Essay on Pros and Cons of E-Learning

Published: 2021/11/18
Number of words: 1487


Education is an important asset to the eradication of poverty and the achievement of better standards of living. In the recent past, most governments have considered education a fundamental pre-requisite for social and economic development. Due to digital advancements in almost every sector, education has been made available online remotely. The discussion as to whether it is beneficial to the society has emanated, and the study needs to compare and contrast the pros and cons associated with e-learning and on-campus learning (Bornstein, 2012). For many years now, anybody who has an interest in learning had to visit an institution physically for enrollment and attending lessons. The use of the internet globally has increased rampantly for decades, making it possible for e-learning to work. Today, anyone who wishes to learn without physically attending lessons at the campus can have access to education. The introduction of e-learning as an alternative to on-campus education is transforming the face of the sector. Many learning institutions in the world have embraced the advancement, and have put in place the right infrastructure to support e-learning. The paper aims to compare and contrast e-learning versus on-campus education in the 21st century, reviewing their merits and demerits, and importantly, what is expected in the future of the two (Chai & Kong, 2017).

Online Learning

E-learning has been made possible by the high spread of internet use globally. The first merit that is associated with e-learning is the flexibility of online programs. People with jobs and other family responsibilities can be able to create time to attend to lessons online and take exams. Research indicates that most of those who have enrolled for online degrees are people with families, jobs, and other responsibilities to handle. Second, online education is relatively affordable as compared to on-campus learning. There are no expenses that are attached to commuting, food, shelter, and clothing. For instance, when one enrolls for on-campus education, they incur traveling expenses, food expenses, and other related expenses, making e-learning way much affordable (Garrison, 2016).

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Third, e-learning has no judgment as it does not feature the age, ability, or needs of any student enrolling. This fact makes it suitable for those with special needs and capabilities. Fourth, e-leaning allows students to access a wide range of materials, which makes it easier for one to conduct their research. Notably, online education uses the internet to provide the necessary materials to students. With the internet, one can be able to access any resource available remotely. On-campus education is limited to resources that one can be able to access physically within a given period (Garrison, 2016). Lastly, individuals with impairments such as vision, hearing, and others can conveniently learn through online programs. As such, e-learning is perceived to be an essential introduction to the education sector (Chai & Kong, 2017).

On the other hand, e-learning has associated demerits that make it inconvenient for others. First, it requires the learner to have different levels of computer knowledge depending on the course one enrolls. This might be difficult for some who do not have the necessary skills, making it less convenient for them. Second, there is no personal contact with classmates, making learners lack a sense of belonging. This makes it seem more of one-way education as one does not engage with the rest of the class (Edmundson, 2012). Third, a person with credentials acquired through e-learning has fewer chances of being hired than one who attends classes on campus. Fourth, e-learning requires self-discipline of the highest order since there are many distractions, especially when one is studying from home. Equally, one has to develop the ability to multitask, work in isolation from others, and be stress-tolerant. Lastly, e-learning provides fewer options for degrees that students can be able to choose online. For instance, if one is interested in learning a science-related course that requires them to visit the lab, e-learning cannot offer such programs online, making it less effective.

Time is an essential value in the world, and accessing of classrooms and other services online saves time a lot. In the 21st century, many are finding it easy to adopt the digital way of learning due to its convenience. With more advancement in technology, the future of e-learning is changing and becoming more popular. Institutions are also working hard to ensure that all those courses, which can be offered online, are rolled out for those interested (Edmundson, 2012). Studies indicate that many have embarked on using digital means to study as they can access more resources online. With time, there is a likelihood that those taking degrees available online need not to physically attend lessons or visit the campus premises totally. Through e-learning, institutions can integrate learning systems online that allows them to share crucial information on various matters that relate to education.

On-Campus Learning

On-campus education has faced reputable competition from the emerging e-learning programs. It is essential to examine what advantages and disadvantages that are associated with on-campus learning in the 21st century. First, on-campus learning enables students to bond with others and develop a sense of belonging with others. Moreover, with online campus, one can share and form a networking bond with the rest through group discussions and other programs that are only possible at campus premises. Second, on-campus learning allows a student to choose a variety of available degrees, unlike e-learning, that has specific courses that one should choose from. Technical courses that require one’s presence cannot be offered through e-learning. Third, students who enroll for on-campus education can access a variety of learning styles, including lectures, discussion groups, and study groups, audio, and visual methods, among others. Lastly, access to college amenities is a boost for those who enroll in on-campus training. Students can access laboratories, computers, libraries, the gym, and student’s social events, among others.

On-campus learning has disadvantages that make it less convenient over e-learning programs. Attending classes at the campus is often associated with rigid structures, which are mandatory, time-consuming, and obliging. Second, it attracts additional expenses of commuting, food, books, dormitories, and higher tuition fee due to administration overhead costs. High costs associated might prove unaffordable to some hence the need for them to enroll for e-learning. Third, the campus environment might not be suitable for individuals with special needs and those who are socially inept. Also, people with obligations and other responsibilities might find it hard enrolling in on-campus education. Lastly, on-campus education requires one to physically look for employment after graduation, which has proved challenging for many.

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On-campus education has experienced tremendous changes over the last few decades. However, with the increased use of the internet and the emergence of e-learning, most institutions are finding it easy to adopt new developments, which have reduced the popularity of on-campus education. Currently, there is a close competition between e-learning and on-campus learning. Those students with obligations, jobs, and family responsibilities are enrolling for e-learning, while those who are less engaged tend to register for on-campus education (Bornstein, 2012). The choice of approach one uses depends on some factors, including financial implications associated, obligations that one has, and the availability of programs that they need online, among others. For instance, the fact that some courses cannot be studied online due to their technicality makes on-campus education remain relevant in the 21st century. There is a need for institutions to improve services in a bid to lure many to enroll for on-campus learning.


To sum it up, online learning seems to be the real deal in the 21st century as many people and institutions are shifting interest. An institution without the infrastructure to support e-learning might not have much to show off in the education sector. Notably, thirty years ago, education had a different face than what it seems now. This is due to changes that have been experienced in the IT sector, which have made it possible for institutions to come up with e-learning programs for students. Instant innovation in the education sector has also contributed to dynamic changes in the education sector, necessitating adjustment from institutions. Information sharing for learning purposes is on the rise as made possible by internet use. Many are considering education as a significant incentive towards poverty reduction and development within the society.


Bornstein, D. (2012). Open education for a global economy. The New York Times.

Chai, C. S., & Kong, S. C. (2017). Professional learning for 21st century education. Journal of Computers in Education4(1), 1-4.

Edmundson, M. (2012). The trouble with online education. The New York Times19.

Garrison, D. R. (2016). E-learning in the 21st century: A community of inquiry framework for research and practice. Routledge.

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