of learning subjects
  • Learning can easily be shared and accessed online and via the cloud
  • You can work on multiple subjects and topics at the same time
  • More flexibility of when and where you learn, you can work to your schedule
  • Don’t have to go anywhere to start learning, you can learn so much from the comfort of your own home

Face to face pros

  • Can receive verbal and visual feedback in person
  • Less distractions
  • You benefit from human interaction and discussion
  • There’s more of a social side to learning face to face
  • Access to books and physical learning materials
  • Questions answered in real time (although this can be done through live online group classes/hangouts)
  • A relationship can be built between the teacher and student in person
  • You see, hear and feel learning which creates memorable learning experiences

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