Posted on by Peter Rettig

Online Foreign Language Learning - Pros and Cons

Even the best idea has its pros and cons. We started out with in 2011 as an online foreign language learning program, using a travel story and fast moving interactive games as key teaching tools.

We felt that the combination of a very stable CMS and a fast Internet connection would work well for many users. Besides, plenty of language learning has been moving online. This is true to a large extent because an online system has clear advantages over a CD/DVD or down-loadable program:

Pros for the user:

  • Immediate use after sign-up, no installation required
  • Fast start-up with only login and password required
  • Access from your office and practice opportunity during a “language break”
  • Access from any PC (not necessarily yours!) in the world with an Internet connection
  • Updates & corrections occur automatically
  • (Later, on demand: pronunciation correction of recording practice)

But, comments from our friends and users have highlighted some of the disadvantages:

Cons for the user:

  • Access problems with slow or unreliable Internet connection
  • Open offices or public libraries make speaking/recording practices difficult
  • No ability to use “on the road,” in airplanes, trains, etc. without Internet
  • Technical problems w/browser, Flash Player updates, etc. may occur
  • User only has access to website and has no (physical) CD/DVD

 Apps may avoid some of the problems. However, even the best technology will not be able to solve the key challenge for a language learner: To find time to learn and practice regularly. Technology can provide added opportunities for those who are motivated and can find time. The ultimate reward - acquiring a new foreign language - not only adds a new skill, but also opens for you a whole new window onto the world.