Advantages of computer-based learning over classroom learning
The benefits of computer-based learning as compared to traditional face-to-face lectures and courses include:
Computer-based learning results in flexibility and convenience to students: in many ways, learning sessions are available anytime, and learning is self-paced. Learning can be scheduled around family and work because learners are not limited to a specific time or day to attend classes physically. Students can also choose the learning materials depending on their level of interest and knowledge. In addition, students can also pause their learning sessions at their own convenience.
There is reduced travel cost and travel time for students who are off-campus. This results in increased access because instructors can convey their knowledge across borders; this will enable learners to be reached across economic, political, and physical boundaries. Moreover, students can study anywhere so long as they can access Internet connection, and they have a computer. Instructors can be able to convey information internationally, to students at a low cost.
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The successful completion of computer-based or online courses enhances self-confidence and self-knowledge and encourages learners to take responsibility in term of their learning. According to a research conducted by the departmnt of education in the United States, students in higher education getting computer-based training usually perform better as compared to those in classroom learning.
Computer-based learning enables students to get the competencies and skills that are required in a technologically advanced world. It provides learners with the necessary digital literacy skills needed in their career, profession, or discipline. Computer-based training facilitates the development of crucial skills for workers who are knowledge-based by incorporating the use of information technology in the curriculum.
Computer-based learning employs diverse learning styles and this enables learners use a variety of activities. Learners have the option of skimming over materials they have already mastered and focus their efforts in learning new skills or information. In addition, students can take tests to determine their level of understanding the course material.
Students and instructors also benefit from the improved interaction among instructors and students as compared to a case of large lecture courses. Students can participate in discussions on bulletin boards, or they can communicate with instructors or classmates in chat rooms.
Disadvantages of computer-based learning
In as much as computer-based learning has advantages, there are learning challennges that are posed by this form of learning. These disadvantages include:
In computer-based learning, there is the lack of human interaction; this will result in limitation of both the type of assessment that can be carried out, and the type of material that can be offered.
Computer-based learning requires a lot of commitment and responsibility on the part of the learner. Therefore, for learners with poor study habits or low motivation, there is the likelihood of falling behind or failing to learn.
For students who are used to a traditional class, the use of computer-based learning may confuse such students or they might loose track of deadlines and course activities. Some learners have the tendency of relaxing when there is no one following them, and this may result in failure to meet deadlines.
The instructors are not always present to give instructions to students or to offer help when needed; this might make a learner feel isolated from the classmates and the instructor.
There are activities that require hands-on participation of learners such as lab work; such activities are difficult to demonstrate in a virtual classroom.
For a new learner, using computer-based learning software and managing computer files can be complex and may require initial training. Furthermore, the use of old computers and unreliable or slow Internet connection can be annoying.