They do differ greatly. While online courses are easy and works well with schedules, there are some flaws. Some people learn better with hands-on experiences, as do I. I took online courses in high school and liked them very much, but feel that for the filed that I am studying, online courses are not quite the answer. For some classes, such as basic ones, they are okay. But if you really want to get a feel for the course, it is best to learn hands-on rather than sitting at a computer desk. All in all, it really depends on the student and how they prefer to learn. But overall, the online courses are nice and easy. It is nice being able to get school done and get it done on your own time, at your own pace.