Woman weighs her options of online learning vs traditional

English Classes: Online vs. Traditional

Learning English as a Second language can be pretty tough, but taking classes can make learning the language much easier. Should you take English online classes or traditionally? There are pros and cons to both, but here are the biggest differences between the two.


Traditional ESL classes don’t need to be expensive. There may be free classes offered by the state or local schools to teach United States citizens how to speak English. However, if your plan is to go to a university or college, you could pay quite a bit. Colleges offer intensive programs that last anywhere from five to 14 weeks. The fees will vary based on your location. For example, the Worcester State University charges $1,800-$3,450 just for the full-time tuition.

Online English courses can be less expensive and often free. There are many websites designated to teaching people English as a Second Language, such as ESLGo. Udemy allows students to search for classes to learn ESL in their own home for as low as $50 per class. Universities are also much cheaper, as well. For example, Sacred Heart University charges $480 for each program level plus other fees. Overall, English online courses are much cheaper than learning English in a traditional classroom setting.


Pronunciation is one of the hardest aspects of any language. English pronunciation can seem difficult, but an in-class teacher would be more than happy to teach you how to say any word or phrase properly. In class, teachers can pick up on your pronunciation immediately and instruct you, but while taking the course online, your teacher has no idea if you’re saying the word improperly. Over time, this could teach bad speech habits.


Traditional classes allow you to ask your teacher or professor any questions that pop up in your head. There is a designated time when the class meets, and you can ask any questions you have at that point. However, when you take a class online, you’re limited to email. It can be hard to determine whether you’ll get a reply from your teacher, which could leave your question unanswered. Depending on the problem, it may keep you from completing coursework.


A traditional in-class setting requires you attend class on a regular basis at a specified location. This can be inconvenient for someone that doesn’t live close to the meeting place. Online classes give you the chance to attend class wherever and whenever is convenient for you.

Sometimes, online classes have meeting times, but you can visit at home in your pajamas if you choose. This is incredibly convenient for someone that lives several hours away or if they have a busy schedule that prevents them from attending a traditional class on a regular basis.

The Verdict

In the end, it depends on your learning style and willpower. Online courses often require determination to finish your coursework, whereas traditional English classes have a set time where you’d finish assignments. Being in class could help visual and audio learners if your home has a lot of distractions. Someone with an extremely busy schedule may not have the ability to go to class every day, making online English classes best. In conclusion, there are pros and cons to both, and your learning style affects whether traditional or online English courses would work for you.

Last Updated: December 13, 2018