Technology is changing the way we learn. All the world’s information is at our fingertips. We can translate documents from one language to another with the click of a button. We can follow lessons taught by experts on the other side of the planet. We can instantly look up archived video lectures on any topic under the sun.

All of these things are already possible in 2019. What does the future bring? Will the role of technology be to support and enhance existing education methods? Or could it eventually replace traditional classroom teaching altogether?

Want to learn more about online learning? Check out our infographic below (click for a bigger version):

What do our readers think? We had a comment sent in from Inês, who thinks online learning is great… but she doesn’t believe it can ever replace traditional classroom teaching. Is she right to be sceptical?

To get a response, we spoke to Niklas Nienaß, a German Green Member of the European Parliament (MEP) and member of the Committee on Culture and Education. Does he agree with Inês?

To get another perspective, we put the same comment to Andrew Bruff, an English teacher who runs the educational YouTube channel MrBruff. What would he say?

We also put Inês’ comment to Joao Costa, co-founder of Kenhub, an online learning platform. How would he respond?

Next up, we had a comment from Gábor, who is worried about “pseudo-science” being taught online. When junk science videos purporting to explain what happens if you detonate a nuclear bomb in the Mariana trench (apparently it would “simply tear the planet apart”) are racking up 29 million views (twice as many as the rebuttals), surely this is a serious concern.

How would German Green MEP Niklas Nienaß respond? Does he think the quality of online learning is the same as traditional education provided by regulated institutions?

We also put Gábor’s comment to Shaun Donnelly, an educational YouTuber who runs the FreeScienceLessons channel. How would he react to Gábor’s concerns?

Finally, we spoke to Alexa Polidoro, a French teacher who runs the Learn French With Alexa channel on YouTube. Could she reassure Gábor?

Could online learning replace the traditional classroom? Should online educators be certified to ensure quality? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: (c) BigStock – Wavebreak Media Ltd
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27 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar

    It can complement, but not replace.

  2. avatar

    Wrong heat line I would say. Online learning must become an intigrated part of school. School however does not need traditional classrooms but project environments where children learn respect for each other and work as a team.

    • avatar

      But, the traditional classroom is a project environment!

  3. avatar

    Learning ought to be interactive so as to be effective and interesting. Face to face interaction is a way to break human barrier and communication of humanity. Communications with a computer can never be able to experience humanity personally.

  4. avatar

    It could yes but, how would you prevent the use of an online environment becoming more like brainwashing than actual learning?

  5. avatar

    Keep going like this. No human present, but a robot, although we are with 7,5 billion people on earth. What’s going on?

  6. avatar

    It is hard for me to learn online, i need a classic setting to be able to

  7. avatar

    Where is the social contact?

    • avatar


  8. avatar

    No thats called indoctrination. would the head master be little Lord Haw Haw.

  9. avatar

    would be a disaster .. If kids only learn online without contact with other kids it will cause social problems

  10. avatar

    40+ years ago my Physics teacher anticipated a time when learning would take place at home. As a teacher of 40years experience I have seen all manner of assistive technology brought in … However, I still maintain that there are things that an inspired teacher/inspired teaching can achieve that you dont get from online learning. I suspect as people become more disconnected they will need human contact and interaction more

  11. avatar

    We appear to be forgetting that the teacher was respected and considered to be the expert in the classroom. Online, virtual interaction is no substitute for the human interaction that makes teaching such a wonderful job.

  12. avatar

    It could help a lot, but in my opinion it shouldn’t replace the traditional form of education entirely for the reason that kids also need to develop real social abilities in order to function correctly as grown ups.

  13. avatar

    Exclusive online learning doesn’t allow children to develop their other interests that depend upon reality learning. Life is about loving and socializing and not being isolated.

  14. avatar

    No, it should be used to help the classical learning.

  15. avatar

    Meaning it can be. But it could lead to grown up persons not able to cope with others. A society of unsocial people. Very dangerous

  16. avatar

    More likely supplement rather than replace.

  17. avatar

    Let me therefore begin with a comment on two of their AGAINST (…/DE_online-learning_v2… ):
    /…/ * Lack of Social Interaction:
    online students are more likely isolated /…./
    I admit – its the main flaw in MOOC. However, it mustn’t be so. Interaction (discussion) between an instructor and students suffices to eliminate this flaw. Nonetheless, students should also be active – they should ask instructor and they should reply to instructor’s questions.
    /…/ * Every learner is different – watching videos and reading may not suit everybody /…/
    I couldn’t disagree with this opinion. I dislike watching videos and I love reading. 🙂

  18. avatar

    In my opinion yes, I do believe online learning will replace the traditional classroom because of the improvements in technology and technological advances our society is making.The convenience of having all our potential course information and lessons at our fingertips is another benefit that could cause online learning to replace traditional which could also create doorways to potentially learning from teachers in places like China from your home in Canada.

  19. avatar

    I am in favor of a blended approach to learning. This approach uses multiple methods to deliver learning, combining face-to-face interactions with online activities. Purely traditional face-to-face teaching is now gone…There are new tools for teaching and learning, but real-life human interaction is still very important.

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