With so many options to study English online, you might be considering whether this option is good for you, as it is far more flexible. Back in the day, when thinking about learning online, the first thing that would come to mind is presentations or quizzes, activities that we would have to do on our own and then compare to a pre-established answer. Nowadays, however, there is another very important element in online learning, the live, synchronous one.
Live learning allows the teacher to connect with students and engages them more by adding a human element. It is especially good for learners who are not self-taught or who are used to the traditional model of education where they have a teacher in front of them. This element is particularly important in any course, as it gives the teacher the chance to give feedback and correct students in a way it is not possible through a quiz.
In many ways, live online lessons are similar to traditional face-to-face classes, as the teacher can present information and interact with a group of students in real time. In other ways, however, there are some important differences. Let’s take a moment to explore them.
In this context, the first difference is classroom management. In a physical classroom, the teacher is free to move the learners around and group them as he/she feels fit. This gives them the freedom to engage students with activities where they can interact with each other. In an online setting, it is up to the teacher to create activities that have the same amount of engagement between them, usually through different online resources. This is paramount in the case of lessons one-on-one where the student-teacher interaction is direct.
The second difference is the resources. In online classes, the lack of visual feedback is a common challenge for teachers. When presenting directly in a classroom, a teacher is able to adapt his/her delivery based on the visual feedback from the class. A room filled with bored faces is a sign the teacher needs to introduce a more interesting activity or adapt their class to engage the audience more. Teachers who are not used to using technology in the classroom do not have a problem in a live setting, as they can replace this resource such interesting activities. However, things change when they want to transition to online education as they feel clueless regarding what tools to use to create the same amount of engagement. Good news is: there are plenty of online resources that will provide the student with a great experience.
To summarize, while there are differences between learning online or in the classroom, it is in the hands of the teacher to deliver great results in each. A good teacher will know how to lead an online lesson in a way the student feels as committed and immersed as if he was in a live classroom.