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Traditional Learning Vs Elearning. Which is Better?

6 mins read

A debate on traditional learning vs eLearning systems often ends in lengthy discussions with little or no conclusion.

This is because both systems have their own charm and it’s own drawbacks. To understand this, an in-depth study of both systems of learning is important. 

Bifurcation of The Learning System

The traditional learning system most definitely branched out in the late ’90s when the internet started to show its presence and importance. Educational institutions for the first time started to include the term “distance education” programs in their curriculums.

The significance of the internet became more profound. The Internet became an important tool for communicating, corresponding, and interacting.

We are now at a juncture where we can not undermine the influence of the internet in our lives. The internet brings with it new methods, new learning, and new opportunities. 

The internet slowly but steadily paved the way for e learning, thereby branching away from the traditional methods of learning.

The questions now arise – Traditional Learning vs e Learning, which is better? Will traditional learning soon be obsolete? Is e-learning here to stay? What can we expect from this new system of learning?

To answer these questions, one has to necessarily know what the two systems are and what each system entails. A brief insight into the ancient Indian system of education can be worth a read.

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A Time In History

The traditional learning system has been in place in ancient India since time immemorial. The gurukul system that existed in ancient India is one of the first examples of the education system.

History shows that India was rich in learning and education. A number of Chinese, European, and Portuguese came to India to get a quality education. 

Gurukul System

Ancient Indian texts speak volumes of the education system that dates back to around 5000BC. The gurukul system was a kind of school where the pupils (shishyas) would reside in the teachers’ (Acharyas) home or close to it.

The pupils would receive a holistic education that included knowledge in arts, science, and mathematics apart from meditation, yoga, sports, and doing daily chores among other activities.

The pupils would pay the teacher a “gurudakshina” in the form of money or any duty that had to be performed for the teacher. This system worked well for long years until the British system of education took over the reins of this method.

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Traditional Learning System of Education

Today, the learning system that exists, is a continuation of the gurukul system with adaptations and modifications over the years.

The traditional system of education refers to the typical “go-to” classroom atmosphere where teachers and students have to be physically present, have set hours to complete academic courses, and have interactive sessions and physical activities. 

E Learning System of Education

Online Learning

With the arrival of the internet, e-learning has gained impetus. Distance education has become more popular than ever before.

With access to virtual classrooms, online learning has become the order of the day. Teachers and students interact over live sessions across device screens.

The gaining popularity of learning apps, tools, and virtual classes can not be ignored. These modules are gaining momentum for more reasons than one.

Traditional Learning vs E Learning or Online Learning- a Discussion

The two methods of education are very different in nature though the goal may be the same.

The goal in both the systems of education is finally the transfer of knowledge from the teacher to the student, that is, ultimately, the learning goal.

Both systems of education carry their own advantages and disadvantages. Much depending on the individual scenario.

It is difficult to conclude that one may be better than the other, however below we have attempted to dissect the two modules for a clearer understanding.

How Do Various Segments of The Population Benefit from The Different Modules of Learning ?

Traditional learning methods are suitable for young minds who are yet to explore the nuances of learning. The process of attending classes, interacting with peers, and following a regular timetable improves their physical fitness, daily schedules, and mental alertness. 

On the other hand, e learning or online learning methods is most suitable for professionals who are already pursuing their career and would like to enhance their skills by upgrading their qualifications.

In such cases, online education may be conducive as it saves time, energy, and money.

The popularity of Learning applications in place of tuition teachers cannot be ignored. The use of these learning apps saves time and energy and is as effective as a tuition teacher or school teacher.

The very fact that one can play and replay such applications until the concept is understood is an added advantage.

In an e Learning or online system of education, you can study at your own pace not worrying about keeping up with the rest of the students in the class.

Requirements in Each Model of Learning

Traditional learning involves the physical presence of the teacher and student in the classroom along with the interactions, discussions, and deliberations. 

