Online Learning vs. Face-to-Face Lessons: What Is the Best Way to Learn a Language?

Online learning vs. face-to-face- instruction… Which one is better? With technology taking over the language learning world, more and more people are turning to online learning as an alternative to traditional face-to-face instruction. But which one is better?

After talking to a few of our students, we’ve come to understand the difference between these two ways of learning a language and we’re ready to help you decide what your next language-learning adventure will be like. Will you opt for an online language course with your online language tutor or will you take the traditional route and hire a face-to-face teacher?

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In this article, we will take a look at the pros and cons of both online learning vs. face-to-face instruction to help you decide what is the best language course type for you.

Online Learning vs. Face-to-Face lessons. The benefits of doing a language course online


One of the biggest benefits of online learning is that it is very convenient. All you need to get started is an internet connection, a computer (or a tablet, or even a mobile phone!) and you can learn from anywhere in the world.

Online learning is so convenient that it will prevent the busiest (and the laziest!) students to find a good excuse to skip their lessons. Are you spending a few days in your country house? As long as you have an internet connection, that’s not a problem. Are you a busy professional who doesn’t have time to clean their home in order to host a face-to-face lesson (let alone commute to a language school!)? Then online learning is the best choice for you.

Sonia, a student from Guadalajara who is doing an English course online with Language Trainers (which she takes in her office during her lunch break), says: “I love the convenience of online learning. I can learn English without having to leave my office or spend extra time travelling to and from a language school. Besides, learning a language takes my mind off work for an hour, which is fantastic!”


When you work long hours, it can be difficult to find time for a face-to-face lesson. Even if you feel full of energy at 9 pm, it can be a bit hard to find a local language instructor to teach you at that time!

But, should your crazy schedule prevent you from learning a new language?

Thanks to the existence of different time zones around the world, online learning gives you the flexibility to choose a time that works for both you and your teacher, no matter where you are. Besides, by choosing to study a language online, you can access a much larger directory of native teachers.

Peter, a learner of Swedish who lives in a small town called Broome, in Western Australia, says: “I’m not sure I would have been able to find a lot of Swedish teachers here in Broome. But with online learning, I can take my lessons whenever it suits me, and my teacher, Karin, is not just a native speaker: she is a qualified educator.”

Cost-effective learning

Many online courses are also more affordable than traditional face-to-face instruction, especially if you are looking for group classes. While private tuition in rare languages is both harder to find and more costly, when it comes to common languages such as Spanish, French, German and Portuguese, the average cost of an online language course is usually lower than the cost of a face-to-face language package.

What’s more, online language courses usually allow students to get a taster lesson before they commit to a full package. At Language Trainers, trial lessons for our online courses are free! This means that you can get a taste of our personalised teaching methodology before booking a course, with no strings attached!

Online Learning vs. Face-to-Face lessons. The advantages of doing a face-to-face language course.

Face-to-face interaction can be more memorable for some learners

Some students feel they learn and remember better when they have the opportunity to interact face-to-face with their teacher. This type of learning can also be more engaging, as the experience of interacting with another person in the flesh is much more “present” and, for some, much more rewarding.

Pavel, a learner of Russian who took both online and face-to-face lessons with Language Trainers, says: “I found that I was able to remember what I learned in my face-to-face lessons much better than what I learned online. With online learning, it was easier to get distracted and I didn’t focus on the lesson as much. My wife, on the other hand, was able to concentrate well in both class types, so I assume it all comes down to personal preference. (Or maybe she’s just a better learner!)”

No technology, no problem!

If you think it’s only elderly people who prefer to stay away from computers, think again.

Most of the students who inquire about our face-to-face lessons are young, professional people who feel more comfortable learning in a face-to-face setting because, by the end of a working day, the last thing they want to do is look at a computer screen.

Indeed, for those whose jobs are mediated by technology, it can be refreshing to take a break from all those screens and just enjoy face-to-face interaction. For students like Pavel, the experience of interacting with your teacher in the flesh is just irreplaceable.

More opportunities for genuine conversation

If your goal is to practice your conversation skills, then face-to-face classes will give you more opportunities to do so. This is because, apart from doing controlled speaking activities planned by your teacher beforehand, you will get to use lots of phrases that people use in real-life contexts when interacting with another person.

Imagine, for example, that you are taking a Spanish lesson in your home. As a host, you could say things like “¿Puedo tomar tu abrigo?” (Can I take your coat?), or “¿Te gustaría tomar un café?” (Would you like to have a cup of coffee?), or (hopefully not) “Oh no, se atascó el ascensor” (Oh no, the lift is stuck), among other phrases that you wouldn’t get the chance to use authentically in an online class!

Laura, a student from Perth who is taking a Spanish face-to-face course in her home, agrees: “I love my Spanish lessons because I get to practice my conversation skills in a real-life context. My teacher, Beatriz, is really friendly and we have a lot of fun during our lessons. Having her over at my house feels like meeting a friend.”

After having read about the benefits of online learning and face-to-face tuition, which methodology do you think would be the best for you?

Remember: In the end, the answer depends on your personal circumstances and preferences. For example: If you want to learn a rare language such as Ukrainian and private tuition is your only option where you live, then virtual learning will be the way for you to go. If, on the other hand, you are looking for a more common language and you have the opportunity to choose between online learning vs. face-to-face instruction, then it really comes down to what type of learner you are and what your goals are.

→Sign Up Now: Free Trial Online Lesson With a Native Teacher!←

At Language Trainers, we have you covered either way! For over 20 years, we have offered both face-to-face and online courses in more than 80 languages so that every client can choose the option that best suits their needs.

So, what are you waiting for? Contact us today to get more information!