E-learning vs Traditional Learning – Which is Better?

e-learning vs traditional learning

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Acquisition of knowledge has seen many stages of evolution: from receiving sikhsha(formal education) under the temples and gurukul education systems in the ancient times to the present day school and college systems. Which itself is now being called obsolete in light of e-learning on the internet. 

Now, in the era of digital space, the question arises “E-learning vs Traditional Learning: Which is Better?”. Well now, practically everything is going online, even human life is live on social media, and businesses are running online with e-stores. Education also takes place online through Google classroom, Zoom, and Microsoft meetings nowadays.

Some might even argue about the importance of traditional classroom learning, where learning also by-produces social networking with fellow peers and sustains discipline-based teaching.  

The question arises “E-learning vs Traditional Learning: Which is Better?”

As someone who has been part of the transition from the classroom to zoom room journey, I have seen the pros and cons of both rooms.

Let’s explore what e-learning and traditional learning are. 

Key Takeaways

  • Web-based learning includes both Learning through online content/ social media and Learning live with an instructor  
  • E-learning is not restricted to education
  • Traditional learning is more practical 
  • Pandemic made e-learning in education more mainstream 
  • Pros and cons of E-Learning
  • Pros and cons of Traditional Learning

What is Online Learning (E-learning)?

The covid pandemic took the world by storm, including the traditional learning and teaching style.  That’s when virtual learning came to light.

As the name suggests, e-learning is learning through electronic and digital supplies that take place over the internet. 

Web-based learning includes both:

  • Learning through online content/ social media 
  • Live learning with an instructor

In fact, e-learning is not restricted to education. Many other industries use e-learning like- health, technology, retail, and e-commerce. 

E-learning includes prerecorded videos, online classes, online training courses, exams, online live sessions, or any learning or transfer of knowledge that takes place online through electronics and the internet. 

Many people find it an unusual and unstructured way of learning and question its authenticity or integrity in the long run.

What is Traditional Learning?

Traditional learning is referred to as classroom teaching or the face-to-face training model. 

Traditionally, in India, teaching was in gurukuls and ashrams. That transition into today’s conventional education system, which basically refers to education through textbooks. Guided, explained and facilitated by teachers.

Many feel traditional education is a set system and more of a safe route to a career through degrees. Especially for parents, it is important for their kids to finish a prestigious degree and get a secure job. 

Because it is a conventional way of education, it is associated with a safer and secure way to move forward in life and career.

There is still a lot of nervousness about the credibility of online education.

E-learning vs Traditional Learning

Here are some key difference between E-learning & Traditional Learning:

E-learning Traditional learning
Comprehensive Limited scope 
Free and unstructured learning More structured and systematic 
Self-paced/ flexible learning  Disciplined learning 
Budget-friendly Costly 
Self-learning Group learning 
Unlimited students can learn at a time Limited students can learn in one session 

Advantages of Online Learning 

  • Saves a lot of time
  • Lessens the burden of commuting
  • Makes students tech-savvy because of their high reliance on technology
  • Fun and a different learning experience online 
  • More Environment-friendly: less paper is used and cutting fewer trees 

Disadvantages of Online Learning 

  • No interpersonal relationships with other peers or teachers 
  • Communication gap between teacher and student 
  • Require self-discipline and time management skills  
  • Technology can be a double-edged sword: if someone is not accustomed to technology, then it can be challenging or difficult 

Advantages of Traditional Learning 

  • Interaction with peers and instructor on a one-on-one basis
  • Education in the physical presence of an instructor 
  • Learning and interaction in real-time with the teacher  
  • Fewer chances of miscommunication
  • Grow networks and collaborate with peers 
  • Practical knowledge and experience 

Disadvantages of Traditional Learning 

  • Rote learning in the classroom
  • No invention or progression in teaching style 
  • Loss of learning material/ no revision 
  • Only a limited number of students can learn in a class. Slower or ineffective up-gradation of study material


Depending upon your need of the hour and availability, it can be subjective and difficult to say which is better for you, still, online learning definitely provides better assistance in learning methods.

But If you are looking for a practical style of learning, then traditional learning is the one for you. 

We would all be okay hiring a lawyer who did all of his education online. But no one would be comfortable sitting with a driver who has only taken online classes and has no practical training.

Both online learning and classroom learning have parts to play in education, and both have their own pros and cons, as we discussed above. 

But as we have moved forward with time, virtual learning has definitely changed the face and future of education.

“So far, technology has hardly changed formal education at all. But a lot of people, including me, think this is the next place where the Internet will surprise people in how it can improve things—especially in combination with face-to-face learning.” — Bill Gates.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

Is online learning effective?

In a word, yes! The e-learning method is effective because it provides flexibility in learning, unlimited access, and high retention of information.  This is the biggest advantage students get. 

Which is better: E-Learning or traditional learning?

Both styles of learning have their own advantages and disadvantages. Depending on your needs and requirements, your preferences may differ. But online learning definitely has the edge over traditional learning in terms of assistance, aid, and online help.

When should I choose online learning over traditional learning?

When time is a big constraint for you. Distance learning saves a lot of time and money for you. And manage time better.  

Why online learning is better than traditional learning?

Online education is more student-oriented, and traditional teaching is more instructor-based education style. In the traditional teaching style, the flow of information is at the teacher’s pace and availability and is limited to one person, but online learning opens doorways to self-learning, which takes place at the speed and will of the learner.

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