The Advantages and Disadvantages of Online and Offline English Learning

In the previous article, we concluded that to achieve better results in learning English at some stage, it will be very beneficial to use the interactive foreign environments which require not only listening but provide a constant situational feedback. The simplest way to gain access to one of those environments, is taking lessons with professional foreign teachers. But is it really necessary to use professional paid classes? After all, there are a lot of free Skype conversational clubs on the Internet where people from around the world communicate with each other.

The use of such resources is good in theory. However, the results of the experiment conducted by EnglishMania showed a number of issues associated with this approach.

1. Except for some rare enthusiasts, the majority of users of those Skype clubs go there not to TEACH but to LEARN English. There is a fundamental difference between these two terms. Due to the lack of methodology, conversational sessions can quickly turn into a similar type of dialogues addressing same topics again and again: "What's your name?", "Where are you from?", "Where do you work/study?", "Your hobbies". This of course, can greatly limit the progress and reduce the motivation of a student.

2. Another negative factor is the accent of people coming from different countries where English is not a native language. It's very common to have a discussion with somebody whose pronunciation is far from the native standard everyone should aim for while learning English. This factor can be ignored though if the main objective of attending those conversational services is to prepare for an accent of a particular country (for example, to conduct a business meeting with partners from a specific country where English is not a native language).

3. It's not rare that free access conversational Skype clubs do not have a proper organization of the learning process, lack of educational programs/methods and very often do not have any customer support as well. Due to this, the learning process at some point turns into something chaotic rather than systematic.

4. And of course, we should mention not very adequate users who join in free conversational clubs not to learn but for some other purposes. They usually flood chat rooms or conference calls with illogical or even uncensored phrases which has nothing to do with learning at all. This is another big factor which can slow down the learning progress a lot.

These are the main examples of what you might have to face in trying to find a free Skype club to study English.

But all these negative elements are usually eliminated if you use offline or online professional educational services.

So, which do you prefer? The traditional proven offline approach, or the online classes which are so popular lately?

We tried to summarize the advantages and disadvantages of both approaches below.


+ Price. Optimizing the cost of an online service usually allows access to classes with foreign teachers for much more attractive prices.
+ Comfort and Convenience. This is another noticeable advantage in favor of online classes. This approach allows you to study from anywhere in the world. You don't need to spend time and money traveling to a school or meeting your teacher. No need to carry heavy books, also. All you need is a computer with internet access.
+ Interest. Utilization of innovations and advanced technologies during a class helps in keeping the person interested and increases his/her motivation. Learning English online improves your English skills, but at the same time it also helps to learn new tools and technologies which can be useful in other aspects of daily life.

- This might sound a little bit strange, but utilization of technologies is not only an advantage but also a disadvantage at the same time. Sometimes, remote classes can be jeopardized or even interrupted due to a computer/application failure or due to bad Internet connection, for example. These scenarios are highly unlikely for offline lessons (though a husky voice of a teacher due to flu, no ink in a pen or a terrible traffic jam in the city can happen as well).


+ Reliability. As we have just pointed out, it is less likely to experience a technical failure during the offline lesson. You will always hear your teacher clearly, not thinking about the quality of a microphone or headsets' volume.
+ Personal contact. In spite of the rapid technology growth, computers and applications still cannot fully replace some elements of human communication which occur during the personal contact on a psycho-emotional layer.

- Price. As mentioned above, to find a suitable foreign teacher for personal lessons in your city can be a lot more difficult and more expensive.
- Comfort (or discomfort). In this discipline, online lessons of course are far ahead.

Thus, as you see both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages. Just 10-15 years ago solid live online lessons were just a dream, but people were perfectly learning English without them. These days, distance learning with all its benefits is an integral part of any type of learning in general. Which method is right for you? You have to try and find out!

Would you like to add something? Please share your thoughts with us (via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ). We'll be happy include them to one of our next articles.

Stay tuned!