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·        Schedule is fixed and predecided. Students and teachers have little say in this decision.

·        Schedule can be flexible according to the needs of both teacher and students

·        Class duration is fixed and usually not extendable as the next class waits to use the classroom.

·        Class duration is easil extendable, instructor and student time permitting

·        While extra classes can be scheduled, they’re often impractical and usually result in low attendance.


·        Schedule extra classes at your convenient  time and study from the luxury of home.

Learner groups

·        Students can be a homogenous group  sharing overlapping social circles and customs.

·        Students can be a heterogeneous group  even global  with a variety of non intersecting and perhaps conflicting  social circles and customs.

·        Students typically fall within a similar age, profession or academic background.

·        Student composition may vary greatly in age, profession and academic background.


Teaching methodology

·        Classes are typically teacher  driven and teacher-centric.

·        Classes can be technology-driven and learner centric, with the teacher as a facilitator. Teachers have better teaching tools to effectively engage learners. Virtual classrooms allow students more freedom to create, experiment, explore and steer the class.

·        Traditional teaching tools are used, such as lecture notes, charts, blackboard writing, showing physical models, laboratory experiments, etc

·        Modern teaching tools are used, such as multimedia, animation, 3D modeling, virtual, etc.

·        Learning environment can be dull and fun in class is kept to a minimum to avoid disciplinary issues.

·        Learning environment can be stimulating and fun. Moderation tools allow the teacher to easily control the class, just in case things get out of hand!


Collaboration in learning

·        Teacher and students collaborate in the physical classroom.

·        Teachers and students collaborate online via audio, video, and text chat.

·        It’s hard to address the needs of different levels of learners in a single class.  If there aren’t additional resources available for groups such as slower or gifted students, they often have to make do with a one-size  fits all average class.

·        It’s easier to work with different learner types. Divide a single virtual classroom into breakout sessions, and let students of different levels work at their own pace, while the teacher moderates and facilitates.

·        Usually one teacher per class. Difficult to bring in guest speakers due to physical and travel constraints.

·        Easier to involve multiple teachers, and to bring in guest speakers from anywhere in the world.

·        Mostly single subject learning due to space and scheduling constraints.

·        Inter-disciplinary and off beat subjects easy to teach and learn, thanks to lack of space and fewer scheduling constraints.



·        Evaluation involves taking tests, and handing in manually graded assignments. Time consuming and  results are slow.

·        Classes are recorded, including audio, video and even screen. Students can review the instructor’s exact explanation and methods, and administrators can review both the instructor’s and students’ performance.

Common distractions

·        Common distractions include breaks, student interruptions, and administrative details.


·        Common distractions include internet problems, and students indulging in other online activities.


·        Setting up classroom infrastructure is expensive.

·        A computer, a basic Internet connection, a headphone, and a web camera (optional) are less expensive.

·        Buses, cars, and other travel methods have to be engaged to get students to and from school.

·        No travel costs. Teach and learn from anywhere.

·        Difficult for professionals to attend courses for professional development, due to work and other commitments making it impossible to find something that fits their schedule and location.

·        Professionals can take classes from home, anytime (even late nights or early mornings). Technology Based Training (TBT) yields a time savings of 35-45% over traditional classroom instruction.

·        Classrooms need water, electricity, etc.

·        Virtual Classroom is green teaching, saves paper, and any other such costs.

·        Overhead results in high fees for a course in a physical school.

·        Classes conducted in virtual classrooms are comparatively cheaper, as much as 80%.

To conclude I would say that each methodology has its pros and cons. Delivering the best programs to our students might entail a smart combination of both traditional and online instruction.