Today, an increasing number of people want to speak a foreign tongue. But there’s one problem. Which path should you choose — online or traditional courses?
I’ve already covered the benefits of studying a language online in the previous article. Now is the time to address the disadvantages of online language learning.
As the world is becoming a global village, most people would agree on the undeniable importance of language learning in today’s society.
Let’s face it; we all have different requirements—there’s no one-size-fits-all.
When you decide that you require studying a foreign language, there are several choices available to you.
You can register in any college, university, or any private institute for traditional classroom education or learn through self-study with the help of available resources such as books and other multimedia components like CDs, audio, podcasts, and video lessons.
Over the past few decades, the incredible growth of the internet created the third possibility, i.e., online language learning.
These programs take advantage of easily accessible and fast internet.
Now, you can join online classes in the foreign language of your choosing.
To sum up, there’s something for everyone!
Table of Contents
- 10 Downsides of Learning a Language Online
- 1. No Face-To-Face Interaction
- 2. Lack of Self–Discipline, Low Motivation, and Distractions
- 4. Limited Acceptance, Accreditation, and Recognition
- 5. Online Courses are more Time Consuming
- 6. Online classes often lead to boredom
- 7. Speaking and Listening Practice
- 8. Language immersion is missing in E-learning
- 9. It isn’t easy to become fluent
- 10. There is a scarcity of Online degree courses
- The Final Words — Should you not learn a language online?
10 Downsides of Learning a Language Online
Online courses have clear advantages, and that’s why e-learning programs for language are a growing trend.
However, online language education isn’t right for everyone, and there are plentiful shortcomings.
Weighing the pros and cons can help you decide whether online foreign language learning is the right decision.
You can analyze all the factors before you decide if it’s right for you.
Besides having apparent benefits, there are many reasons you shouldn’t rely on the internet to learn a new language.
Wonder what they are?
Let’s find out the ten disadvantages of online language learning, which are:
1. No Face-To-Face Interaction
The interaction between a teacher and a student is an intrinsic part of the educational process.
And the face-to-face approach is an efficient language learning method because it combines different segments, including writing, speaking, listening, and reading.
Most students seem more involved in the conventional classroom and receive more immediate feedback than in online studies.
The response time is less, but many learners prefer presenting issues with the instructor in person than typing it out or trying to explain it face-to-screen.
Online courses are also more asynchronous because of digital illiteracy, netiquette, random connectivity problem, and technology limitations.
It takes more time to absorb new information, understand, ask the questions, know the answers, and get the desired result.
Of course, you can also learn a language online since it also includes interaction, but clearly, it is less effective than a face-to-face approach.
Learning in a physical classroom is lively and more appealing as more human interaction is present, not only with the trainer but also with classmates.
Suppose you’re the kind of learner that believes language learning can only happen in a classroom and online learning troublesome as it completely lacks physical attendance. In that case, you can opt for face-to-face offline classes as per your feasibility.
2. Lack of Self–Discipline, Low Motivation, and Distractions
Human beings tend to have lazy attitudes, especially when they do not have to follow strict rules.
Online study in itself is a great way, but if you are not self-disciplined, it becomes complicated.
You will have enough excuses to postpone or miss your sessions.
E-learning allows the possibility to study whenever we desire from any place, but it also has a well-known side effect.
As there is no time deadline and no hard and fast rule to finish the course, one can easily lack discipline. It is one of the primary drawbacks of online language learning.
In the classical system of pedagogy, one has to follow routine and consistent with learning a language.
Online tutors follow strict rules, like giving some penalties, for instance, deducting some marks for missing a class or failure to submit an assignment, or even inactive in-class intercommunication, etc., which ultimately compels people to follow the timeline.
If you’re not motivated enough and don’t maintain self-control, you will delay or perhaps end up not studying at all.
If you want to be a successful online learner, you need impulse, motivation, self-directed, disciplined, and need to follow stringent time management.
The truth is the most language learners don’t have the self-discipline or required urge and motive to stick to online language learning programs.
If you don’t have these characteristics, well, then this can be one of the major hindrances in studying a language online.
If you are taking online classes from home, work, or anywhere, be sure that there will be disturbances.
Students in e-learning programs often multitask with non-academic matters that waste lots of time.
You cannot entirely exclude the possibility of distractions unless you have cultivated the art of self-control.
3. Less Interactive Sessions and No discussions with other Students
One of the disadvantages of online language learning is less interactive sessions, which eventually leads to dullness in the learner.
Language is something that demands people around to talk with and learn from it.
The traditional system gives us interactive sessions.
In online training, you have to do a self-study by utilizing resources like books, language apps, LMS, software, or an online tutor.
The vast majority of communication is only between student-to-instructor, and there is an absolute deficiency of student to student exchanges.
At schools, universities, and learning centers, students discover how to make friends and learn tremendously from each other.
Competition between colleagues can be very stimulating and exciting, and you will undoubtedly gain from it.
Online learning cannot offer group interaction the way it occurs in the standard classroom or lecture room.
You will figure out the art of productive communication, improve from other’s weaknesses and strengths, and all this will assist you in acquiring a second tongue quickly and with certainty and confidence.
4. Limited Acceptance, Accreditation, and Recognition
If your only intention is to learn a language, you don’t need a certificate from a recognized and reputed institute.
