Is a Free Online ESL Class As Effective As a Traditional Class?


Quick Answer

According to a study conducted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, online education is as effective as traditional classroom education. Therefore, a free online ESL course can be a useful way to learn English. However, the quality of free online courses may vary, so a prospective student should obtain reviews of ESL classes to find the most suitable one.

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Full Answer

MIT, Harvard and Tsinghua University professors who studied the effectiveness of online learning found that students learned more online than they did in the lecture version of a course. In the study, everyone who participated in the online course experienced increases in their understanding of the subject. According to these conclusions, an online ESL course is an effective learning method. However, ESL learners need particular resources to optimize learning, so students should choose a free course that includes instruction in grammar and usage, spelling and pronunciation, and vocabulary and writing. Resources such as the opportunity to converse with English speakers, lists of slang terms and instructional videos can make a free online ESL course more effective.

The British Broadcasting Corporation offers a free online ESL course. Users can access the site in various languages, including Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese. Courses ranging from beginner to advanced are available, with a pronunciation section and educational videos. TalkEnglish.com offers lessons for businesspeople; audio files on the site aid students in understanding and pronunciation. LearnThat.org provides a spelling and vocabulary tutoring service called Learn That Word. It includes quizzes, instructional videos and multimedia learning modules. LearnThat.org offers links to lists of commonly misspelled words, SAT words and TOEFL words, which can help students prepare for English language tests.

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