Choosing the Right Language Course: Face-to-Face or Online?

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A lot has been said about the advent of technology and its wonders to the extent that other approaches are considered too “traditional” (that is, “old school”.)

There is so much literature about the topic. However, we would like to ponder on some of the most important aspects to be considered when choosing the right language course for you.

We are going to analyse both options so we can have a deeper understanding of each of them when it comes to learning languages.

Face-to-Face Learning in the Classroom

Advantages

  • The physicality of the classroom helps you concentrate better.
  • It is encouraging to see other students willing to learn by participating spontaneously.
  • The understanding of the communicative situations is more natural and can be understood by observing the teacher’s and classmates’ body language and tone of voice.
  • The completion of a face-to-face course is much more rewarding than the completion of the ones online.
  • It is a great opportunity to negotiate, agree, disagree and solve problems with students from the same level but different personalities.

Disadvantages

  • Commuting may take too much time or be at peak hours.
  • Schedules are fixed.
  • There is a maximum number of absences allowed.
  • Breaks depend on the class length.
  • You may not like the teacher.

ONLINE LEARNING

Advantages

  • Online courses may be more convenient due to their flexibility.
  • Resources may be visually attractive and innovative.
  • They do not demand spending time on commuting; they bring education to where you are, not to mention that you can meet a wider range of people as well.
  • You can save money since these courses are generally more affordable.
  • Online courses promote autonomy and discipline.

Disadvantages

  • Online classes demand students to manage their study time to avoid procrastination.
  • Online courses may lead to students feeling isolated.
  • Inner motivation is key to prevent losing focus and forgetting about the objective: finishing the course.
  • You are required to be responsible for your own learning.
  • There may be loads of information available, which makes it difficult to choose what to pick or avoid.

Do you have a broader perspective now? It is not only a matter of saving time or money but choosing the most effective kind of course for your own learning style. If you are more visual, more tech-savvy, you will undoubtedly prefer online courses. On the other hand, if you prefer socializing and talking to people, you will go for face-to-face courses.

Aspects such as the type of course, frequency, design and assessment should not be neglected either. The debate is ongoing.

       Now, your turn!
       What kind of learner are you?
       Why would you choose one alternative over the other?

6 COMMENTS

  1. Very interesting topic! Yes, choosing the right language course does depend on our students’ preferences and motivations. This topic raises the question of where blended learning would come into play here. In terms of practical implications, the online component from the blended model benefits students by providing them with increased flexibility (and autonomy) to complete their homework and offering continuous access to the course content. The face-to-face component, on the other hand, helps students to strengthen their peer relationships and it fosters opportunities for clear communication. However, implementing a blended model can also be challenging because both students and teachers (totally speaking from experience) are required to acquire new skills and spend a significant amount of time to prepare for class. Additionally, curating course content as well as deciding which elements of the blended model require face-to-face instruction and which ones are best presented through online mediation can be time-consuming tasks. On the part of the student, self-discipline and time management play an important role in keeping up with all of the classwork and making sure their learning goals are met. Like any other language course or learning model, there are pros and cons that students need to take into account, so I guess this is a debate that will continue in the coming years. At least we know where we are headed.

    Alberto

    • I couldn’t agree more, Alberto. Yours is a thoughtful comment.

      You are right: it may still be a debatable issue, but we should know which our aims are to start with.
      Thank you for following us!
      Regards.

  2. The human is a gregarious being, we thrive when we are aware of someone’s presence around us. That’s why I wholeheartedly believe the online classes, which are in a way a very practical new way for the students to pay more attention to what they are learning, should come to a stop at some point this year. Due to what’s already been stated. We have to be around others, one could even say we could die of loneliness if we didn’t. But it is quite true we must be patient, this is quite a complicated and serious issue indeed.

  3. I agree with everything and more that make us see a perspective of the teacher who teaches us, the idea of ​​receiving an education very different from that of previous years is difficult for everyone, studying face to face is much better for me, but I am not saying that virtual classes have not existed before, which means that the technology is so broad that even in a global health emergency we can receive and transmit education for all, i like the two methods by which I can study and it is true one is more flexible than the other but we do not miss the education that is the most important thing for everyone, even for those who want to grow academically, that’s why they enroll in classrooms, to learn more, to be motivated and try to overcome all this pandemic, this is rather an advantage because we know that some do not have the resources to continue studying and we do, so we must continue working hard, for my part, I will never stop being in the virtual classes and when all this has happened I can tell the teachers what my experience was like in the classes and how it was to socialize with you without knowing them

  4. Currently, while we’re facing this pandemic, virtual classes are the best option. To be honest, I prefer this method, I’m quite a shy student and is a bit difficult for me to communicate face-to-face with other people. Online learning has its disadvantages, yes, but I think apart from learning a new language we can be able to be responsible, to focus on our objective (finish the course) and know how to manage our time to study, I firmly believe doing this can help to avoid procrastination.

  5. I’m definitely one of those who learn face-to-face in the classroom. Interaction with other people is important to me when I learning a new language. Online learning has many advantages but in my case it’s not like that… I need to talk face to face with someone, I need the teacher corrects my pronunciation and I need that the teacher help me clarify all the doubts that I can have at that time.
    I think I belong to the old school…

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