Have you ever wanted to study a foreign language? Maybe you dropped the idea because it wasn’t convenient to join any traditional classes.
Fortunately, today you can find a myriad of e-learning programs on the internet.
But which one to choose?
Check out the three types of online language courses and the pros and cons associated with them.
In today’s competitive and rapidly developing world, the importance of language learning has never been more valuable.
From immigration abroad to job advancement to the cultural aspect, there are plenty of excellent reasons to learn a foreign language.
There was a time when conventional programs in the classroom settings were the only possibility.
Today, thanks to the internet and technology progression, things have vastly changed.
Because of factors such as time restrictions, non-availability of the classes where you live, affordability, and convenience, e-learning has quickly emerged as an alternative means of continuing language education.
Nowadays, anything and everything is available online.
You can access an abundance of software programs, mobile apps, electronic devices, and websites devoted to foreign languages.
And more and more are being developed daily thanks to the enormous online education market.
The most significant benefit of online language education is the flexibility and freedom it provides to help students.
You can study from wherever you want, as long as you have access to a computer or smartphone; Be it your home, a cafeteria, office, or even during the business trip.
Isn’t that wonderful?
Table of Contents
- Types of Online Language Courses
- 1. Face-To-Face Online Learning
- 2. Self-Education through ready-made content
- 3. Web-based courses through apps
Types of Online Language Courses
If you believe that language learning can only happen in a classroom and online courses are not practical because it lacks physical presence, you can opt for face-to-face offline classes.
For the rest of the learners, no matter what stage you are in life, there is always an app, website, or online tutor for learning foreign languages.
I have already covered both benefits and drawbacks of online language learning.
Here, I will explain three broad types of online language courses and the unique advantages and difficulties linked with them.
All these can assist you in getting a clear picture of what you can expect.
1. Face-To-Face Online Learning
Yes, it is feasible to have a live one-to-one interaction between a student and a foreign language teacher.
Synchronous learning environments involve a virtual classroom where an instructor imparts the knowledge to one individual or a group of several learners through text, audio, and video in the same room.
You can talk to the trainer the way you do in the offline classroom, clarify all your doubts, and brush up on your knowledge.
You can save lots of time and money on traveling.
All you need is an internet connection, a laptop, or any smartphone, along with a camera and headphones with a mic, which most people have these days.
Additionally, you also require having some easily accessible desktop software or mobile apps like Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts Meet, Microsoft Teams, Cisco WebEx Meetings, to name a few. Most of these are free to use.
You only ought pay your teacher for a one-to-one session.
Besides that, there is no other expense. It is a practical and convenient way to learn languages at your own pace.
(i) Learn from a Teacher
Teachers are the most indispensable part of our education system.
Face-to-face online sessions enable you to learn from a qualified teacher and also clear all the doubts. It is nearly as good as offline classes.
You can also hire teachers only for those topics you are struggling with instead of the entire syllabus.
(ii) Choose any Foreign language or level
If you think learning Dutch is not viable because you cannot find the class in your city. Then the one-to-one lesson can benefit you.
From popular languages to less spoken tongues, you can pick whatever you want.
You can also choose the desired level as per your current abilities.
If you have a specific area you want to focus on or want to study at your own speed with adjustable timing, private online tutoring helps counter that.
(i) A little expensive
One of the principal disadvantages of individual tutoring is its costs. A tutor has to spend more or less equal time and effort in online and offline classes.
Thus, studying online means paying the tuition fee the way you pay at any learning center.
It might cost you a little less than offline tutoring, but the overall difference won’t be significant.
If you are looking to hire a quality tutor with many years of experience, it can be costly. Plus, you still need to buy books, pay for exam fees, etc.
(ii) Less interaction with other students.
People who like conventional systems may find learning a language online tedious.
In offline interactions, a teacher can make it more entertaining and productive by combining language learning with several class activities, events, games, contests, competitions, and projects.
All these may not be workable online.
Besides, there are no other students with whom you can talk, practice, or interact.
You will have nobody other than an instructor sitting in some other part of the world. All these create boredom in some people.
The face-to-face study is better than other online options because of the lively communications and synergies that are part of it.
Studying with an online tutor can boost efficiency, and you can become more confident about the target tongue.
As a result, you can learn properly and pass various language ability tests.
2. Self-Education through ready-made content
Autodidacticism is learning without having someone else to teach it to you.
You are the only one who will help yourself without a teacher or an educational institution’s supervision.
