One of the biggest challenges of learning a new language as an adult is rediscovering how you learn best. And fitting it into your busy adulting schedule of course!
Remote language learning can be divided into synchronous and asynchronous methods. Both provide convenience, flexibility, and affordability. You can choose a platform that will help you find an experienced, qualified tutor. You then choose time slots that fit your schedule synchronously. Alternatively, you can check out some English or Japanese courses online. Here you will have some contact with a language tutor, but most of the learning is self-paced and done via pre-prepared materials, videos, and other resources asynchronously. But which method is best? This question will largely depend on your personal preferences. There is a smorgasbord of platforms, sites, and courses for remote language learning, and each has its strengths and weaknesses.
Private Tutoring Platforms (Synchronous Learning)
Preply provides you with access to tutors who will design and tailor one-to-one lessons to suit your needs. Search their large catalogue of tutors or submit a request detailing your preferences, and a tutor will find you. Before you commit to paid lessons, you can benefit from a free online trial with a tutor. Preply asks you to purchase learning packages of 5-20 hours as standard. Preply has a fantastic app for both IOS and Android.
With Cambly, you choose from basic, intermediate, or advanced, conversation topic bundles. Practice your speaking skills and topics for the IELTS and TOEFL, English for Professional Development, or choose from their comprehensive list of conversation topics. Cambly offers monthly subscriptions of up to 12 months. Choose a regular tutor to practice with or try a different one each time. There is an app available for IOS and Android for you to download to your phone or tablet. People also searching about private tutoring.
Italki has a large catalogue of online tutors from around the world. Unlike Cambly and Preply, you can pay per lesson instead of buying a bundle. Italki will also provide a free 30- minute trial lesson with a tutor of our choice. Tutors will tailor lessons to your goals and interests. Italki also has a handy app for both IOS and Android so you can learn on the go. An added feature is the Italki community where you can connect with tutors and other language learners.
Busuu offers self-study resources as well as live lessons with tutors. Enjoy 1 free trial lesson and connect with the Busuu Community to chat with other language learners from all over the world, 100% free. Prices will vary depending on your chosen tutor. You can upgrade to the Premium or Premium Plus account to access all the features. This includes submitting work to be checked and corrected, and personalised lesson plans.
Babbel offers app-based lessons that focus on real-world English conversations for all levels. Learn vocabulary and grammar, and explore British culture through live online classes, original podcasts, interactive games, and videos.
|Plenty of different languages to choose from||Must be available for scheduled classes|
|Access to tutor’s 24/7||Must have good internet connection|
|Classes tailored to your needs||Must have your own device or access to a device with camera and microphone|
|Choose from one-to-one or group sessions||If you need to cancel a class, you may lose your money|
|Can get real-time feedback|
|Schedule classes to fit with your timetable|
|Access to free resources and materials via the platform|
|Hundreds of platforms available|
|Flexible payment options|
|Guided through the materials and syllabus|
Self-Paced Courses (Asynchronous Learning)
Udemy offers pages of different courses provided by a variety of qualified individuals, organisations and educational establishments and universities. You will also find loads of free resources and tools to support your learning, test your knowledge and practise what you have learnt. All the courses are pre-recorded video lessons that allow you to choose when you study and for how long. You won’t benefit from any face-to-face contact with individual tutors or an opportunity to connect with other learners for most courses. So, you will want to consider supplementing any course with other online learning tools, resources, and platforms.
Fluent in 3 Months
Developed by Polyglot Benny Lewis, this self-paced course promises to have you speaking a new language in only three months. The course doesn’t actually teach you a language but gives you tips, tricks, and science on how to learn any new language. Use it alongside language courses online. Impress your language tutor and classmates with how well you can speak it. Join language learning challenges or sign up for Benny’s Speak in a Week email course completely free.
Global Exam is a site for those of you who are looking to take an internationally recognised certification in English. They have mock papers, articles, advice, exercises, and activities to help you prepare. You can choose from weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual payments to gain full access to the sites’ services and resources.
|Plenty of different languages to choose from||Limited real-time feedback|
|Can learn at your own pace||Payment not as flexible|
|Often have access to lots of free resources||Need to be self-motivated|
|Learn at any time that suits you-even 3 am!|
|Access to course materials, website, resources, etc, 24/7|
|Can mix and match units and courses to suit your needs|
|Fun and engaging materials|
|One-to-one and group sessions with tutors|
|Able to contact tutors, teachers, and staff 24/7|
|Certification from a respected or well-known educational establishment|
|Some courses on platforms like Udemy, are free|
To Synchronise or Not To Synchronise…
It is really down to personal preferences, study style, and language learning goals. There are some amazing platforms, sites, and apps, for you to choose from. Whatever method you choose you will benefit from the convenience, flexibility, and ease that remote language learning provides.