Should I do Online or In Person Lessons?
Here’s an overview of the pros and cons of learning a language for business using an online service, versus opting for face to face tuition, such as our French courses in Leeds for those of you in or around the Leeds area in the UK.
Business Language Training
There are many reasons why you might want to learn a language for business purposes – our business language training archive has more articles on the subject. So once you’ve decided this is what you want to do, how should you go about getting the right sort of training for your purposes?
There are fundamentally 2 types of training that are widely available:
– online training, where you sign up to an internet-based course and go ahead on your own
– tutored training, where you utilise the services of a language teacher for face to face learning
Each of these has its own merits and may be suitable for your situation, so here’s a few things to consider when making your choice.
Online Language Learning for Business
Over the last few years, the rise of online learning platforms – such as Udemy and Lynda – has led to a range of options for people wishing to learn a language online. You can also learn completely independently by making use of free materials and resources online. Our post on improving your listening skills in French might be a good place to start if you’re learning French for example.
The advantages seem obvious:
– learning at a time that’s convenient to you
– learning at your own pace
– ongoing access to course materials for future refresher updates
– the courses are usually cheaper than face to face tuition
which is why many people opt for online learning as their first port of call.
And certainly, if cost is the primary factor for you, then you should consider internet-based courses as being a step up from, for instance, a language learning book – as you will likely get a more in-depth overview of the language you’re trying to learn. We’ve taken a look at some graded-readers for learning French in a previous article.
The Disadvantages of Online Learning
There are, though, some disadvantages to taking this route, for example:
– lack of flexibility in the course materials
– inability to query the tutor on specific points
– inertia that may lead to a lack of motivation for completing the course
We’ve all experienced the rush of enthusiasm for learning something new in the early stages. Only to find that ‘life gets in the way’ and we simply can’t find the time required to keep on top of our ongoing learning. (If you’ve ever tried to learn a musical instrument, for example, I’m sure you’ll recognise this trait of human nature!).
Without the guidance and instruction of an actual person to keep you on track, it’s very easy to keep shunting back the time you’ve set aside to work on your online course. Often leading to frustration and dissatisfaction, and, ultimately, giving up altogether.
Face to Face Language Tuition
Many of us may have bad memories of language lessons at school, where we sat either bored or uncomprehending about the various tenses and genders for different actions and items. Indeed, we’ve been told many times by adult learners that one of the things that put them off trying to learn a new language was the bad association they have with their early failed attempts.
When it comes to face to face language training, of course, the approach is somewhat different from you might remember from your schooldays. For a start, given that you’re the one paying for the lessons, you’re the one that’s ‘in control’.
So you can set the agenda from the outset, ignoring things you’re unlikely to ever need – has anyone ever really needed to use the phrase “my aunt’s pen” in a real life context? – and concentrating on those elements that will be beneficial for you from a business perspective.
Modern day language tutors are far more in tune with the needs of their clients than you might anticipate. For example, if you’ve had experience of ‘adult learning’ through attending a night school, you might be expecting a set course that follows the route set down by the teacher at the start of every term.
With a good face to face tutor, though, they’ll be much more open to discussing your exact requirements before you start the programme – thus ensuring you get exactly the right level of learning based on what you’ll be using your new found language skills for.
Disadvantages of Face to Face Tuition
Compared to online learning, of course, having an actual person teach you is going to cost more. You’ll generally end up paying by the hour – or a set fee over the course of the programme that takes account of the number of hours involved – rather than a 1-off fee that provides continual online access.
You may also find there’s a time issue, as you’ll have to arrange mutually convenient times for both yourself and the teacher. Though this is usually an easier process when it comes to corporate learning, as your tutor will be able to arrange a regular time slot for when you’re already at work.
There may also be an issue with location. Being able to access an online course from anywhere is a great advantage for that type of learning. When it comes to learning for business, though, you’ll almost certainly find your teacher is happy to come to your place of work – thus negating that particular problem.
There’s another factor that is often neglected when it comes to considering face to face learning – the personality of the tutor. Whether you get on with the person who’s developed an online course is maybe not so important as your having to be comfortable with someone you’re actually spending personal time with. Of course, a language training school should have multiple people for you to choose from, so if you don’t get along with the first person they send, you should be able to switch to someone else.
There are pros and cons for either type of learning, so you should consider each of the points above and determine how important they are for you and your circumstances. On balance, we’d always recommend face to face tuition for its flexibility and the likelihood of long term success. But you can obviously make up your own mind.
And if you’re still unsure which route to take, get in touch and we’ll happily talk you through the options.
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A specialist B2B advisor. Ross fully understands the difficulties involved in learning a new language for business.
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