You can try resources like books, pdf files, audio lessons, video tutoring, apps, and software.
You can search the internet for a massive supply of materials and information.
Most of these are available free online.
(i) Study at your own pace
You can partake in a plethora of services and study material whenever you want.
You can discover more about the topics and can refer to infinite online resources.
Furthermore, you can also decide the studying rhythm and time.
(ii) It is very affordable
There’s another reason self-teaching has become so popular: it’s cheaper. You can find many free or very inexpensive resources.
While you can explore plenty of free content, however, to get some great ones, you have to shell out some money.
(i) Lack of teacher guidance
Without specific direction from mentors, students may find language learning a tricky job.
It is not an exaggeration to say that a superb teacher can help you accomplish your aim and make the complete language acquisition a straightforward task.
The internet is full of distractions. Most people, while doing self-study, waste plenty of time on unnecessary things.
You could save a lot of time and optimize productivity by following a teacher.
They will always be there to remind you of the goal and work a lot on your learning process.
(ii) It requires discipline and motivation:
The foremost disadvantage of self-study is the lack of self-control, discipline, motivation, and time-management skills.
When you study with a teacher, you follow a time-line and progress accordingly.
And this helps you reach your language learning goal.
In self-study, you will spend almost all the time on your own without someone physically guide you.
Simply put, If you don’t have the required discipline, you won’t learn. The success ratio is abysmal.
Self-study, when done correctly, is a very productive language learning technique.
However, independent learning is a journey that demands significant commitment, time-management, and self-discipline.
Let’s face it; most people don’t have it.
And that’s why it is one of the primary causes of language learning failure.
If you have all these qualities, you can go with it as it will play a vital role in achieving your objective and better results.
Otherwise, choose face-to-face classes — offline or online.
3. Web-based courses through apps
Of various types of online language courses, web-based apps are the most popular and usually considered default online language programs.
It is useful for students with time constraints, busy schedules, or looking for quick knowledge at self-paced.
Web-based classes typically use an LMS (learning management system).
It includes different online tools like the theoretical and explanation section of various sections, MCQs, Quizzes, recorded teaching material from the tutor, listening exercises, assignments, and tests at regular intervals.
The initial syllabus to certification has everything to support you attain various levels of the language.
These types of offerings do not take place in real-time, and there is almost no interaction.
As a result, you need loads of discipline to follow the lessons regularly in a well-organized manner.
(i) Convenient and Flexibility
Of all the choices, the course management system is the most convenient form of language learning.
What you need is an app on your smartphone or software on your laptop. That’s it!
These programs are 100% online and use synchronous or asynchronous tools for interaction with students.
(ii) A systematic approach and fun
These apps divide the entire course into 100’s of small-sized lessons, and it feels like you’re playing a game through flashcards, simple matching exercises, and MCQs.
It is a simple, mostly free or economical if you make an in-app purchase, easy to use, and engaging way to learn a language while you’re on the move.
(i) Too many apps, and most are junks
Sometime back, I checked several of these apps. But there was one major problem — too many choices!
I have downloaded and tried over 25 apps and deleted most of them as they were often junk. Expecting to learn a language from these apps is an overstatement.
(ii) Difficult to become fluent
The language learning apps often promise you the world — but don’t expect to become fluent.
There is no magical app or LMS that will make you accomplish eloquence in a matter of a few weeks or months.
These apps and software, eventually, will only take your proficiency to elementary or lower intermediate level.
Beyond that, it is challenging to progress without regular class interaction and a skilled teacher’s guidance.
Learn a language with help from the smartphone in your pocket looks like an outstanding idea. However, these apps are far from perfect. So, expecting to become fluent is overkill.
Unlike a teacher, it cannot customize the lessons to the individual’s progress, difficulties, and interests.
With frequent practice, you can gain at least a beginner’s level competency or survival conversation skills.
Online language courses with the help of technological innovations have become a practical alternative for students worldwide.
Sticking to a plan and maintaining discipline while learning a foreign language is essential if you wish to succeed.
Make sure you put aside some hours every week to focus on your language learning goal.
Learning a language with an app or by self-study should be a starting point, not the end.
Once you finish the elementary part, it might be a better idea to find an online teacher to practice with or enroll in any language school.
If you have a limited budget, you can combine self-learning and apps.
I recommend a hybrid or blended approach, i.e., face-to-face with an online teacher, self-study through books, listening to audio lessons, and practicing with people in real-life.
So, what do you think about online language courses?