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This is my IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of online learning from the real IELTS exam.

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Dave

IELTS Essay: Online Learning

Nowadays, distance-learning programs have gained in popularity, but some people argue that online courses can never be taken as good as those taken at a college or university in person.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

The rise in popularity of online-learning software and applications has led many to argue they can be as effective as real-life lessons taken at university. In my opinion, though these lessons are more efficient in particular university situations, their overall efficacy is far lower than learning in person.

Proponents of online study point out how increased flexibility leads to greater efficiency. When students study in person, they must expend time traveling to and from class and waiting before and after the lesson. In the aggregate, this constitutes significant time lost. This time could be redirected into more studying or other tasks. For instance, a student studying online could finish assignments up until the minute class begins and quickly begin their homework after the lesson. However, the efficiency gained is largely hypothetical as most students are likely to become distracted during online lessons and waste much of the time saved online.

Moreover, in-person lessons are far more engaging than online ones. This was clearly evidenced during the recent Covid-19 pandemic when many schools, including universities, transitioned to online learning for a period of time. The results were that students were generally less engaged in lessons and their overall productivity and learning suffered. This counterintuitive loss of productivity can be explained not only by the potential distractions students are vulnerable to online but also by the lack of connection between learners and teachers. In a classroom setting, students personally interact with their professors and other students, guaranteeing a high level of engagement and memorability.

In conclusion, though there are reasons to argue for the potential time saved through online lessons, they are simply far less effective than real world classes. Online lessons should remain a niche element of a university education.

Analysis

1. The rise in popularity of online-learning software and applications has led many to argue they can be as effective as real-life lessons taken at university. 2. In my opinion, though these lessons are more efficient in particular university situations, their overall efficacy is far lower than learning in person.

  1. Paraphrase the overall essay topic.
  2. Write a clear opinion. Read more about introductions here.

1. Proponents of online study point out how increased flexibility leads to greater efficiency. 2. When students study in person, they must expend time traveling to and from class and waiting before and after the lesson. 3. In the aggregate, this constitutes significant time lost. This time could be redirected into more studying or other tasks. 4. For instance, a student studying online could finish assignments up until the minute class begins and quickly begin their homework after the lesson. 5. However, the efficiency gained is largely hypothetical as most students are likely to become distracted during online lessons and waste much of the time saved online.

  1. Write a topic sentence with a clear main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your main idea.
  3. Develop it with specific or hypothetical examples.
  4. Keep developing it fully.
  5. You might add a counterpoint here.

1. Moreover, in-person lessons are far more engaging than online ones. 2. This was clearly evidenced during the recent Covid-19 pandemic when many schools, including universities, transitioned to online learning for a period of time. 3. The results were that students were generally less engaged in lessons and their overall productivity and learning suffered. 4. This counterintuitive loss of productivity can be explained not only by the potential distractions students are vulnerable to online but also by the lack of connection between learners and teachers. 5. In a classroom setting, students personally interact with their professors and other students, guaranteeing a high level of engagement and memorability.

  1. Write a new topic sentence with a new main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your new main idea.
  3. Include specific details and examples.
  4. Add as much information as you can and make sure it links logically.
  5. Continue your development.

1. In conclusion, though there are reasons to argue for the potential time saved through online lessons, they are simply far less effective than real world classes. 2. Online lessons should remain a niche element of a university education.

  1. Summarise your main ideas.
  2. Include a final thought. Read more about conclusions here.

Vocabulary

What do the words in bold below mean? Make some notes on paper to aid memory and then check below.

The rise in popularity of online-learning software and applications has led many to argue they can be as effective as real-life lessons taken at university. In my opinion, though these lessons are more efficient in particular university situations, their overall efficacy is far lower than learning in person.

Proponents of online study point out how increased flexibility leads to greater efficiency. When students study in person, they must expend time traveling to and from class and waiting before and after the lesson. In the aggregate, this constitutes significant time lost. This time could be redirected into more studying or other tasks. For instance, a student studying online could finish assignments up until the minute class begins and quickly begin their homework after the lesson. However, the efficiency gained is largely hypothetical as most students are likely to become distracted during online lessons and waste much of the time saved online.

