If you’ve set out to learn a new language, you’ll notice that there will be a big difference in learning speed if you try studying on your own, or with the help of a tutor. First of all, a tutor knows exactly where to start and what steps should be undertaken to learn that language correctly and he will be able to spot your weaknesses and strengths, emphasizing on what you’re lacking in and lowering the focus on what you’re already efficient in.
But getting a personal tutor is often quite hard. You’ll need to set a schedule, waste time traveling to and from the tutor (or to and from the meeting place where you’re learning the new language) and sometimes it will be hard to find someone in your proximity that can teach you. Thank God for technology and thank God for the Internet!
Now, you can hire online language tutors that will act just like a personal tutor, but you’ll take away most of the annoying details from your relationship (you still need to schedule and obviously they still cost money, although they’re usually cheaper than face-to-face personal tutors). You’ll most likely need a webcam and a good set of headphones if you want to start learning, since your sessions will take place through video conferences.
Many people wonder if this is a more efficient language learning technique than by hiring a face-to-face tutor or not. Well first of all, sometimes it may be your only option, if you can’t find the right tutor to meet around your area. Secondly, it can be more efficient from a financial point of view, although this might be situational since you’ll need a webcam, headphones and a solid Internet connection, things that may make up for the extra cost of hiring a personal tutor.
The language learning process itself is not really affected. It won’t be any different than if you would have the tutor on your screen, sitting right next to you. It will also be more convenient, since you won’t even have to move from your chair and payment is usually easy enough as to not cause additional troubles (and if one online tutor website doesn’t offer the payment method that’s most convenient for you, move on to the next – there’s plenty to choose from).
By the way, I noticed there are a couple of language learning websites out there that offer their customers “live online language training” under the form of video classes. This means that you can log on a conference, where the tutor will act as a class teacher to you and several other users logged on at that time. This may not be the best way to learn since you won’t be able to channel your tutor’s attention entirely to you, but this method is usually cheaper so you could end up with a bargain.
All in all, I’d say you should at least give it a try and see how you like it. Some people may not feel as comfortable talking to someone “virtual” and prefer their tutor to be physically there during the lessons. Others find this an advantage, so it’s all about personal preference in the end. And despite the fact that online language tutoring is still a rather new concept, it’s definitely THE main learning method of the future. Let’s face it, who will go through the trouble of physically moving to their tutor (or the tutors moving to their students) when they can handle the same lessons from miles away, through a microphone and a webcam.
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