But what if you need one for a variety of reasons like jobs requiring multiple languages, proof of language proficiency, or moving abroad?
First, most of these online courses don’t offer certifications.
Some of them provide, but most companies and educational establishments don’t accept and acknowledge them as evidence of language competence.
There are so many online courses that it becomes tough for one to identify the tutor’s credibility or organization conducting the programs.
When hiring foreign language professionals, many businesses question the effectiveness of distance language education and believe that it has not lived up to its potential.
Also, there is no point in earning a document stating language ability from non-accredited centers or provides low-quality services.
One has to be vigilant before enrolling in the course as it can lead to a wastage of money and time.
5. Online Courses are more Time Consuming
Online learning is both time-saving and time-consuming.
It saves time as you can attend classes from the convenience of your home or wherever you are because you need not travel to another location.
It takes more time since people lack self-discipline and not able to implement time management properly.
In the absence of a fixed schedule, too many distractions, multitasking, and lack of a designated study area can lead to poor scheduling.
It is a disadvantage because it creates a carefree, lazy, and distractive learning environment.
It also takes more time for educators to make digital study material, prepare the lessons, teach, and clarify their doubts.
There are also many interruptions and stoppages because of the problem happening with PC, laptop, or smartphone, internet connectivity, and speed.
Compared to standard classes, people who study online need to do a lot of exercises and tasks.
More often than not, online courses are not time-bound. In such cases, people drop their tutoring as and when they want, hoping to take them anytime later.
If you do this frequently, it will make the whole procedure lengthy and time-consuming.
6. Online classes often lead to boredom
People who like traditional systems may find learning online dull.
You will have nobody else except the teacher sitting in some other part of the globe, which you can interact with only virtually.
Plus, there are no other students to communicate or chat with. All these produce tediousness in people.
Unlike e-learning, instructors can make offline classes more entertaining by organizing diverse in-class amusing activities, events, games, contests, competitions, projects, and groups to work collectively and have fun.
All can share ideas and profit from each other.
The class debates allow more engagement, a better dialogue flow, and make the entire process more enjoyable.
The foreign language tutors can pick the most effective methods of teaching a specific section of the language. All these encourage students to actively take part in the learning process and enjoy it too.
7. Speaking and Listening Practice
Constant speaking and listening practice are the keys to mastering any language.
You can do vocabulary memorization, mug up all the grammar rules, and spend time reading.
For all these, the internet can be a fantastic source.
For speaking and listening, there ought to be one-on-one interaction, which builds confidence and supports learning.
Sometimes, it becomes tough for students to clear their ambiguities about correct intonation, accents, and pronunciation.
It’s more challenging to interact meaningfully in the language you are studying.
Many students feel more content writing the answers than talking.
The classroom activities help you eliminate hesitation and enhance your speaking and listening skills.
The active cooperation in the class enables you to improve speaking, writing, and even thinking in the target language since everything happens spontaneously and naturally.
8. Language immersion is missing in E-learning
Language immersion is a smart way that benefits students in different educational settings.
And most of the remote guidance does not show the immersive mode.
Learning through smartphone applications or desktop software are impersonal compared to face-to-face online courses or attending regular classes in any institute.
Most apps do a fabulous job in solidifying vocabulary, but it isn’t useful in teaching you how to use the words and grammar in a real-life scenario.
They don’t impart you with the most natural way to make sentences.
For that, you need to interact, talk, socialize, assimilate, and discuss with people who already know the language.
The insight about culture is essential to learning a language.
To dive further, you also need to appreciate the culture and customs surrounding it.
History, slangs, idioms, gestures, festivals, and how people speak colloquially are all part of this.
Unless you have found a specific valuable resource on the internet, it’s unlikely to study these vital aspects of a foreign tongue online.
9. It isn’t easy to become fluent
If you are a total beginner, learning a new language via a Mobile App or occasional online tutoring can help.
It is tricky to achieve advanced knowledge, especially if your target isn’t one of the simplest languages.
But you can make a good start, and it can be beneficial in gaining at least a basic grasp of a language.
Once you cover the elementary or even lower intermediate level, you can decide if you want to take it further by enrolling in any language school or university.
10. There is a scarcity of Online degree courses
Are you contemplating pursuing a Bachelor in French or Advanced Diploma in Japanese, or maybe a Master in Spanish?
Unfortunately, you are out of luck.
While some options are available in other countries, but most Indian universities don’t offer degree programs via distance learning. IGNOU through SOFL offers some ODL programs, but that doesn’t include BA and MA degree programs.
You can surely learn a language by enrolling in different online classes.
If your aim is degree courses, well, there aren’t enough online options that can award a UG or PG degree in foreign languages.
The Final Words — Should you not learn a language online?
These days too many online classes and language learning apps are flocking and often claim the world at a cheap price and quick success — but don’t expect fluency for these.
It is better to have a reasonable expectation!
I have shared both advantages and disadvantages of learning a foreign language online.
This post and the previous one have all the advice you need to know before enrolling in the online language classes.
This way, you can decide whether it is worthwhile to undertake an online language course or not.
You also must do enough search online before you enroll in a program.
Go to the websites/blog/social media of people teaching languages, compare the methods, read reviews, check the references, and feedback from other people.
If you find yourself comfortable with the services that an online teacher provides, you are set to go ahead. Happy learning!