Why Paying For Online Classes When There Are All Those Free AI Apps Out There?



Online education sky rocketed during the last three years. This may seem quite obvious for most users, but we do not necessarily consider the pros and cons of the different kinds of courses we can take when it comes to learning a new language.

Let’s start by making the distinction between synchronous and asynchronous learning. The former refers to instructors and students sharing a platform in the so-called “real-time”. The latter speaks of students revising and studying the materials on a platform at their own pace and usually on their own.

Like it usually happens, there are both advantages and disadvantages to online learning in the two modes, as the following chart shows:


It is important to remark that synchronous virtual classes are much more like traditional classes, since you work within a set schedule in a class environment led by an instructor, who is in charge of the class, and monitors each student’s participation. The main difference is the setting.

Asynchronous classes work quite differently: students do explore, revise and cover the content of the courses and have to do all the assigned tasks on due time, get feedback, but have no real interaction with the rest of the class and/or instructor, except for the writtten feedback.

Some students may feel comfortable in a virtual environment, while others may absolutely dislike it since they miss the socialization that takes place in the classroom. It is advisable to keep the cons in mind while deciding if you are a good fit for such courses.

This leads to the next question: Is artificial intelligence the best tool for learning English? Some may feel tempted to make their choice based on financial reasons, since most of the apps and websites are free.

Moreover, this is not the only appealing reason. There are others, and this is undeniably true.  Among them, we can name:

  1. Adaptive learning
  2. Quick responses
  3. Grading
  4. Tutoring
  5. Real-time feedback
  6. Reducing human bias.

Since our society has turned out to be one that demands swift responses, this may look ideal at first sight: students choose their lessons, select the skills they feel like practicing or reinforcing, and get feedback from bots called virtual assistants or tutors. That creates a sense of interaction; not to mention that there are also students that are not that conventional and have their own particular learning style.

Something highly valued is the 24/7 platform availability and automatic grading, since evaluations are designed in such a way that students get their grades as soon as the evaluations are over.

Regardless of their usefulness, the apps by themselves are not enough to learn a language. A teacher or instructor is the one who provides a rational sequence of topics, approach students empathetically and help them to overcome their weaknesses through a selection of activities and/or resources.

We are immersed in a world that transforms at fast speed, and the modifications in the education process have arrived to stay. We should be able to foresee the coming tendencies and adapt our role to what is needed to provide a successful learning experience.

And now, it is your turn:

Has a student ever told you that they hated online classes? If so, what did you answer?

What comes to your mind when someone describes the wonders of apps and say it loud that teachers are not needed anymore?


Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 50 seconds


  1. As the world constantly evolves at a rapid pace, it is inevitable that one day we will be fully competing against technology in the marketplace.

    Education is not exempt from this.

    It is our role as educators to display leadership, show empathy, have an open and transparent communication as well as have our learners constantly interacting with each other through teamwork.

    The human experience is not for sale.

    • I couldn’t agree more, Harold.
      Sometimes this speed is overwhelming. We need to be updated and eager to rethink our role as a teacher.

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