Advantages of E-Learning Over Traditional Instruction of a Second Language
By Julio Foppoli
This article gives us a glimpse at the many advantages of E-learning over traditional instruction in the teaching of Spanish as a Second Language.
Benefits of E-learning
When it comes to Second Language Acquisition, E-learning has definite benefits over traditional classroom training. While the most obvious are the flexibility and the cost savings from not having to travel or spend excess time away from work, there are also others that might not be so obvious.
* You learn at your own pace and much faster without depending on someone else’s progress. If something is too easy you can pass on to the next topic with the click of a button. If something seems too hard for you, you can devote as much time as you need to comprehend it entirely.
* You can work from any location and any time – E-learners can go through training sessions from anywhere, usually at anytime. This is crucial; in a world in which many busy professionals, business managers or just students need to travel on a regular basis, sometimes within their own country, and sometimes abroad, E-learning is the only choice to enable them to continue studying just as if they were at home. This of course, could never happen in a traditional course.
* For those students who need to improve their speaking or listening comprehension skills, E-learning, especially the one delivered via audio or video conferencing, is an unbeatable alternative. The student talking time is maximized up to 100%, something unthinkable in a traditional course in which every single student’s talking time is very restricted.
* When classes are delivered by native Spanish speakers via audio or video conferencing, Spanish learners can acquire the language almost as effectively as if they traveled to a Spanish speaking country. After all, they will be learning not just language but also culture, from someone who is originally from that very same setting. In addition, if the online instructor is a native Spanish speaker, the student can be practicing his or her listening comprehension skills in real time, around real contexts and listening to the same Spanish that is used outside the classroom. In most traditional classrooms, students are exposed to simplified recordings that have no resemblance to the way native speakers talk. In an online class with a native speaker of the language that does not happen. It is REAL Spanish, all the time.
* It can be updated easily and quickly – Online e-learning sessions are especially easy to keep up-to-date because the updated materials are simply uploaded to a server. In traditional instruction this is more difficult. Imagine a book that had to be reprinted in the light of new discoveries. It may take at ages to reach the book-stands, whereas online, changes and updates can be posted overnight.
* It can lead to increased retention and a stronger grasp on the subject – E-learning goes in line with the theory of multiple intelligences that basically states that we all learn differently. For example some people have visual memory, so retention is produced by watching, reading or visual stimuli. Some others are more musical, and rely on their auditory memory. And there are of course many other different ways in which people learn. E-learning is ideal due to the fact that in presents students with info from very different angles. This is because of the many elements that are combined in e-learning to reinforce the message, such as video, audio, quizzes, interaction, etc.
* Quick and fast revision of contents: at any time you can revisit or replay sections of the training that might not have been clear the first time around. It goes without saying that this is literally impossible in a traditional classroom setting.
These are just a few of the MANY substantial advantages of E-learning over traditional instruction when it comes to the teaching and learning of a second language. In future articles we will study each of these advantages in detail.