face to face vs. online learning

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Explore the ways you can choose to learn, be it face-to-face; online; or on the job

Face to face learning

This is where the teacher and the student meet in a set place for a set time, for either one-on-one learning or, most commonly, in group class lessons similar to what happens in school.

Face to face learning is a really effective way to learn knowledge and skills because it often combines different ways of learning including writing, reading, discussion, presentations, projects, group work, film clips, demonstration and practice.

The Advantages of Face to Face Learning in the Classroom

  • You'll be able to concentrate harder on your learning because there’ll be less distraction than if you were at home.

  • You can gain greater understanding, stories and real-world examples from teachers and other students

  • You have a greater chance of completing your course successfully by doing it in a classroom situation. (Completion rate of teacher-led classes is almost 5x higher than that of on line learning)

  • You may feel more comfortable and learn more easily in a familiar, traditional classroom situation.

  • You can access more information and richer understanding through teacher and other students’ body language and voice.

  • You have the opportunity to connect with, problem-solve, and network with other students from a wide range of backgrounds.

Is Face to Face Learning for me?

If you want to be involved in group activities, group learning and group discussions, then face to face learning is for you.


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Online Learning

An online learning course is one you take online using a computer, without being with a teacher or other students in a classroom. You have greater flexibility and can study from home.. Most courses don’t need you to be online at a certain time of day or night, but you must actively participate in the course during the course time frame.

The Advantages of an Online Learning course

  • You can study in the comfort of your own home, or wherever you want

  • It costs less – no need to travel for training, and no parking expenses

  • Courses fit around your life, family and other things you do

  • You will avoid being late to class, or getting distracted in class

  • You can learn from your peers

  • You have access to the course 24/7

  • It may be more relaxed for you than in a classroom setting

  • You are able to build up your skills interacting with technology

  • It suits if you have different learning styles

  • The delivery methods are different and engaging

Is Online Learning for me?

If you prefer to study at your own pace, in the comfort of your home or somewhere else, or if you live a distance from training colleges, online courses are for you.

Although online learning is a convenient way to take courses, it’s not always a good idea for everyone. Some people find it difficult to study by themselves, and need the face to face contact with the teacher and other students in a classroom setting.

If you study online, you need to be very organized, self motivated and have good communication skills. .

To find out if online learning is for you, take a short quiz, courtesy of OntarioLearn.com.

On the Job Learning

On-the-job learning takes place in a normal working situation at a work site.

It's face to face learning, where someone who knows how to perform a job shows another person, or a group of people, how to do it.

A good example of on the job learning is when a person is employed in an apprenticeship or traineeship. They complete most of their training in the workplace, practicing and doing the job they are learning about, with the support of a workplace trainer.

Another example may involve a person who does a certain job in the workplace being taught a new way to do that job, or a new process that has to be adopted.

On the job learning is really effective because it gives the learner the chance to practice what they have learnt, using the actual workplace machinery, tools and other resources needed to do the job. And it is under the guidance of an instructor who knows how to teach the job. 

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Last reviewed 12 December 2023.

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