Let’s talk about it: Do students prefer learning online or in person?


Valerie Chavez (created with Canva)

Instagram poll of 160 students shows the preference for in-person classes.

It’s very common knowledge that students have the option to take college classes in person or online. Once everything switched to online in 2020, it really strained some students’ ability to take in information and do well in their classes. However, it also opened up lots of doors for Middle College students who had never taken college courses online before. In addition, regular college students had to adjust to the change as well. While some students were struggling, others thrived and did better than before. Since school resumed normally, lots of people still like to take online classes, while others couldn’t wait to go back in person. There are disadvantages and advantages to both, so students can do whatever works best for them. 

According to the University of Texas at San Antonio, there are numerous advantages to attending school in person. There’s barely any room for distraction, and many students just prefer to learn hands-on. 

The site states that “For some students, taking online classes might be way too flexible. This type of student needs a more strict schedule to follow. For that reason, online classes might make room for too many distractions that keep them from staying focused on their class. In-person classes may be the most convenient option for those students since classrooms create an environment that allows them to focus on the coursework.”

Sophomore Michelle Perez stated that she didn’t enjoy online classes, because it didn’t let her have a very strict work ethic. 

She said, “I didn’t like online classes as it was an excuse to procrastinate, and you would forget that after classes you had homework due the same day. It was very easy to get distracted during those classes.”

Sophomore Victoria Higareda prefers in-person classes because they allow you to be more involved in whatever you’re learning.

“I believe that in person is more effective because I believe having a teacher there helps me remain more engaged, and I also believe that the teachers themselves are more engaged in the topic being taught,” she said. 

Santa Ana College student Ulysses Romero is aware that his concentration is more in control when he learns in person.

“I like school better in person. It helps me keep concentrated and it’s much more helpful to have the teacher there in person,” said Romero.

National University in San Diego cites the advantages of learning online, such as the flexibility, and the advantage of learning at your own pace. 

“Online courses allow students to learn at their own pace on their own schedule, which is an approach to studying known as asynchronous learning. This format empowers students to take notes, review lectures, and go over other course materials in a way that works best for them,” said the site. 

Riverside City College student Bettie Gonzalez enjoys learning online because she can learn at her own pace. 

She said, “I like that I can pause lecture videos because I get very distracted easily, and I won’t miss anything if I can just pause.”

Senior Lizzette Rodriguez finds it easier learning online because it helps her keep focus on her other responsibilities outside of school.

She said, “For me, online is easier since I have a lot of family responsibility and other things on my plate that make meeting in person harder for me.” 

Another SAC student Rosie Crowe said the pandemic definitely influenced her style of learning. 

“I remember liking it a lot because I didn’t have to do my morning routine. I got more sleep and my grades were better. Online classes are better for me because I have become so accustomed to the online learning style. It’s hard to go from in-person classes, to online ones for a couple of years, and then back to in person. There’s obviously going to be some difficulty adjusting,” said Crowe.

Personally, I prefer in-person classes because they help me stay focused and disciplined. I don’t have any room for distractions and I’m held more accountable for my work ethic. Online classes are too flexible for me. They leave too many opportunities for me to mess up and neglect my assignments, and that’s not good for my grade. 

After conducting an Instagram poll, it appears that the majority of people prefer in-person classes rather than online classes. That of course does not mean that one is more effective than the other. Now that everyone’s experienced both ways to learn, students have more control over their education and learn more effectively.