The Benefits of Learning English Online
Learning English online in a ‘virtual classroom’ was largely on the fringes of educational practice prior to the COVID pandemic. However, since the COVID lockdowns, the virtual classroom has become a more familiar part of our post-pandemic culture. Schools, colleges and some of the best universities in the world are now delivering English courses online. That’s because learning English online has proven to be very effective, especially for company employees. Here are eight of the best reasons why learning English in a virtual classroom is so convenient and effective.
1. Convenience and accessibility
All modern work environments have good internet connection a quiet space where employees can take their laptop to have an English lesson. Finding a meeting room with suitable presentation facilities for everyone is a bit more difficult. Oftentimes, when a teacher comes to an office to deliver an English class, a lot of that time is wasted finding a convenient space, setting up a computer, or just signing in at the reception. When your English lessons are delivered online, you don’t need a space with a monitor and enough room to accommodate all the participants. In fact, you don’t even need to be at the office. People who are working from home can also attend lessons easily, freeing up that meeting room for… well, meetings.
2. All your resources are provided
Good teachers are nothing if not prepared and well organised. So when an English lesson is delivered online, all the student needs to do is find a quiet space with a good internet connection, turn up and log in. All the materials you need for the lesson can be uploaded or emailed to you. There is no need for a room with a monitor and audio equipment as the teacher can stream any audio-visual material through Zoom, Teams, or whichever software you are using.
3. A better choice of teachers
When English lessons are face-to-face, the teacher has to be located in the same place as the students they are teaching. English lessons in a virtual classroom can be delivered from anywhere. This means that if you are in Europe, Asia or South America, you can connect with English teachers anywhere in the world. A company in Madrid, Paris, Berlin or Barcelona can contract online English lessons from a teacher located anywhere in the EU. This means that you have a greater choice of the best teachers available.
4. Focussed attention
Aside from being very accessible, learning English in a virtual classroom is also very effective because each student’s attention is focussed solely on the computer screen. It doesn’t matter whether you prefer to be at the front or the back, in the virtual classroom you always have a clear view of the teacher and the material being presented. And because your focus is on the computer screen, your attention is concentrated on the lesson and the learning tasks. So you can prepare your space how you want, make yourself comfortable and focus 100% on your lesson.
5. Individual student attention
When a teacher is delivering a class in a physical classroom, it can be quite difficult to effectively make notes about each students’ individual errors. When a class is given online, a teacher can take notes very easily whilst delivering the lesson without being distracted. A teacher can have a page with individual notes for each student and use those notes to refocus on specific areas that need to be developed in later lessons. This means that each student’s needs can be attended to, which leads to better and more effective learning.
6. Confidence building
Some people aren’t very confident, which means that when they are in a physical classroom they can feel very self-conscious. Less confident students can be reluctant to speak, ask questions or even raise their hand. This means that they don’t take advantage of the time they have with their English teacher in lessons. This type of student usually finds it easier to be more vocal in an online environment. And if they are still too shy to ask questions, they can use the chat facility to send their questions to the teacher. As English language learners become more confident, they communicate more in English, which rapidly improves their fluency, accuracy, pronunciation and vocabulary.
7. Shared learning
Being able to share questions and send messages silently in the chat is a great benefit as it doesn’t interrupt the lesson. Questions can be typed into the chat box and answered at the nearest opportunity. These questions not only benefit the students asking them, but the entire class, because every student has time to read and fully understand the question and therefore better understand the answer. This builds critical thinking skills and can also introduce new ideas that other students may not have thought about. It also provides new information when the question is answered, as well as allowing students to compare their learning to that of their classmates. According to research, students involved in virtual classrooms improve their problem solving skills, critical thinking and written communication skills. This shows that virtual classrooms can be as effective as physical classrooms in meeting the needs of different types of learners and students at different levels.
8. Access all areas
Here’s an unsurprising secret – when students use their mobile phone in lessons, it infuriates English teachers. It is distracting and comes across as disrespectful. But sometimes, the student is legitimately using their mobile phone to translate a word or check the meaning of new vocabulary, and this is very useful for English language learners. When students are in front of their computer in a virtual classroom, they can comfortably access the internet and all the help it can offer to assist their learning during a lesson. Your English teacher can also utilise all the benefits that the internet has to offer. They can quickly forward links to information online, display phonetics and play audio for pronunciation development. Essentially, your English teacher can take full advantage of any material they think will be useful to you. The teacher in a virtual classroom doesn’t have to waste time handing out worksheets, or get frustrated because they have not brought a resource that would have been really useful. Everything your English teacher could possibly need is online and available for them to use, and in turn, for you to benefit.
So there you have it, eight reasons why learning English in a virtual classroom can be the best option. Of course there are some limitations to what you can do in an online lesson. For example, you can’t do kinaesthetic learning tasks – that is, physical activities such as mingling with classmates and doing task based exercises in groups. And perhaps many would say that larger groups of 10 or more are not catered for as well in an online lesson. However, if your focus is to maintain and develop your English speaking, listening and reading skills, the virtual classroom offers a more convenient, accessible and focused platform for progression.
By using resources that are specifically optimised for online learning, you will find your lessons effective and fulfilling. English Evolution learning materials and courses are designed and developed for learning English in a virtual environment. Lessons are based on current topics ranging from science, technology and developments in business, to psychology, culture and modern society. English Evolution lessons fully engage students using authentic reading material and listening presentations. By engaging the interests of students, good teaching materials encourage speaking and vocabulary development through discussion. Students will then improve their fluency, pronunciation and grammatical accuracy, but most of all, they will enjoy learning and gain the confidence to take what they learn and use it effectively in the real world.
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