Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Learning

Gary James
Publication Date
July 15, 2002

"There are several distinct advantages and disadvantages of designing, developing, and delivering web-based training [WBT]. By carefully weighing your audience and training content against this list of advantages and disadvantages, you should be able to better judge if what you have in mind is right for Web dissemination.

  1. Extendibility, Accessibility, and Suitability - Users can proceed through a training program at their own pace and at their own place. They can also access the training at any time, receiving only as much as they need...
  2. Quicker (and cheaper) turnaround of finished product.
  3. Collaborative and exploratory learning environments.
  4. Easy and affordable training delivery - ...Validate what browser(s) your audience has and what version(s)...
  5. Cross Platform - can deliver your training course to any machine over the Internet or company intranet without having to develop a different course for each unique platform.
  6. Inexpensive worldwide distribution - No separate or distinct distribution mechanism is needed (i.e., distributing CD-ROMs for CBT training). WBT can be accessed from any computer anywhere in the world while at the same time keeping delivery costs down.
  7. Reduced technical support...
  8. Ease of content update - The changes you make to any of your content are immediately available to your learning audience across the world.
  9. Installation options on private networks for security or greater bandwidth. If you opt for intranet delivery, you have more control over plug-ins and bandwidth...
  10. Travel cost and time savings - Learning is delivered directly to the learner...
  11. Web browsers and Internet connections are widely available...
  12. WBT-based development is easier to learn and pick up th[a]n CBT [computer]-based development...
  13. Vast, untapped market for training...
  14. Access is controllable - You can direct and monitor who receives web training - when, how many times, and in what sequence.
  15. Billing options - You can bill - and collect on that bill - through Net distribution, billing by user ID, number of accesses, date/time of access, or any other means by which you want to assess usage.
  16. Direct access to many other training resources...


  1. Limited formatting of content in current browsers - The WBT you create will not resemble the CBT you might be familiar with because of Net bandwidth constraints.So if your content relies on a lot of media "bells and whistles," or particular formatting, the Net might not be the best delivery medium.
  2. Bandwidth/browser limitations may restrict instructional methodologies -...If your content relies on a lot of video, audio, or intense graphics, and your audience isn't on a T1 line, Net delivery will only frustrate your learners.
  3. Limited bandwidth means slower performance for sound, video, and large graphics...
  4. Someone must provide web server access, control usage, and bill users (if applicable)...
  5. Time required for downloading applications...
  6. Student assessment and feedback is limited...
  7. Many, if not most, of today's web-based training programs are too static, with little if any interactivity...
  8. Cannot design and develop robust multimedia courses - The bandwidth limitations of the Net constrain what can be delivered effectively.
  9. Are computers replacing human contact? - The Net is not right for all training.
  10. Newness - technologies always require time, experience, and money in order to take full advantage of its capabilities...
  11. Web-based training has high-fixed costs..."
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"Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Learning" [PDF], accessed on July 21 2010. Image credit: Wikipedia

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what is the answer?

what is the answer?

Not Bad

It is enough for any student who found of net.

good but get more material

good but get more material so that it can be used more effictively !!!!!

I completely admit with your

I completely admit with your point but now I see Online Learning as days progress possible and even more possible with faster Internet because now teachers can teach their students from anywhere through video conferencing and also listen to their questions and concerns. But that's true that it can't replace the real classroom effect.



I am currently getting my

I am currently getting my masters in public administration via an online program. I think Online Learning is effective if it is done in the right way. Students still need to be engaged and held accountable. But I do agree that it can't replace the real classroom effect. There is something about being immersed in a classroom with real people that helps make your learning experience even better.

this review is interesting

this review is interesting but a bit outdated on some of the elements

You have very well pointed

You have very well pointed out the pros and cons of online learning. But i think even one of the cons can be its validity. I mean some companies does not really validate this online degrees while recruitment. There is a valid reason for that. Net is full of scams and there are many bogus so called online universities. So i think one really needs to research thoroughly before pursuing any online course through any university. Having said that there are also legit online courses available with many recognized universities but i guess they are not fully online and one needs to visit the university for some formalities.



I wanted to know more about these reasons, explain them. I didn't just want to know what the reasons were. I wanted an explanation of each reason so it wasn't really useful at all...

this is usefull thanks...

this is usefull thanks...

advantages and disadvantages of online training

I am an English teacher who teaches ESL courses. I used specific matierials that I really like. What are the legal obligations in reference to using published books and videos online.

I think as long as you are

I think as long as you are using them for the sole purpose of online teaching and not distributing them, there should not have any legal obligations.

Web based training

Vital information that must be developed a lot further. Evaluation of many different modes of WBT is needed as it(and its next generation) is here to stay.

White Paper - Parsec Infotech site.

