E-Learning Versus Physical Learning

E-Learning Versus Physical Learning

Learning involves numerous processes like gaining knowledge, new skills, values, and preferences. Learning is important as it enhances growth, both professionally and personally. The two main modes of learning are e-learning and physical learning, and they share some similar qualities; for example, attending classes and following curriculums. Likewise, they both require the exchange of feedback between teachers and students. While learning has existed over the years, online learning gained popularity in the mid-1800s. The advance of technology has enhanced internet accessibility, hence the ability to learn online. Although e-learning and physical learning have a common goal of passing knowledge, the teaching method gives them different characteristics.

E-learning requires computers and the use of the internet, using audio, videos, virtual classrooms, and scheduled exams. According to Basar et al. (2021), online learning involves not only direct learning but also assignments or activities provided online. E-learning is more flexible than physical learning, which involves blackboard teaching and face-to-face interaction, whereby one has to attend classes. However, even though e-learning is superior to the traditional method, it has some drawbacks, like a lack of communication skills (Paul and Jefferson 2019). Physical learning offers unlimited student feedback, boosts communication skills, and reduces cheating during assessments. E-learning is more flexible but non-interactive, whereas physical learning involves student engagement, which boosts discipline and skills development.


Online learning is superior to physical learning as it allows full-time access to studying materials, reduces transport inconveniences, and minimizes total learning costs. On the contrary, some areas rely on physical learning as they lack internet access. Zalat et al. (2021) claim that while e-learning is valuable in the progressive teaching and learning process, most students may be uncomfortable due to technological challenges and inadequate internet connectivity. While e-learning has become more popular, the traditional learning method remains predominant even in the most developed countries (Darkwa et al. 2021). Physical learning encourages teacher and student engagement, enhancing social values and interactive skills. Hence, while e-learning offers adequate studying materials, physical learning is more beneficial to learners because it allows active learning.

E-learning and physical learning have similar characteristics of offering new knowledge and skills, yet their differences portray both advantages and disadvantages. While online learning is more flexible, some knowledge can only be acquired through traditional learning. Through physical learning, the student’s engagement boosts their interaction and communication skills. Also, though e-learning provides abundant access to study materials, most students are still disadvantaged because of the lack of internet access. In contrast to e-learning popularity, most institutions still use physical learning. Consequently, physical learning offers active interaction, developing one’s skills and values. Hence, it is advisable to use blended learning, which involves e-learning and physical learning; blended learning promotes learner engagement, interaction, and collaborative learning.









Basar, Z. M., Mansor, A. N., Jamaludin, K.A., & Alias, B. S. (2021). The effectiveness and challenges of online learning for secondary school students – a case study. Asian Journal of University Education, 17(3),

Darkwa, B. F., & Antwi, S. (2021). From the classroom to online: Comparing the effectiveness and student academic performance of classroom learning and online learning. Open Access Library Journal8(7), 1-22.

Paul, J. & Jefferson, F. (2019). A Comparative Analysis of Student Performance in an Online vs. Face-to-Face Environmental Science Course From 2009 to 2016. Frontiers in Computer Science, 1.

Zalat, M. M., Hamed, M. S., & Bolbol, S. A. (2021). The experiences, challenges, and acceptance of e-learning as a tool for teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic among university medical staff. PLOS ONE, 16(3).

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