Many of you will know that I teach English both online via Skype and face to face in my full-immersion intensive courses.
My online classes have increased over the last year as more and more clients appreciate the flexibility that online courses give them.
However, people still wonder whether learning English online is as effective as learning English face to face.
One of the largest myths surrounding English language classes online is that they’re not as good as studying English as a foreign language in the classroom. This is a myth. Online English language classes are just as good as learning English from a tutor in a classroom setting, but the way in which students learn is different and online language study isn’t right for everyone.
Timetable and scheduling
One of the main advantages for most people is that online English language courses can be completely organized to fit into any kind of busy schedule. Work commitments make classroom course study difficult to manage, particularly when work commitments are paired up with a family with young children to take care of.
Lots of people choose to study English online because they can schedule appointments with their tutors when they’re able to commit and they can complete the course outline at their own pace and whenever they have the time to dedicate a few hours to the task.
Classroom-based English language courses follow the timetable outlined by the institution. If the hours don’t coincide with the student’s free time, taking a course in English language learning is impossible.
It’s also a myth that via online language study students don’t get the opportunity to meet fellow students and socialise. Lots of people study, not just because they’re interested in learning or because they need a specific qualification, but because they enjoy meeting new people and interacting with others who share similar interests to themselves. The social side of study is really important to many students, particularly adult students.
However, online courses do provide the opportunity to interact with other people studying the same course. The manner in which interaction is conducted at the beginning is different to the manner in which it transcribes in a face-to-face course, but the end result can be just as fulfilling. At first, online language students might get to meet each other through Skype chats/classes or student forums/social media pages and groups.
Once those connections have been established, the same occurs as it does when students meet each other face to face. Students who want to socialise and get together away from the computer screen will make those arrangements. It’s not necessary to have a “classroom” to generate camaraderie with fellow students, or indeed with teachers.
What kind of personal qualities does the online student need?
Studying English as a foreign language online is not the same as attending a regular class with a group of fellow students around you to keep you motivated and a teacher to harass you to keep up with assignments. Naturally, online students have fellow classmates and teachers, but they are virtual. Learning English online is not for everyone.
It helps greatly if you’re self-motivated. All online learners need to feel comfortable working independently and studying alone. You’ll also need to make sure that your schedule is tightly organizedand you must be disciplined enough to make sure you stick to that schedule. Otherwise, you might end up studying for years, but never get anywhere due to a lack of concentration and discipline.
It’s important to have all the equipment you’ll need at home, a secure and fast access internet connection and an ease with email communication or Skype-style lessons. Without a facility for working with computers and the Internet, online English language study can be really tough to get the hang of (get used to).
Online learning, as mentioned above, isn’t for everyone, but many people find it really useful and just as effective as studying in a traditional classroom environment.