The comparative list of advantages and disadvantages "of designing, developing, and delivering web-based training [WBT] encourages me to seek diverging discussions on this issue with regard to “carefully weighing [my] audience and training content against this list of advantages and disadvantages, [I] should be able to better judge if what [I] have in mind is right for Web dissemination." The list is a good starting point for analysing decisions which focuses a clearer direction for setting up my website and may help me to avoid some 'novice' pitfalls.
Furthermore the article raises further questions for me to investigate before committing to additional costs. I will reflect upon this article and seek further advice from people who have invested time and energy in setting up face to face and web-based training programs.
Additionally this article raises some divergent views expressed within reports dated between 2004-2008 (Rose, 2004; Rothman & Melbourne; Schools, 2007; Seng & Choo, 2008; Shelley, Denise, Evangeline, Ruth, & Evangeline, 2006; Spring, 1999; Subhashni, 2008; Suzanne & Elizabeth, 2008; Tara & Savilla, 2006; Tilbury & Henderson; UNESCO, 2008a, 2008b; Virpi & Anne, 2006; Virpi & Päivi, 2005; Wagner, Kozma, & Unesco, 2005; White, (2008); Yiasemina & Kyriaacos, 2006) stating that face to face and web based training programs may be effective in part because they provide differing entry and exit points, are socially inclusive and provide a multiplicity of opportunities for personalising ongoing learning using technology currently available within the digital age.
Colleen Ruth Calamante

Rose, M. M. (2004). An Online Course to Help Teachers "Use Technology to Enhance Learning": Successes and Limitations. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 12(3), 411.
Rothman, S., & Melbourne, A. Young Australians’ Participation in Vocational Education to Age 24.
Schools, A. (2007). Whole-School Approaches to Values Education: Models of Practice in Australian Schools. Values Education and Lifelong Learning: Principles, Policies, Programmes, 395.
Seng, K., & Choo, L. (2008). Digital Skills and Education: Singapore's ICT Master Planning for the School Sector. Toward a Better Future: Education and Training for Economic Development in Singapore Since 1965.
Shelley, W.-M., Denise, S., Evangeline, N., Ruth, O., & Evangeline, V. (2006). From Virtual Strangers to a Cohesive Online Learning Community: The Evolution of Online Group Development in a Professional Development Course. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 14(2), 287.
Spring, G. (1999). Education for the 21 st Century: A South Australian Perspective: Invitational.
Subhashni, A. (2008). A Review of Benefits and Limitations of Online Learning in the Context of the Student, the Instructor, and the Tenured Faculty. International Journal on ELearning, 7(1), 5.
Suzanne, R., & Elizabeth, S. (2008). Sustaining an Online Community of Practice: A Case Study. Journal of Distance Education, 22(2), 43.
Tara, J., & Savilla, B. (2006). Enhancing Collaboration and Skill Acquisition Through the Use of Technology. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 14(2), 407.
Tilbury, D., & Henderson, K. Education for Intercultural Understanding in Australia.
UNESCO (2008a). ICT Competency Standards for Teachers: Policy Framework: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). 7 place de Fontenoy, 75352 Paris, 07 SP, France. Tel: +33-1-45-68-10-00; Fax: +33-1-45-67-16-90; e-mail:; Web site:
UNESCO (2008b). UNESCO ICT Competency Standards For Teachers.
Virpi, S., & Anne, H. (2006). Putting professional development online: integrating learning as productive activity. Journal of Workplace Learning, 18(4), 235.
Virpi, S., & Päivi, T. (2005). Communication and Collaborative Learning at Work: Views Expressed on a Cross-Cultural E-Learning Course. International Journal on ELearning, 4(2), 191.
Wagner, D., Kozma, R., & Unesco (2005). New technologies for literacy and adult education: a global perspective: UNESCO Publishing.
White, G. ((2008)). "Digital learning: an Australian Research Agenda" Digital Learning Research. ACER

Yiasemina, K., & Kyriaacos, C. (2006). ICT in-service training and school practices: in search for the impact. Journal of Education for Teaching, 32(4), 395.

comment on article

I think yhay yhe article is okay enough although there are certain aspect that I think they need to be improved.

I'm doing a short presentation on advantages of on-line learning, and this short summary helped me as a summary and structure of my presentation.

not wat i searched for



Good basic ideas, but I found the business-based viewpoint limiting. A bit too technical for my purposes.

background to computers

I found htis very useful for my research on on-line learning environment. Thanks Harriet

not very useful actually couldnnt find what i wanted absoloutley useless!!!

very detailed, however not as clear as i was looking for

advantages of comunicaton

why communicate

it wasnt really detailed

I'm thinking to take On line classes, was very usefull for me ALL THESE INFORMATIONS


i think this page was useful i linked to this site from i need to use this website for my ict homework

oh thank god..this is really want i need..thank you much

it didnt help

just what i wanted to know

this is usefull thanks...

nothing new that wasn't published years ago.

nice and smart wark
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I want 5 page advantage & disadvantage

internet, interanet & extranet different

Thank you for this this listing and link to useful article, as we are planning two online learning, as adjunctive to live lectures and live lectures, which also received a world away, so that two classes in different can take the same course.

International Professors Project ( 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit

ok lng..its useful nmn...hehe

The vocational program takes

The vocational program takes much less time to complete than a four year University. A typical program lasts tweleve to twenty four months to complete. Liberal Arts that are required in four year Universities are less important to these students because the skills necessary for their careers take precedence in order for a timely completion of the program. Thanks.
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