Moreover, in-person lessons are far more engaging than online ones. This was clearly evidenced during the recent Covid-19 pandemic when many schools, including universities, transitioned to online learning for a period of time. The results were that students were generally less engaged in lessons and their overall productivity and learning suffered. This counterintuitive loss of productivity can be explained not only by the potential distractions students are vulnerable to online but also by the lack of connection between learners and teachers. In a classroom setting, students personally interact with their professors and other students, guaranteeing a high level of engagement and memorability.

In conclusion, though there are reasons to argue for the potential time saved through online lessons, they are simply far less effective than real world classes. Online lessons should remain a niche element of a university education.

Answers

For extra practice, write an antonym (opposite word) on a piece of paper to help you remember the new vocabulary:

The rise in popularity of online-learning software and applications using apps like Zoom more often

argue point out

as effective as real-life lessons taken at university just as good as the classes in college

efficient saving time and money

particular university situations some cases

overall efficacy is far lower than learning in person generally worse than learning in real life

Proponents of online study point out how increased flexibility leads to greater efficiency supporters of remote learning argue it is more convenient and saves time and energy

expend time traveling to and from waste time commuting

waiting before and after the lesson hanging out before and after classes

In the aggregate combined

constitutes significant time lost combines all the time not used

redirected put in a different direction

tasks assignments

finish assignments up until the minute class begins do work right until class starts

quickly begin their homework after the lesson do homework as soon as class ends

gained what you get

largely hypothetical just imaginary

distracted during online lessons not paying attention during classes online

waste much of the time saved online not productively use your time

in-person lessons studying in real life

This was clearly evidenced during the recent Covid-19 pandemic when clearest example of this was during the Coronavirus pandemic

transitioned to moved to

for a period of time over some time

results consequences

generally less engaged in overall not as interested in

overall productivity and learning suffered general efficiency and learning got worse

counterintuitive not what you would assume, not logical

can be explained not only by the potential distractions students are vulnerable to online but also by there’s an explanation that students might be wasting time online and not paying attention

lack of connection between not much link to

In a classroom setting in classes

personally interact with in person communicate with

guaranteeing safeguarding

high level of engagement and memorability makes it more interesting and easy to remember

argue for the potential time saved through point out it saves time

far less effective than real world classes much less valuable than in-person lessons

remain a niche element keep it a small part of the course

a university education learning at college

Pronunciation

Practice saying the vocabulary below and use this tip about Google voice search:

