One of the biggest challenges of learning a new language as an adult is rediscovering the best way to learn. And of course, by fitting it into your busy schedule!
Distance language learning can be divided into synchronous and asynchronous methods. Both offer convenience, flexibility, and affordability. You can choose a platform that will help you find an experienced and qualified tutor. You then choose time slots that fit your schedule synchronously. Alternatively, you can consult some English or Japanese lessons in line. Here you will have contact with a language tutor, but most of the learning is self-paced and done through asynchronously pre-prepared materials, videos and other resources. But which method is the best? This question will largely depend on your personal preferences. There are a multitude of platforms, sites and courses for distance language learning, and each has its strengths and weaknesses.
Private tutoring platforms (synchronous learning)
Preply gives you access to tutors who will design and adapt individual lessons to suit your needs. Search their extensive catalog of tutors or submit a request detailing your preferences, and a tutor will find you. Before committing to paid lessons, you can avail of a free online trial with a tutor. Preply requires you to purchase 5-20 hour learning packages as standard. Preply has a fantastic app for IOS and Android.
With Cambly, you choose from sets of basic, intermediate, or advanced conversation topics. Practice your speaking skills and topics for IELTS and TOEFL, English for Professional Development, or choose from their comprehensive list of conversation topics. Cambly offers monthly subscriptions for 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 which you can download to your phone or tablet.
Italki has a large catalog of online tutors from all over the world. Unlike Cambly and Preply, you can pay per lesson instead of buying a package. Italki will also provide a free 30 minute trial lesson with a tutor of our choice. Tutors will tailor the lessons to your goals and interests. Italki also offers a handy app for IOS and Android so you can learn on the go. An additional 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 a free trial lesson and connect to the Busuu community to chat with other language learners around the world, 100% free. Prices vary depending on the chosen tutor. You can upgrade to Premium or Premium Plus account to access all features. This includes submitting assignments for review and correction, as well as personalized 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 with live online lessons, original podcasts, interactive games and videos.
|Lots of different languages to choose from||Must be available for scheduled classes|
|24/7 access to tutors||Must have a good internet connection|
|Courses tailored to your needs||Must have their own device or have access to a device with camera and microphone|
|Choose from individual or group sessions||If you have to cancel a course, you risk losing your money|
|Can get real-time feedback|
|Schedule lessons to suit your schedule|
|Access to free resources and materials through the platform|
|Hundreds of platforms available|
|Flexible payment options|
|Guided through the material and the program|
Lessons at your own pace (asynchronous learning)
Udemy has pages of different courses taught by a variety of qualified individuals, organizations, educational institutions, and universities. You’ll also find plenty of free resources and tools to support your learning, test your knowledge, and practice what you’ve learned. All lessons are pre-recorded video lessons that allow you to choose when you study And for how long. You will not benefit from any face-to-face contact with individual tutors or an opportunity to connect with other learners for the most part Classes. So you’ll want to consider supplementing any course with other online learning tools, resources, and platforms.
Current in 3 months
Developped by Polyglot Benny Lewis, this self-paced course promises to have you speaking a new language in just three months. The course doesn’t actually teach you a language, but gives you tips, tricks and science on how to learn a new language. Use it alongside online language lessons. Impress your language tutor and classmates with how well you can speak it. Take part in language learning challenges or sign up for Benny’s Speak in a Week email course for free.
Global Exam is a site for those of you looking to take an internationally recognized certification in English. They have false papers, articles, tips, exercises and activities to help you prepare. You can choose between weekly, monthly, quarterly or annual payments to get full access to the sites services and resources.
|Lots of different languages to choose from||Real-time limited feedback|
|Can learn at their own pace||Payment not as flexible|
|Often have access to many free resources||Need to be motivated|
|Learn anytime that suits you-even 3am!|
|24/7 access to course materials, website, resources, and more|
|Can mix and match units and courses to suit your needs|
|Fun and engaging materials|
|Individual and group sessions with tutors|
|Able to contact tutors, teachers and staff 24/7|
|Certification from a respected or well-known educational institution|
|Some courses on platforms like Udemy are free|
To sync or not to sync…
It really depends on personal preferences, study style and language learning goals. There are amazing platforms, sites, and apps you can choose from. Whichever method you choose, you enjoy the conveniencethe flexibility and ease offered by distance language learning.