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Glad to Be a Grad: The Importance of Face to Face Learning and Offline Interactions

12-07-2018

We are all for progress and all the cool technological advances – we’re all for using them because most of the time, it makes our lives easier and increases our productivity consistently. Still, we cannot help but wonder if taking all our courses to an online format would actually benefit our students. Sure, it might be logistically easier and financially more feasible for us but at the end of the day, we run vocational education. The student’s overall knowledge and journey are what we aim to be the best at.

In this blog post, we aim to focus on why we believe that face to face and blended learning can enhance our students’ overall learning experience. We’ve seen a massive shift from offline to online around us and we wanted to put in words why we believe that a student who chooses to do a course (any course) would massively benefit from face to face interactions with tutors and peers. But if offline is dead, why are we constantly craving human interaction or seeking online validation from others through likes and comments?

It seems that the more digitally focused we become, the more digitally connected we become, the more our chances of loneliness increase. According to a lengthy documented article on loneliness in The Atlantic[1],

social media contributes to our lack of immersion in real-life social ties. So in a world where loneliness is becoming a huge problem and our focus is mainly shifted towards our phones, tablets, and computers, we’d like to think that holding on to the human element when it comes to learning is still a beneficial thing.

Surely, full-on digital only courses have their advantages and conveniences, especially for those who might not live in the close proximity to academies or might look for cheaper alternatives. It can provide a more flexible way for education but it isn’t for everyone and even if it provides access to the desired course, some might find that the delivery may leave them with more questions, confusion and require further support.

The more we look into it, the more debates we find:

Is e-learning better or is face to face winning this battle? Is there a way we could marry the two and make blended learning the best option?

It has been indicated that face to face learning fosters a dynamic learning environment, in which the interaction between the students and their tutors contributes towards a successful learning experience[2].

When it comes to blended learning, research has shown that it has the potential to enhance the overall learning experience through effectiveness and efficiency[3].

Some of the advantages of face to face training include:

  • Networking and peer interaction
  • Course engagement – tutors posing questions and starting debates, the ease in which students can have their questions answered[4]
  • The possibility of having 1-on-1 sessions with your tutor
  • The opportunity to develop a broader range of practical skills under the tutor’s guidance at the location – in the case of fitness courses, seeing in the gym how all machines work and how to use them

As previously mentioned, face to face interactions work because a lot of us:

  • Can’t rely on self-paced learning
  • Don’t necessarily have the self-discipline required by online/distance learning
  • ·Prefer the peer and tutor interaction
  • Simply feel that we would get more out of the course if we are physically there.

Not all students are alike. Some are happy to study from home – but because we as a training provider have a duty of care to deliver a course that will aim to produce the best fitness industry professional.

We will definitely be continuing to keeping our highly qualified tutors and assessors within the classrooms and our dedicated student support available for face to face consultations as well as via phone or email.

We also take into account that we are part of such a big and wonderful melting pot, where cultures meet and friendships are formed – and having these elements at the back of our minds, we acknowledge that our students come from different backgrounds and cultures, some from more ‘collectivistic’ (Hofstede, 1991) cultural background and some from a more ‘individualistic’ background.[1]

Finally, tutors are not just tutors, they become mentors and leading examples, and they become your guides. Tutors help you to confidently dip your toes in the vast sea of opportunities within the fitness industry.

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