Web-Based Language Learning VS School-Based Language Learning


It's true that school-based learning has always been great simply because it’s the foundation of education. If the so-called online learning doesn’t exist it will remain as the greatest method of learning for as long as there’s human existence. 

But let’s admit that changes are necessary so we don’t stick with the same one repeatedly. In order to create the next high-minded, intellectual, and quality generation we need the greatest platform. 

It’s like choosing which you like best; your teacher using chalk and talk, read from the textbook method, use a projector, or any other modern tools method? Put aside the ‘it depends on the ability of teachers to use it and the extent of its effectiveness’ for a while.

There are reasons why God creates yes and no, good and bad, left and right, etc. It’s called CHOICES. We are allowed to choose the best of the best and make a decision. The same goes for students. Each student has their own preference. Below are the advantages and disadvantages of both methods.

The Environments

Raise Hands

Every student has a different level of understanding. I agree if we don’t understand something we should ask our teacher. 

However, it’s a bit uncomfortable to keep asking during the lesson fearing that it would disrupt the teacher and not to forget other students may feel irritated.

It’s not like we can’t go to the staff room and ask individually. That’s not the problem. In class, there’s no room to repeat today’s lessons. While web-based learning has that option. Some of us have a short-term memory and repeating lessons every day helps a lot.

Students have unique personalities. There are the active ones and the shy ones. If I can’t be the active one in class the least I could do is be active in a virtual classroom.


It’d be true to say that most people prefer face-to-face conversations when they interact with their friends. In terms of learning a new language, it’s even more important because it really builds your confidence in knowing how your friends react when you speak to them in that language.

Traditional classroom learning offers face-to-face conversations for instance public speaking and doing presentations in front of your classmates. It gives you meaningful experiences and memories you won’t forget

Online learning, however, offers face-to-face conversations too but not presentations. Doing a one-on-one conversation is nothing compared to public speaking in front of many people. Would you still have the same confidence then?

Learn At Your Own Pace

I’m one of those students when it comes to certain subjects I’m quite slow. When the teacher moves too fast I’m slowly falling behind and ended up losing interest. Catching up is another problem.

Girl Write Slowly

With online learning, I can learn at my own pace. It doesn’t matter if it takes weeks to understand so long as I don’t lose my interest and not have to worry about causing trouble to anyone and am stress-free from pressure.

Instant Feedback

When in doubt we tend to want the on-the-spot answer. In school-based learning, during the lessons, we can ask our teacher if we need clarification or immediate answers on certain topics. Sadly, we can’t do the same with online language learning. 

Although there are some online language courses or platforms that have instant feedback it doesn’t have the can-you-elaborate-more-on-this option (provided that you’re not using Skype or have a one-on-one interaction).

Easy To Access

Traditional learning allows you to learn on certain days and times. When it’s time for school or semester breaks and holidays you can’t gain access to it because your teachers are on vacation. Any question that needs immediate answer has to be put on hold.

Easy Access Online

Different from web-based learning. Since it’s an online program and accessible through computers and mobile phones you can access it at any time and anywhere you want. You can set your own day and time with it.

Reality speaking some students don’t have access to internet connections even though they have devices. Some do have both but don’t know how to use them so it’s quite useless too.

Social Interaction

One of the many reasons why school-based learning remains effective is because of the we-are-in-this-together environment. In a classroom, students do their tasks together such as doing classwork, taking tests and exams together, etc. They have a group of friends with them. 

While online learning we pretty much do every single thing alone. But if you’re a self-motivated and self-directed type of student who likes to do your work alone with no disturbances whatsoever this is perfect for you.


People who aren’t native in their second language tend to have an accent (not all but some). I had many English teachers during high school and college; a local teacher, an African teacher, an American teacher, and a Kiwi teacher. And yes, all of them have an accent. 

I honestly loved my American teacher and especially my Kiwi teacher because of their accent. I always tried to imitate the way they spoke. I loved the way they pronounce certain words.

At school, we don’t really have the option to choose our language teacher. I’m not saying I had a problem with my English teachers but like I said earlier everyone has their own preference and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Go Home Teacher Board

When it comes to learning a new language it’s good to have a native speaker/ teacher of that particular language. I believe many people out there will most likely agree with me on that. 