ðə raɪz ɪn ˌpɒpjʊˈlærɪti ɒv ˈɒnˌlaɪn-ˈlɜːnɪŋ ˈsɒftweər ænd ˌæplɪˈkeɪʃ(ə)nz 
ˈɑːgjuː 
æz ɪˈfɛktɪv æz rɪəl-laɪf ˈlɛsnz ˈteɪkən æt ˌjuːnɪˈvɜːsɪti
ɪˈfɪʃənt 
pəˈtɪkjʊlə ˌjuːnɪˈvɜːsɪti ˌsɪtjʊˈeɪʃənz 
ˈəʊvərɔːl ˈɛfɪkəsi ɪz fɑː ˈləʊə ðæn ˈlɜːnɪŋ ɪn ˈpɜːsn
prəˈpəʊnənts ɒv ˈɒnˌlaɪn ˈstʌdi pɔɪnt aʊt haʊ ɪnˈkriːst ˌflɛksɪˈbɪlɪti liːdz tuː ˈgreɪtər ɪˈfɪʃənsi
ɪksˈpɛnd taɪm ˈtrævlɪŋ tuː ænd frɒm 
ˈweɪtɪŋ bɪˈfɔːr ænd ˈɑːftə ðə ˈlɛsn
ɪn ði ˈægrɪgɪt 
ˈkɒnstɪtjuːts sɪgˈnɪfɪkənt taɪm lɒst
ˌriːdɪˈrɛktɪd 
tɑːsks
ˈfɪnɪʃ əˈsaɪnmənts ʌp ənˈtɪl ðə ˈmɪnɪt klɑːs bɪˈgɪnz 
ˈkwɪkli bɪˈgɪn ðeə ˈhəʊmˌwɜːk ˈɑːftə ðə ˈlɛsn
geɪnd 
ˈlɑːʤli ˌhaɪpəʊˈθɛtɪkəl 
dɪsˈtræktɪd ˈdjʊərɪŋ ˈɒnˌlaɪn ˈlɛsnz 
weɪst mʌʧ ɒv ðə taɪm seɪvd ˈɒnˌlaɪn
ɪn-ˈpɜːsn ˈlɛsnz 
ðɪs wɒz ˈklɪəli ˈɛvɪdənst ˈdjʊərɪŋ ðə ˈriːsnt ˈkəʊvɪdnaɪnti:n  pænˈdɛmɪk wɛn 
trænˈzɪʃ(ə)nd tuː 
fɔːr ə ˈpɪərɪəd ɒv taɪm
rɪˈzʌlts 
ˈʤɛnərəli lɛs ɪnˈgeɪʤd ɪn 
ˈəʊvərɔːl ˌprɒdʌkˈtɪvɪti ænd ˈlɜːnɪŋ ˈsʌfəd
ˈkaʊntər ɪnˈtju(ː)ɪtɪv 
kæn biː ɪksˈpleɪnd nɒt ˈəʊnli baɪ ðə pəʊˈtɛnʃəl dɪsˈtrækʃənz ˈstjuːdənts ɑː ˈvʌlnərəbl tuː ˈɒnˌlaɪn bʌt ˈɔːlsəʊ baɪ 
læk ɒv kəˈnɛkʃən bɪˈtwiːn 
ɪn ə ˈklɑːsrʊm ˈsɛtɪŋ 
ˈpɜːsnəli ˌɪntərˈækt wɪð 
ˌgærənˈtiːɪŋ 
haɪ ˈlɛvl ɒv ɪnˈgeɪʤmənt ænd ˌmɛmərəˈbɪlɪti
ˈɑːgjuː fɔː ðə pəʊˈtɛnʃəl taɪm seɪvd θruː 
fɑː lɛs ɪˈfɛktɪv ðæn rɪəl wɜːld ˈklɑːsɪz
rɪˈmeɪn ə niːʃ ˈɛlɪmənt 
ə ˌjuːnɪˈvɜːsɪti ˌɛdju(ː)ˈkeɪʃən

Vocabulary Practice

I recommend getting a pencil and piece of paper because that aids memory. Then write down the missing vocabulary from my sample answer in your notebook:

T___________________________________________________s has led many to a________e they can be a___________________________________________________y. In my opinion, though these lessons are more e____________t in p_________________________________s, their o_________________________________n.

P______________________________________________________________________________y. When students study in person, they must e__________________________m class and w_______________________________n. I_______________e, this c__________________________________t. This time could be r__________d into more studying or other t_____s. For instance, a student studying online could f________________________________________s and q_______________________________________________________n. However, the efficiency g________d is l__________________l as most students are likely to become d_______________________________s and w____________________________________e.

Moreover, i_____________s are far more engaging than online ones. T__________________________________________________________________n many schools, including universities, t___________________o online learning f_____________________e. The r________s were that students were g_____________________n lessons and their o_____________________________________d. This c_________________e loss of productivity c______________________________________________________________________________________y the l__________________________n learners and teachers. I_________________________g, students p__________________________h their professors and other students, g__________________________________________________________y.

In conclusion, though there are reasons to a_________________________________________h online lessons, they are simply f___________________________________________s. Online lessons should r________________________t of a_________________________n.

Listening Practice

Learn more about this topic by watching from YouTube below and practice with these activities:

Reading Practice

Read more about this topic and use these ideas to practice:

https://pamplinmedia.com/cr/28-opinion/557553-446278-teacher-online-learning-promotes-healthy-lives-for-educators

Speaking Practice

Practice with the following speaking questions from the real IELTS speaking exam:

School

  1. Did you like your school when you were a child?
  2. What did you learn about?
  3. Did you have a favorite teacher?
  4. Are there many rules in schools in your country?

Writing Practice

Practice with the related IELTS essay topics below:

Some today argue that schools are no longer necessary because children can learn so much from the internet and be educated at home.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?


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