Learning Empathy Online versus Face-to-Face
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Online learning is used in multiple fields of study. Having the ability to take classes online and having the flexibility to learn at a student’s own convenience is one of the rewards of learning online. Some subjects may be more difficult to take online then others. Criminal justice teaches subject material, such as empathy, that up until recently has been primarily taught in a face-to-face traditional classroom. This study analyzed if learning about empathy online can be as effective as learning about empathy face-to-face by analyzing the test results of both groups of students online and face-to-face. The mixed-methods study first measured the level of knowledge of empathy based on a pre-test and then, after teaching the material on empathy, a post-test. Next, a survey was conducted to assess students view on how empathy was and could be taught by both delivery methods of either online or face-to-face. The results from the pre and post-test indicated that the online students were more knowledgeable with the subject material, empathy, than the face-to-face students however, the face-to-face students increased their knowledge of the subject material, empathy, at a higher percentage than the online students. The survey showed very similar views between both sets of students in that the majority of the students felt that learning empathy face-to-face would be more conducive. Both online and face-to-face students increased in their learning in this study.