The best thing about online language learning is it allows you to choose your own language teacher. The advantage of having a native teacher might influence your speaking skills because you’re used to watching and hearing the way they speak.

Same Interest, Different Culture

Most schools offer English as their second language and add that to the list of compulsory subjects. The thing is not all students interested in learning English. They learn it simply because it’s compulsory.

To learn something you have to have an interest. Without that, it’s merely just an obstacle to go through to the next level. You might pass your English but you know nothing.

Why? Because you memorize everything in the textbook and don’t give a damn what it’s about let alone to understand it. It’s supposed to be ‘I learn this because I want to and it’s my passion’ don’t you think?

“I think the big mistake in schools is trying to teach children anything, and by using fear as the basic motivation. Fear of getting failing grades, fear of not staying with your class, etc. Interest can produce learning on a scale compared to fear as a nuclear explosion to a firecracker.”- Stanley Kubrick

The other scenario is you’re interested in English but your classmates don’t. So, whenever you want to discuss and/or practice English with one another you just can’t. That’s why it’s always good to have a friend of the same interest. It makes language learning fun and happening!

With online learning, you meet with lots of people from different backgrounds, cultures, and stories but all have the same interest. It’s fascinating, isn’t it?

While learning their languages you indirectly expose yourself to cultural differences. One thing for sure is you won’t be able to do this at school because you most likely share the same culture with your classmates.

Do Your Own Homework

Write Chalk And Board

Did you protest when your teacher gave you homework? I bet you did (maybe a little). I know the importance of homework. It strengthens your understanding of today’s lessons. 

With web-based learning, you’re responsible for your actions since it’s your passion. The best thing about it is you have to do your own homework in a way you like because no one is going to do it for you. 

However, sometimes it’s good to be pressured while doing something because it motivates and challenges us to complete the work given the specific time. Besides, life without a challenge would be boring, don’t you agree?

“There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm” - Willa Cather

In my opinion, it doesn’t matter which one is better because, at the end of the day, it’s the student that matters.

Even if both types of language learning methods have teachers with years of experience and skilled at what they’re doing but somehow the students don’t feel motivated then you know it’s none of their faults.

Phew! This is quite a challenging topic.

Do you agree or disagree with the points above? Have you ever heard of the term Blended Learning? What’s your view on that? Would it be good to blend both types of learning together? Let me know what you’re thinking. Share them below.

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  1. Jason says:

    You’re welcome! I agree the teachers should help everyone. The talent of a real teacher is to be able to get every child to achieve to the very best of their ability.
    Love your website!

    • Meina says:

      Hi Jason.

      Yes, I thought so. The term favoritism shouldn’t be in a teacher’s diary. I know it’s inevitable, but the teacher should learn to not show it to their students. They should be treated equally.

  2. Jason says:

    Great Post!
    Education has always been traditionally used as a method to get the establishments message or indoctrination into as many passive and young citizens as possible – avoiding all that irritating questioning authority later in life…lol

    Thankfully times have changed, as a Principal, I spent a great deal of time recruiting staff who almost didn’t care about tradition and who 1) loved the kids and just wanted to do all they could to ensure their students did as well as they could, 2) taught and offered blended learning technique, 3) were open to learning themselves and 4) could accept that in terms of technological methods of education the kids probably knew more than us and it was ok to accept that and be the learner..,.often students gain more benefit and ultimately learn better if we allow them to be the expert and teach us. That way we see their preferred learning style and can adapt our future delivery.

    Thanks for a great post.

    • Meina says:

      Hi Jason.

      Some of my university professors fit the criteria you’ve mentioned haha. They always told us about using modern technology in traditional learning so that the student won’t get bored by just listening to their professors talking all the time. They insisted that when teaching there should be a two-way interaction in class and not a one-way interaction and it should be student-centered and not the opposite.

