Differences Between Online Vs Traditional Learning

male student typing on a laptop

Choosing between online school vs regular school as your children’s main mode of learning can be tough. There are a lot of factors to choose from such as your learning style, location, and current access to technology. Usually, what comes to mind when we think about online education for senior high students is the most obvious difference: learning through a computer versus in a classroom set-up. However, there are so much more differences that could affect the student’s success in senior high school.

With the rise in popularity of online learning, the biggest concern most people have is: is online learning as effective if not more effective than traditional learning? Does it give you the skills and knowledge you need to succeed in life?

It’s understandable for you to have these concerns but not to worry, because the short answer is: YES it is, and yes it does! Online learning is becoming exceedingly popular because of its convenience and because it gives students the same skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the professional world. On top of this, online learning offers far less distractions than traditional learning. Students don’t have to worry about learning in a competitive environment, dealing with peer pressure or bullying, or getting distracted by their friends. What makes online learning so conducive to learning is that students can create their ideal environment to achieve their best grades yet.

So, What are the Distinctions of Online Classes vs Traditional Classes?

To help you weigh the pros and cons of online and traditional learning, here are some of their key difference to help you make an informed decision:

Learning Styles

Participating in online school vs regular school is better suited for students with an innate independent learning style. Online students are expected to practice self-discipline and to be able to schedule their own classes and daily routines. While traditional learning gives students multiple teachers (and to a certain extent, even peers) who constantly remind them of their homework, quizzes, and exams that need to be accomplished, with online learning, you won’t have anyone doing that for you online. You’ll soon learn that if you slack off, you’ll quickly be left behind.

online studying set up

The Setting

This is the most obvious difference when it comes to online vs traditional education for senior high students. In a traditional senior high school, students are assigned a classroom and stay there for the remainder of the school year. They are expected to arrive at a specific time every morning and are dismissed usually by mid-afternoon. Classes are held in these classrooms and are conducted by teachers, each with an assigned subject of expertise. Some schools offer after-class activities such as sports clubs, theater, art clubs, debate clubs, etc.

Online classes happen anytime, anywhere! As long as you have a stable internet connection, you can start your classes whenever you please. Online classes don’t follow regular school hours, giving students more freedom to schedule their day as they please. Online classes are similar to traditional classes, however, in that they both have teachers who conduct online classes (via streaming) over subjects of his or her expertise.


Online senior high school generally comes out to be much cheaper than traditional senior high school. This is because you won’t have to pay for expenses such as clinic fees, laboratory fees, miscellaneous fees, and other overhead charges. You also won’t need to pay for books, uniforms, baon, and commuting fare or gas going to school!


In a traditional school setting, the pace is pre-determined usually by the teacher or the school months in advance through a lesson plan. What’s difficult about this is that assumes that all students learn at the same pace. Online learning provides students with much more flexibility in this regard. Online senior high school lets students go through the material on their own time, at whatever time of the day they choose, and they can also decide how quickly or slowly they go through it. This allows them to absorb difficult topics more thoroughly and to breeze through course materials they find easy. Because of this, there really isn’t a set number of days as to how long a school year will last in an online senior high school. While we do have140-days in one semester, how quickly you go through the material in one semester is entirely up to you.

Parental Involvement

When debating between online school vs regular school, parents have a direct impact on the education their students receive. It is especially critical in an online learning environment.

Traditional school organizations and practices, especially in high schools, often discourage parents from becoming involved. For instance, many parents are unlikely to attend school events or volunteer at their child’s school. This is because it usually happens on weekdays during office hours when working parents are unable to leave their offices. There’s also the obvious physical distance as parents cannot actually see how their children perform during their daily lives at school.

As online learning happens at home, it adds engagement from the parents. Parents basically control their child’s learning environment, building a physical space intended for studying and encouraging them in the absence of daily face-to-face interactions. The role of a parent then becomes more crucial in an online learning environment. While an instructor or a teacher serve as guiding forces in a particular subject matter, parents know when to lean in and out of their student’s experience.


One of the most crucial aspects of life is socialization. As it’s a lifelong process, every interaction people have from childhood to adulthood shapes their personality and how they respond and adapt to societal situations.

Of course, socialization is brought up in discussions regarding online vs traditional education for senior high students. Kids spend most of their lives in school, which means specific types of socialization, such as developmental and secondary, are learned and strengthened as they progress on their academic journey. How else will kids develop social skills such as good communication or discover the type of career they want without joining socio-interest organizations?

This is why many people are skeptical of online high school because they think students miss out on the socialization component of traditional high school. The myth could not be farther from the truth as many online high schools host live lessons where teachers and students connect using a video conferencing app. Virtual study groups also exist, giving students the time and opportunity to create bonds and strengthen friendships.

Being an online learner doesn’t mean students give up on the social aspects of their life. In fact, it actually gives them more time to meet up with friends and bond with family members as they can access their online courses anytime and anywhere convenient to them.


Of course, students in online high schools need their laptops, tablets, or smartphones to access course materials whereas traditional students only need their books, notebooks, and pen. However, many students in the traditional setup still need a device to access the Internet for their assignments and to communicate with classmates for group projects. Therefore, both online and traditional high school students require at least one device and a stable Internet connection to be able to do their schoolwork efficiently.

Online learning also has an edge as students can access course materials whenever it’s best for them. They can do a deep dive into their lessons to get a better understanding, giving them full control. In a traditional school setup, students will have to go to the library for additional resources. If they have trouble with a particular lesson, they aren’t really given the time to pore over it until they fully understand the material. They have to go with the flow of the class and the pace of their teacher.

girl studying responsibly


Online learning requires a certain degree of self-discipline not seen in traditional learning. If students want to succeed in their studies, they’ll need to take the time to not only schedule their classes but to do the required course work as well without having their teachers and even peers constantly doting on them. It’s easy to slack off or to put off your lessons for another day, but doing so has dire consequences, as students will quickly realize. Missed lessons will quickly add up, making it difficult to catch up. While there isn’t a fixed calendar when it comes to lessons, there is one when it comes to quizzes and exams, making catching up not only difficult but extremely risky especially when quizzes or midterms are right around the corner. Students will quickly learn that creating a schedule and sticking to it is the best way to go about online learning.


On the topic of online classes vs traditional classes, a lot of students are faced with the dilemma of sacrificing their schooling for a job. Most students of online learning have other commitments, such as an online job, part-time job, or helping out with the family business, which makes traditional schooling difficult. With online learning, students have the flexibility to juggle having a career and school because they aren’t restricted to the typical 7 am – 3 pm schedule most schools have. They can easily fit in their lessons whenever they are available: this could be early in the morning, late at night, or any time in between.

social distancing icon

Health Safety

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, safety is the primary concern for many parents. Schools are, sadly, a breeding ground for germs because of the proximity of the students to each other. Social distancing is very difficult to follow and if the classroom is air-conditioned, the virus is suspended in the air, making it easier to be transmitted from one person to another. With online learning, parents don’t have to worry about their children catching COVID-19, and as a result, the rest of the family catching it as well. Students don’t need to sacrifice their studies just to stay safe as well. They can continue their studies from the safety of their own homes.

Online Education (OEd) is the first in the country to offer a full senior high school program. Make the switch today and enroll with OEd Senior High School now!