The Main Differences Between Online TEFL Courses and In-Class TEFL Courses
As time goes on, everything evolves, including technology. And with the rise of new technological innovations, education has done it’s best to adapt to such innovations to cater to the needs of its students. Today, I will be talking about the pros and cons of online and onsite TEFL learning and which one is the most suitable.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Allister J. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Let us begin with online learning:
As far as pros go, the biggest one is flexibility. When students take their courses online, they are in complete control of how, when, and where they intend to complete them within an allotted time frame. Such an option is perfect for students who are working and would not be able to fit in a schedule to take such classes in a formal classroom setting. I have been taking my TESOL courses online and because of the level of control I have in completing my courses, I feel no pressure at all.
Another pro to take into consideration is cost. Online classes cost significantly less than onsite classes as the materials provided to students(for instance, ebooks and learning videos) are always in digital format. Also, depending on where the student lives and the distance from their home to the designated classroom, they can save a significant amount of money that would have been spent on transportation fare, food, and other expenses.
When it comes to cons, I believe the first thing that comes to mind is the lack of interaction with classmates or an actual teacher present for brainstorming sessions. While students are provided materials necessary to learn and complete their courses, it can only go so far. Without peers to interact with and without motivation from a teacher or a facilitator, it can affect the motivation of the student. This con applies to those who have little to no background in teaching and would not be able to get a chance at practicing what they have learned in preparation for the real thing.
When it comes to onsite learning, the training provided will be most certainly thorough and rigorous. Unlike college or university classes, TEFL classes will usually have an average of 12 students or less so that each student’s learning needs can be easily catered to by a facilitator. In addition to teaching the lessons properly, students will be allowed to show what they have learned beyond cognizance through teaching simulations where an assortment of scenarios will be laid out for the teacher-in-training to be made aware of and how best to handle said situations. Through onsite learning, they will be more prepared to face the real thing once they have successfully landed a teaching job at the school of their choice.
Also, onsite learning provides a very important benefit compared to online learning: networking. When doing courses among peers, the student can easily interact with can make the learning experience much easier to deal with as opposed to completing it alone via online courses. And the probability of finding more job opportunities is significantly higher when one person knows the right people to reach out to.
However, the big drawback to onsite learning is cost. Onsite tuitions are higher than online tuitions due to the students using the resources provided to them, such as the classroom and all the relevant tools technology used for teaching. In addition to cost, there is a matter of scheduling that may be difficult to adjust too especially if the student is employed. It would be difficult for students to balance between their attendance for work and their attendance for school and would be forced to compromise one for the other.
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In conclusion, the choice between pursuing onsite versus online learning can be based on a student’s needs. If a student has little to no background in education, currently not employed, or if the commute to the classroom is not an issue, then onsite learning is ideal. On the other hand, if the student already has some background in teaching handy, in both having a degree and actual work experience, then online learning will serve them well.
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