Remote Learning vs Face-to-Face – Which is better?

Learning online

Or does it even matter anymore…

When Covid swept the world back in 2020, the whole world seemed to stop. Dealing with this unknown, scary, and potentially deadly virus meant that the only way we could protect ourselves and others was simply to shut down.

But as we realised that this virus was not going to go away, and that we could only stop for so long, businesses around the world realised that they needed to change, adapt, and flex in order to keep afloat. At Dialogue, we changed. We crammed computers into our spare rooms, made phone calls sitting on the floor and made sure our (at least!) top halves were presentable for Zoom meetings. Our usual daily office hubbub was replaced by dog barks, delivery doorbells and washing machine spins.

For our language trainers, any regular face-to-face lessons came to a halt. Fortunately there was a plan B, and that involved delivering lessons remotely.

But not all language trainers have experience in teaching remotely. Whilst some openly embrace technology and will regularly keep themselves up to date with the latest interactive apps, others shy away and are adamant that the most effective way to teach is face-to-face, holding a trusty textbook. The rest will have some experience but may lack the confidence or the understanding to fully unlock the full benefits of teaching interactively online. Think back to 2020. How tech-minded were you and what were your thoughts on remote delivery?

Take a look at the pros and cons for both here.

But what about our learners? The thought of not being at work might sound fantastic to some and many will thrive on learning in the comforts of their own home.

However, not all learners will benefit from being taught remotely and may find themselves struggling to engage.


Learning online

From my personal perspective, I only have experience of being taught remotely as an adult. I do enjoy it – the benefits of being able to stay where I am, having everything around me and not having to stop, grab my things and physically move somewhere else is very appealing. I’m able to arrange my workload around the lessons, put my phone on DND; I feel relaxed and I’ve not experienced any technical issues which could hamper my lessons. My language trainer screen-shares PPTs, sends me video and song links and interactive apps for homework practice. If I get stuck or confused I only have to send an email and I’ll get the answer pretty quickly. So for me, so far so good, my lessons work and I’m happy.

Any face-to-face learning for me mostly took place at school. It was in large groups following a textbook. It was also a state school. If you didn’t get it, you moved on regardless and you worked it out yourself at home. It’s frustrating – you feel left behind and you lose confidence. You forget your folder, your book, and the dog ate your homework. Even in an adult group class, I can imagine there are some who would still feel like this – the fears of “holding people up” or “looking stupid” or “I’ve forgotten my textbook” is still very real, whatever your age!

Which leads me to say this: don’t get me wrong, I do still feel that face-to-face lessons and hard materials are hugely successful and I can’t deny that training in the flesh can make more of an impact, you can connect better to your trainer, and lessons can often be more engaging. Remote or face-to-face, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is finding the right teacher, who can determine the right materials and deliver your lesson in the most relevant way to you. The choice of in-person or remote learning is yours to make.

Whatever your views, there is no denying that remote learning is here to stay for some time yet and is likely to remain the preferred choice for many. But some things become classic for a reason and so if you do have the opportunity to take a face-to-face lesson, then take it and decide for yourself…

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