Online learning vs In-person Learning
Online learning vs in-person learning effectiveness
The covid-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented disruption in our daily lives. Within a short time, governments, corporations, and individuals had to make drastic changes to curb the spread of the pandemic. The drastic measures included social distancing wearing face coverings, a restricted movement that included lockdowns, and regular sanitation of hands. Restricted movement and lockdowns resulted in working from home and e-learning. With the suspension of face-to-face learning, academic experts had to reimagine learning. Student-centered learning strategies and digitization are required to guarantee that students continue to receive quality education and achieve the desired learning outcomes in public and private institutions. The student’s response system had to be set up to improve learning outcomes.
However, the implementation process of the e-learning platforms came with a fair share of challenges. Some students and educators had no prior experience with e-learning. Furthermore, skills of information technology for some participants were at the primary level and had difficulties transitioning to this new learning system. Other participants complained of lacking a good learning environment at home.
The University of California offers competitive studies in diverse disciplines, including the bachelor’s level, master’s, and doctorate levels. The institution is renowned for its vast research system, supporting academic needs for many students and researchers worldwide. During the winter of 2020, in-person learning methods prevailed. Following the lockdown, most institutions paid more attention to e-learning to prevent dropouts from study programs in higher education. Digital alternatives to schedule on-campus academic programs were made available thanks to an outstanding effort by university personnel. Lectures were offered through livestream videos through Zoom and Microsoft Teams to facilitate learning. Educational content was uploaded to the Learning Management System (LMS) Canvas, while social media, such as Twitter and Slack, were the main information channels immediately after lockdown.
The main focus of this study is to assess whether online learning is as effective as in-person learning in transferring knowledge. Despite the significant investment in online education, there is still little research on the effectiveness of this learning system in transferring knowledge to students. Moreover, the shift to online learning was involuntary, but after the suspension of in-person learning, requiring more investigations.
Design and sampling
Participants in the study were selected through a random process. Random selection reduces the chance of biasness as all participants have equal chances of getting selected. Participants received invites through the LMS, Facebook, and Teams. The eligibility criteria that participants needed to meet were bona fade members of the University of California and have had class through winter to the onset of the pandemic.
The survey was administered online through google forms. A 5-point Likert scale was used to collect opinions and perceptions. The Likert scale is a universal scale for measuring attitudes and views (“5-Point Likert Scale: The Key to Easily Understanding Your Audience”, 2020). The questionnaire was self-administered as it was available through a web link that required a phone, tablet, or laptop to fill. The question was mainly based on experience in large-scale multi-discipline learning. In addition, questions were formulated based on observation during the initial stages of online learning. As a result, the questions asked are relevant in meeting the study’s objectives.
Sixteen participants took part in the study, 8 of them were males, and females were equal to males. Twenty-five percent of the participants were in their first year of masters, 6 percent were in the second year of their bachelor’s, 25 percent were on their second year in masters, while 43 percent were made up of bachelor’ students in their third year of study. Fifty-six percent of the participants had no prior interactions with online learning systems, while 44 percent had participated before in online studies. Twenty-five percent of the participants rated their skills in information technology as high, while 38 percent rated their skills as low and moderate. While comparing their experience with in-person learning, 25 percent found the experience to be the same, while 75 percent found it more challenging.
Responses in categories 0 or 1 were classified as ‘very ineffective,’ those in categories 2 or 3 as ‘somewhat effective,’ and answers in categories 4 or 5 as ‘very effective.’ The data were analyzed using IBM SPSS. Data started with stating the null and the alternative hypothesis. Null hypothesis: “e-learning is as perceived to be as effective as in-person learning in the transfer of knowledge,”; alternative hypothesis: “e-learning is not as effective as in-person learning in the transfer or knowledge.” Chi-square test was used to test the relationship between the two variables.
Findings revealed no statistical significance to reject
Online learning vs In-person Learning