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

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
- Not always the 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.