Learning French Online: 11 Underrated Benefits of Learning a Language Online
Learning French online is not as efficient as in person and I won’t learn as well.
Before teaching French and learning languages online, I used to hear my father 15 years ago talking about e-learning. Like most teenagers at that age, everything that came out of his mouth sounded old-fashioned ouais c’est ça! When I started teaching French as a second language in 2009, I was convinced that the only model to learn and teach a language effectively was face-to-face, mainly because it is a communication training.
In my head, it was easy: communication, human being, interaction, face-to-face. But times have changed and virtual learning has modernized the traditional classroom. In this article, I’ll share with you my own experience teaching and learning online. I’ll give you 11 amazing reasons to change your mind and give online learning a try.
My first experience as an online French teacher
When I taught my first private French class, I was aware of online tools and options but personally preferred in-person classes. Until one day, when one of my super students, Clara, who started with me from scratch, was leaving Brussels to London. We had reached the level B1 together and she didn’t want to start over again learning with someone else. I was honored. She knows my lack of experience teaching French online but insisted I give it a try. She wanted 5 trial lessons to see if the results would pay off. I wasn’t entirely sure it would work out, but curious because she was convinced it would.
The first class was awesome and soooo much fun. Throughout her training online, results were incredible. I was amazed to see how fast and convenient it was to share any kind of resources only with 2 clicks.
- Audio such as news and podcast
- Sharing screen
- Sharing documents online
Surprisingly, she reached the level C1 faster while learning French online, than face-to-face classes when she was in Brussels. qui l’eût cru?
Since that very first French class online, I obviously changed my mind about the efficiency of teaching virtually and I had the opportunity to teach classes globally to people based in Geneva, Dubai, Chicago, Madrid, London and New York. I also work with digital nomads and teachers and discovering where they are moving around to and attending classes is exciting.
Why I am confident online language classes work
I speak 7 languages and for the last two I learned, I decided to venture out from the other side of the screen by attending training in-person as a language student. Being a Belgian francophone, I have a weird relationship with Dutch. It took me 32 years to finally find the format I needed to learn and improve my Dutch: online classes. I’m also learning Portuguese with a teacher based in New York who I found on Instagram. With online learning, absolutely everything is possible.
I’ve also attended many online training courses about teaching skills in French, business development and digital content marketing. This type of learning has always been successful.
According to me, here are the underrated benefits of learning French online:
1. Flexibility in terms of schedule
Sometimes, I receive requests from clients who would like to schedule a late class. The last request I received was from a manager with a demanding job paired with a lot of responsibilities. He wanted to have his private French classes at 9 pm in Paris. As you probably know, at 9pm, most of Parisian teachers don’t want to teach/work anymore. Thanks to my powerful network of private online French teachers around the world, he was assigned with a French online teacher based in … Rio de Janeiro where it was 4 pm, at 9 pm in Paris. It was the perfect match.
2. Flexibility in terms of location
You can have your class while traveling, in your office, in a coffee shop, at home. Your classes follow you. I used to teach a flight attendant and it was so much fun following her and finding out where she was attending the class from. It was also a convenient way for her to remain committed to her learning. You don’t have to be based in, or travel to Paris, Brussels or Geneva to practice French.
3. Flexible in terms of frequency
You can attend a course once, twice a week. For one hour, every day, once every two weeks, … It’s really up to you. Especially if you choose private online courses.
4. Easy to access
You can have classes on your tablet, computer, or phone.
5. Uncountable tools available
You can attend your class on Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, or Google Hangouts. I even teach on YouTube, Whatsapp and Facebook. Even some of my intermediate level students enjoy conversation classes over the phone. The options we have to connect in 2020 are endless.
6. Amazing and unlimited virtual resources available
You can enjoy high-quality material in one click :
- Press article
- Short videos with subtitles
- Online course with great design
7. All your resources and materials in one place
Personally, I use Google Drive to share materials. Teachers also use Dropbox, Onedrive or iCloud. The material is easier to organize on a computer rather than books and hard-copies. It’s also amazing for people who hate carrying books and binders everywhere or tend to lose misplace stuff. Another huge added value is the ecological aspect of online classes. Your material can be 100% digital.
8. It’s an amazing time saver*
You reduce the time to commute for you and your teacher. I agree when people say if you lose money you can also make money but when you lose time, it’s over. Your time is precious. Online classes are the best for that.
9. Easier to focus
Being in front of a computer and attending a course online reduces outside interactions. It’s exactly the same when you watch a series or have to write an important email, there is absolutely nothing around you that can prevent you from focusing on what you need to do.
10. Amazing to avoid loneliness
With my team of teachers, we help digital nomads, solopreneurs, stay at home moms, recently located expats, former expats, remote workers, to name a few. Online language courses provide the sense of a friendly environment and of being part of a community. Learning French online and other new languages allows you to join a new community and online classes can increase connecting globally.
11. Great opportunity to give yourself some fresh air
Whatever you do in your life, it’s also great to give yourself and your brain some fresh air and to communicate in a new language.
In my opinion, the most important part about an online course is not the ability of the teacher to utilize new technology, but the willingness to share their native language with whatever support is available. This flexibility is invaluable. I don’t know of many jobs in the world where you can enjoy expertise in so many different formats. Virtual language classes are definitely the best.
And you? What has your experience been with online classes and virtual learning? Join my weekly newsletter below and share your experience with me.