Online or e learning can be enjoyed from the comfort of your own home. Online classrooms can be accessed from anywhere and on any device providing flexibility to the system.

However, it may be pertinent to note that the traditional classroom structure may be more favorable as it provides the right atmosphere for learning.

Online learning, if pursued from the comfort of your home may involve distractions of family members, household chores, and other disturbances.

Interaction in Sessions

Traditional learning involves interactions between students and teachers giving it a personal touch. Students can directly clear doubts and share their views on any subject.

E-learning often students and teachers do not directly interact with each other.

Though classes may be live, the interaction between the students and teachers is very impersonal. Often students prefer to suppress their doubts rather than clear them in an online class.

To overcome this kind of drawback, teachers in on e-learning set up encourage students to express themselves through other methods like a chatbox, emails, or messaging applications.

Character Study

Classroom learning or traditional learning allows teachers to study their students individually. Their mannerisms, their weak points, their strengths, and student characteristics.

This helps teachers to guide and mentor students better. Classroom learning is in a controlled environment where students and teachers are interactive and proactive. The teachers monitor and supervise the students at all times.

With online learning, teachers are unable to individually interact with students on a personal level. This makes it tough to evaluate students thereby making it very difficult to guide students.

Teachers are only able to remotely monitor students to a certain extent, making it ineffective at times. ELearning on the other hand is more flexible and students are not pressed for time. 

Traditional Learning vs E Learning – a World of Information

The traditional classroom learning system most definitely involves reading books and writing notes.

This practice of referring books, researching, and writing notes are exclusive to the classroom-type of setup. This helps in mastering examination answering patterns.

E-learning with online referral notes does not have the same impact as printed books and notes. Online learning involves vast research options that can often lead to more information than actually required.  

E-learning requires the presence of a smartphone or computer. This could be overwhelming for a student who is new to the concept and might take a while before one learns the tricks and knacks of the internet. 

Is There a Winner?

From the above discussion can we conclude that traditional learning is more advantageous than e learning or vice versa? 

Primarily what can be concluded is that traditional learning and e learning have their own benefits and pitfalls.

While traditional methods of learning are conducive to the overall development of mind and physical wellbeing, e learning may be gaining impetus in today’s world. At the same time, if we open our minds to new methods and new technology, e learning is here to stay.

Though traditional methods are favorable for the overall well being of an individual, we can not deny the importance of e learning today.

Is It Possible to Blend Both Traditional Learning Modules with E Learning Modules?

It is possible to amalgamate the two systems and take only the advantages of one and blend it with the advantages of the other.

For example, in the engineering industry, it is possible to teach the theory of engineering to students using eLearning methods and techniques.

However practical knowledge of construction and building has to be done physically through traditional classroom methods. This is where we can use blended learning methods. 

E-Learning and The Pandemic- an Instant Transition

Today, the Covid-19 situation has changed the way the world looks at education. The once traditional classroom set up has given way to virtual classrooms.

The situation is not of choice or opinion but necessity. The current circumstances have necessitated the need for e learning, eliminating the traditional learning methods.

Almost instantaneously, our modules had to adapt to the change in the situation. This did not allow for a slow, steady, and smooth transition from traditional learning to e-learning systems.

The new adoption of e-learning and the shift away from traditional learning methods have paved the way for acceptance amongst the community.

Ben Aston, Founder of The Digital Project Manager has quoted from experience Online learning provides a standardized training platform that impacts consistency. Not only does eLearning offer flexibility for your employees to suit their schedules, but it helps everyone save time. Your employees receive the info they need, with key resources accessible at any time on the device of their choosing. By having a single learning platform, you can focus on providing the highest-quality education that will convert to consistent, quality output.”


To conclude, we may say that the traditional style of education has stood the test of time.

It has adapted to situations and transformed generations, but at the same time, the power of the internet cannot be disregarded.

With the internet gaining momentum in our everyday lives, we may soon find e-Learning a system to reckon with.

Also Read Impact of The Coronavirus on Students

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