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How Do Online Schools Compare To Brick and Mortar Schools?

Today, learning takes place in various modalities. Students can choose from face-to-face classes, asynchronous methods, hybrid or a mixture of face-to-face and online classes, or 100% online or virtual classrooms.

high school - online vs traditional

Through these learning settings, students and teachers get to share physical classroom interactions or purely online interactions. Virtual learning instills independence in distance learners, allowing them to utilize resources that are within their reach. By visiting virtual libraries and accessing resources available online, students become more adept in research. Studies have shown, however, that context significantly influences student’s learning process. Online virtual education takes out young learners’ opportunities to engage with their peers in a safe, controlled environment like the classroom. 

Online schools and the traditional brick-and-mortar schools share the same goal: to provide quality education and produce lifelong competent, productive learners. With more advanced technology, virtual learning has become a household choice for education. Most importantly, with major threats in health and security, parents are leaning towards online education.

Admittedly, one has some advantages over the other, depending on how you look at it. We will weigh in on this, so you have a background on how online schools and the traditional brick-and-mortar schools differ from one another.

Let us start with the biggest, arguably, the most obvious difference between the two: 


Online schooling happens in the comfort of your homes. Say goodbye to missing the bus! Teachers and students can interact just the same even if they are miles away. This instantly fixes the geographical issues that affect many students and teachers. Not to mention, if a student is mildly sick, they could still attend the class and never miss a class. 

In an online class, you can use different apps and programs for taking exams, finish projects, and collaborate with your classmates. With that said, it requires a steady internet connection and a computer setup that could handle the demand of a virtual classroom. Of course, students need to have at least the basic knowledge of how to navigate various online tools. High school kids are expected to be a tech-savvy, but regularly attending online classes can still be demanding and exhausting

On the other hand, brick and mortar schools require everyone, teachers, and students to be physically present. They would also need suitable space for teaching such as classrooms, laboratories, and gyms. Schools also need to maintain reliable personnel to ensure that the premises are safe and conducive for learning. The cost of running a school and hiring competent staff and seeking top-notch educators is a monetary burden shared by the students and the parents.

Which leads us to our next point:


Online schools are expected to be cheaper than your brick-and-mortar schools. Yes, there are still online schools out there that could compete with traditional schools price-wise. But going online means no more utility bills for the buildings. There is no need for janitors or other support staff, so students will no longer shoulder these fees. You will not be required to buy books or unnecessary school supplies. And did we already mention that you can finish all your schoolwork at home without having to commute again? 

But then again, aside from the online school fees, you have to consider the cost of investing in gadgets that you need to be comfortable learning online. You need to have a reliable internet connection through a monthly subscription. Also, consider your electric bill and other utility bills. Bear in mind, though, that compared with the fees required in a brick-and-mortar school, these are minimal expenses!


In terms of attendance, there is not much of a difference between online schools and brick-and-mortar schools. You still need to be present during online school hours. But you do not have to take off a fraction of your day preparing yourself to go to school. Look presentable (dress approrpriately!) and log on to your virtual classroom. If you could not be bothered to prepare at all, there are days when you will not be required to turn your camera on. 

Yes, there will come a time that your alarm will not go off or something will go wrong with your computer, but, at least, you do not have to worry about traffic or bad weather. A majority of online high schools offer modules that you can complete at home, at your own pace, or asynchronous learning. Some learning materials like videos and tutorials are even pre-recorded so you can view them anytime. Given that online schooling is more relaxed in terms of your time, you can pick up a part-time job or even discover a new hobby.


Online schools do not require everyone to meet face-to-face. All social interactions take place online or virtually. This is, arguably, one of the perks of distance learning, especially for introverted students. Introverted students thrive in a self-paced environment, which requires more writing and less talking. In traditional instructions, students are often forced to do oral presentations in a space where failure equals embarrassment. 

In a virtual high school, high school students like you can shoot an email to your teacher if you have questions or concerns. Some students would find this difficult, yes. There isn’t any hard and fast rule in a student’s ability to learn and digest information. You will get easily distracted when there is no teacher present, or the tendency to procrastinate is stronger. Others could easily lose motivation or drive to finish a virtual classroom task, but in abundance in a traditional classroom setting brings. We cannot discount the fact that building social skills among high school students poses a challenge in an online school. 


Generally, parents’ involvement in brick-and-mortar schools is limited to dropping off or picking up the students and attending school activities. In online schooling, parents are vital to their children’s academic success. Your students will depend on you to create an environment that is conducive to their learning. You will be the adult in the house, that will make sure they remain safe both online and in real life. Yes, it is another workload for you, but this also an opportunity for you to bond with your kids. Plus, you get to be more involved in their learning process. 


For now, we cannot definitively gauge, which provides superior quality education and produces superior graduates. Some research would tell you that online is better, some would say otherwise, and others believe it is highly dependent on the student. 

How we deliver education is evolving. Teachers are finding new ways to get their lessons across. Colleges and universities are now offering online classes for those having some difficulties going to school. Others would offer blended learning, a combination of both because new opportunities and access to education have become available. The saying “school is cool” has never been truer.