What’s the Deal with Online vs. Traditional Nursing Education?

What's the deal with online vs. traditional nursing education

Before the Internet, if you wanted to earn a nursing degree, you just had to decide what nursing school was the best fit for you. Today, not only do you have to find the right school, you also have to weigh the pros and cons of online vs traditional nursing education—which is the case if you choose to apply to the 16-month Accelerated BSN program at Loyola University Chicago.

Before going any further, it’s important to understand that earning a BSN degree 100% online is not possible. Becoming a nurse means having the clinical skills required for the safe, effective delivery of patient care ― competencies you would not be able to develop behind a computer screen. Even if you choose the online version of our ABSN program, keep in mind that your skills labs, nursing simulations, and clinical rotations are completed in person.

The first step is to see if you’re better suited for online or traditional classroom learning. Keep in mind that no matter which option you choose, you’ll receive the same quality Jesuit nursing education taught by highly supportive faculty.

Understand the Differences Between Online and Traditional

When looking at an online vs. a traditional nursing education, there are really only two distinct differences between our accelerated nursing program options.

The first difference has to do with the core nursing coursework, the piece of the program that teaches you the fundamentals and theories of the profession. You have the option to complete these foundational courses online or on campus.

Location is the second difference. Students interested in the online option must enroll at our location in Downers Grove, Illinois, while those who prefer a more traditional form of nursing education must apply to our campus in Maywood, Illinois. Students of both programs spend a specific amount of time at their respective locations every week.

Consider Your Study Habits

When choosing between an online vs. a traditional nursing education, you’ll want to understand your study habits. If you’re someone who needs a lot of structure and accountability when it comes to completing tasks, then a traditional nursing education might be best for you. Our ABSN program in Maywood requires you to come to campus to attend classes on a set schedule.

woman sitting in classroom

Students who do better with online learning tend to have good self-discipline. While instructor deadlines still apply, online courses allow you to study at your own pace and attend “class” at any time of the day or night. But with this high level of flexibility comes greater personal accountability. It’s on you to manage your time wisely so that you don’t fall behind. It doesn’t matter if you like to study at 10 in the morning or 10 at night ― what matters is that you maintain a regular study routine.

Think About Your Learning Style

While the curriculum is exactly the same for both of our ABSN program options, the way in which you receive the content is very different. Therefore, it’s important to consider how you best collect, organize, and retain information.

If you’re someone who thrives on social interaction and enjoys being face-to-face with faculty and fellow students in real time, then our traditional ABSN program would be a good fit for you. That’s not to say you don’t interact with others in the online-based ABSN program. You still have access to your instructors and fellow cohorts, it’s just not always instantaneous.

Providing 24/7 access to your coursework materials, online learning can be more flexible than a classroom education. Everything you need for your courses is always available at your fingertips through an online learning platform.

keyboard with stethoscope

Advancements in technology have allowed us to incorporate a wide variety of rich multimedia content into our online curriculum, from 3D graphical representations of the learning material to simulated learning activities. We meet the needs of different student learning styles by leveraging the versatility of our online learning platform. Of course, our onsite ABSN program includes new ways to satisfy different learning styles, but there are limitations as to what can be accomplished in a classroom setting.

Know the Similarities

Now that you understand what makes an online vs. traditional nursing education different, let’s explore the similarities. Whether you choose to learn about the fundamentals of nursing online or on campus, it’s the same rigorous curriculum spread across four, full-time semesters.

All of our ABSN students must complete a series of nursing skills and simulation labs under the guidance of faculty at their designated program location. Set up like a clinical environment, these labs are where you put what you learned online or in the classroom into practice.

Clinical rotations are also key learning components of both ABSN program options. Our solid network of health-care partners provides all of our nursing students with top-notch clinical placements in the Chicago area. Through clinical rotations, you get to see first-hand what it’s like to deliver safe, effective care to diverse patient populations in a wide variety of nursing settings.

Make Your Move

Whether you choose our online-based or onsite ABSN program, your future in nursing is off to a good start. Not only will you graduate a practice-ready nurse, you will also be prepared for a lifelong, rewarding career of helping others and making a meaningful difference. Set your nursing education in motion by contacting our admissions team today to learn more about your ABSN program options.