Learning a new language
Language schools - schools that teach one or more languages - fall into two categories: those located in the student's home country, that allow the use of native language in day-to-day life; and those located in a foreign country, which force the student to be wholly immersed in the language of study.
The term "language school" can be used fairly broadly. It can encompass ESL (English as a second language) schools as well as schools that teach other languages.
Online Language Schools
Online learning is, in many ways, primarily a one-way process: Students log in to a website and access their course materials, read articles and watch video lectures. Even with student / professor interaction via e-mail and telephone, it is still difficult to achieve the same level of personal attention as students generally receive in a classroom setting. Because fluency in a new language is so dependent on interpersonal interaction, the development of a strictly online language program was not easy. For this reason, courses combining online learning with in-class lessons have long been the norm for students wishing to learn a new language.
However, online learning is constantly evolving and computer technology is continually improving. New innovations such as videoconferencing allow for real time interaction between classmates and instructors, even if they reside on opposite sides of the planet. As traditional teaching methods are altered to meet the abilities (and restrictions) of today's technology, the limitations on the efficiency and effectiveness of online language education are beginning to disappear.
Remember, when evaluating an online language school, take a close look at its website. Look for a professional image, a fast response to inquiries and lots of content. While this may not guarantee quality, it can provide you with an indicator of what's likely to come.
Not everyone who wants to learn a new language will be comfortable doing so online. Many choose the classroom setting, where they will have the support of other students and face-to-face interaction with their instructors. Others decide to combine studying a new language with traveling abroad, where they can immerse themselves fully in the language. In short, there's no single best way to learn a new language - choose the option that's best for you, your lifestyle and your goals.