Legacy Classroom Learning Vs Virtual Classroom Learning

Online learning or online classroom learning – is a predominant term in modern times. We have all heard about it, some have speculated about it, but ultimately most have adopted it to their near and dear ones. But every famous term usually has a lineage. So how did online learning come about?

Did you know that the concept of distance learning (now turned online due to the application of technology) was made famous by an educator – Sir Isaac Pitman. In 1840, a shorthand course was introduced by Sir Isaac for the first time. 

This was done by mailing texts transcribed into shorthand on postcards. The responses were received as transcriptions from his students in return for correction. Soon, major universities started offering courses by mail-order similar to the above     

Today, the medium and pedagogy of delivering distance education have merely changed. But from the above, we can deduce one statement. The need to distribute education by traversing physical borders and distances was ever necessary. 

Evolution Of Learning – How Digitization Became Inevitable

A year before the pandemic forced education into online modes, Forbes published a report. It was based on studies that showed the value of online education and degrees was increasing among American consumers. 

The option of greater flexibility (for students) of courses in online education is seen by many universities as a great step forward. This was concluded in another report by Time

India, despite the digital divide, transitioned well to the online mode, said an Oxford University Press study

This eliminates the myth that it was the pandemic that led to the rise of online education in India.

Some Key Facts

  • 76% percent of education leaders believe that online education is equivalent to or higher than that of traditional education

This is because they believe online learning is a crucial element of long-term educational strategies. 

  • E-learning is easily accessible

Online learning is easily acceptable for many students, especially those working full time, those who have family obligations, those who live far from campuses, and those who live abroad. It is easy for them to attend classes as they don’t have to attend in classrooms.

  • About 1 in 4 students claim they learn better through online classes

One in every four students claims they learn better through online classes. Three out of four students still feel they perform better in a traditional classroom setting. 

  • Research shows that students in online learning perform better than on-campus students. 

This is because online students go at their own pace and time,e, unlike the usual classroom settings where students work according to the school schedule. 

  • In the US, approximately fifty-two percent (52%) of students prefer the online learning experience to their local classroom learning. 

A survey carried out in 2020 showed that fifty-two percent of students in the US found online education to provide a better learning experience than their college-level classroom. 

What Are The Major Factors For Shifting To Online Classroom Learning?

  1. Availability of Lecture Material:

The first major limitation of the traditional class is the possibility of accessing the session after the lectures. Students must attend the sessions to learn, hence restricting knowledge transfer. However, online learning breaks this barrier letting them access content anytime, anywhere.

  1. Customized Assessments For Each Student:

About 92% of students worldwide are interested in personalized support and information on evaluation progress. Classroom learning enables personalization. However, it is only limited to the learners physically present at the session.

Online learning enables professors to assess the course completion status of each learner individually, enabling them to focus on every learner’s scope of improvement.

  1. Standardized Quality of Teaching:

Classroom learning has high human involvement, subject matter expertise of the professor, and their ability to teach influences the quality of sessions delivered, which can never be standardized.

Online learning can, to an extent, address the issue by enabling the professors to create modules at their own pace and distribute them digitally. Furthermore, through features like the Whiteboard option. learning can be made to be engaging and immersive.

  1. Doubt Solving through Interactions:

Interactivity in classroom learning is limited to only one-to-one interactions between the professor and learners during the sessions. 

Online learning offers interactivity through features like chat forums or highlighting tools that notify the professor to clarify doubts a learner may have. Students can even chat amidst themselves to socialize as well.

  1. Scalability of Learning:

Online learning allows unlimited scalability when it comes to delivering content to several learners. This is because it does not have any kind of physical interaction involved and can support a vast number of students.

Classroom learning is restricted to the number of learners who physically attend the sessions. It does not offer the freedom of distributing subject content outside the sessions. Also, the number of seats in a classroom is usually limited to the physical space.

  1. Performance Analytics :

Tracking the content consumption of every individual learner through analytics may not be possible in classroom learning.

Whereas technology-enabled learning enables the mentors or professors to track content consumption by the students and to take action out of the insights derived.


The objective of online classroom learning is in no way to eliminate the legacy learning pedagogies. On the contrary, it is meant to act as an auxiliary beneficiary and democratize education beyond borders and cultures. With technology in the mix, let us not forget that the limitations of physical classroom learning can also be improved by applying the virtual classroom method. This is what we, at Teachstack are trying to achieve over the following years.


  1. https://adamasuniversity.ac.in/digital-learning-vs-old-traditional-learning-a-perspective/
  2. https://kitaboo.com/10-reasons-why-online-learning-is-better-than-classroom-teaching/
  3. https://thewire.in/education/how-different-is-digitised-learning-really
  4. https://admissionsly.com/online-education-statistics/
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