Online vs In Person Learning


Online learning has risen in popularity over the last 15 years or so and the recent pandemic gave the industry a super boost. 

There is now a sea of online language platforms, apps and sites full of resources to help you learn a second language in an efficient and convenient way. 

But does this mean the death of in-person learning? Absolutely not. While learning online has its advantages, there are elements of the in-person learning experience that are difficult, if not impossible to recreate no matter how hard we try.

The question of online or in person is a personal decision based on an array of factors including learning style and available learning time. 

But one thing is for sure, online learning is here to stay, and the truth is that a combination of in-person tuition and online training and practice, will provide the greatest benefit.

Not sure what’s right for you? What follows should help you with your decision.

Online Learning Platforms, Apps and Resources

Personalised learning plans. Online language learning platforms provide you with the opportunity to receive 1-1 tailored lessons with a tutor of your choice. You can cut out all the fluff and extras, only learning what you need or want. Do you want your English classes to focus on Business Communication? Experienced, qualified tutors on platforms like Preply will address exactly what you want them to, when you want them to.

Flexibility. Whether you choose 1-1 learning or group classes, online platforms allow you to choose a schedule that fits you. Even if it’s 3am, you will be able to find a tutor to match your schedule. Many platforms also allow you to vary when you learn day by day and week by week. This is beneficial for busy, time poor learners who may have full time jobs, families, or studying full time. It allows you to fit your learning around your busy schedule.

Online storage of learning materials and resources. A common complaint from students is the amount of paper involved in studying. Learning online means all your lesson materials, activities and resources can be stored online so you can access them from anywhere, at any time. This makes online learning perfect for those who are travelling, or who have busy schedules that require them to learn on the move.

Interactive games. Learning apps have signature games and activities that help spice up your learning. This makes them great for adults and kids alike!

Must be self-motivated. If you are not a self-motivated learner and struggle to stay consistent in your learning, then online may not provide the accountability you need. 

In-Person Learning

Textbook based. In-person learning tends to involve learning materials from a textbook. This will include all 4 skills – reading, writing, listening, and speaking. For those who prefer a more structured learning approach with easy-to-follow learning materials, then in-person is better. This is especially true for beginners. 

Direct access to your tutor. During an in-person class the teacher is right there in front of you to immediately address any issues you may have. With online learning, if you are using self-study materials and you have an issue or difficulty there may be no one to ask for help. Receiving real-time pronunciation correction is also key to effective learning.

Interaction. In person language learning allows you to interact with fellow learners and a native speaking teacher. This can be especially good for beginners as body language provides important cues for successful interaction. If you have a bilingual teacher, then they can help you with real-time translation – a real life Google Translate!

Fixed schedules. Most in-person group classes do not have built-in flexibility. The hours of the class will be fixed and if you are unable to attend, you simply miss the lesson. If something unexpected happens and you have to cancel the lesson last minute, you can lose your money. This can be difficult for learners with schedules that change frequently or are unpredictable.

The Bottom Line…

Both online and in-person learning can help you achieve your language learning goals. But which one is best for you will depend on your language learning goals, motivations and schedule. 

A combination of the 2 is the most effective and efficient method as this means more time learning through a variety of different modes, styles, materials, and resources.

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