      Sadly, most of my high school teachers used traditional types of learning. They didn’t even bother putting an effort to use modern technology. To make matter worse, there were few of them that only pay attention to students that had good grades a.k.a the “intelligent” ones. They should focus more on the opposite one. Besides, a good teacher is one that able to teach and make the not-so-intelligent students into intelligent, don’t you think?

      Kids nowadays have been exposed to technology in such early age. So, I totally agree, teachers should be open to accept the fact that their students might be more advance in terms of technology than they.

      Thank you for sharing your opinion. Good to have a principal point of view on this matter =)

  3. Doru says:

    Great article because I’m trying to learn how to write in English and I totally agree with you. English is not my first language and I try to learn from the web, without a teacher.
    Thanks for sharing your research about this topic.
    I wish you a very good day.

    • Meina says:

      Hi Doru,

      Neither do I. Frankly, I don’t have that much confidence when it comes to speaking in English, let alone write. But as time passed by, I slowly gained confidence with the help of my peers and teachers. So, School-Based Learning isn’t that bad at all. I’ve read many success stories through my virtual classroom colleagues and that actually helps boost my motivation.

      Thank you for your comment and you’re welcome =)

  4. Kasun says:

    Hmm… You have picked up some important points to discuss. Those things should be considered when making choices. I guess, if we consider those factors, the better way is decided upon the student’s capacity, interests, behavior and other internal factors.

    • Meina says:

      Hi Kasun,

      You’re absolutely right on that one. I couldn’t agree more with what you said. If school or even better, teachers start to consider those factors, that’d make thousands of students happier.

      It’s not that some of these factors haven’t been done, rather it’s more like finding ways to make these more effective than ever. Or you could say prevention-is-better-than-cure kind of way.

  5. Angel says:

    Dear Meina,

    It’s true that school-based learning has always been great simply because it’s the foundation of education. I simply love this starting introduction saying. 🙂 I had to take Spanish language lessons directly in Junior High and High School. Had 5 years of it. But now I barely remember much, but the basic terms in Spanish. In 2009, I had this Biology teacher that knew several different languages. He knew English, Spanish, Pa-pimento (language of Aruba a Caribbean Island), French, German, Polish, Italian, and Russian. He was in the army.

    Speaking along the lines of language, one must master 3 aspects, correct? The ability to speak it, read it, and write it? When I came to America at age 5, I hardly knew any English and it was quite difficult to communicate with my teachers and students. So, what they did was put me through ESL, English as a Second Language Class. In no time at all, I picked up on it and learned my way through becoming a prolific writer and among other things.

    Thank you so much for a great Blog Post Article Meina. 🙂 Keep it up. 🙂

    Wishing you all the best with your online success above and beyond the horizon,


    • Meina says:

      Hi Angel,

      You’re so very lucky. I wished my school had that too. If I’ve taken Spanish Language lessons in high school, my Spanish skills would be at the same level as my English skills 🙁 To be honest, language is the only thing that interests me.

      Wow! Your teacher was indeed a polyglot. That’s correct, one must master the 3 aspects. So far, I’ve only been able to master reading and a bit of writing in Spanish. Still have a long way to go. Now that you’ve mentioned ESL, I wonder why my teacher didn’t assign me in that class, as my English wasn’t that great and my grammar was all over the place 😀

      Anyway, thank you for your comment and sharing it with us 🙂

  6. emily says:

    Hi there

    Great review of different learning environments. There are, for sure pros and cons for most of them. Here you seem to be talking about learning languages, but it could apply to all subjects. I have done the traditional brick and mortar education as well as the online combined with face to face education. The latter suited me as I could go at my pace (which was often faster) and still had support from peers and professors.

    • Meina says:

      Hi Emily,

      I just concentrated on the language subjects though. I don’t dare to touch on the other subjects as a whole just yet 🙂 I’m like you also. Online language learning suits me well than traditional learning. Still, there’s something about SBL that I can’t seem to let pass away even though I find OLL is the best. Anyways, thank for your comment 🙂

  7. Esteban says:


    Very interesting article here. I myself love learning languages and I speak about 5.
    I keep wanting to improve the ones I already know, but then again, I want to add and learn more.
    Maybe it’s time for me to pick up something online.
    Most of my languages got taught through school and friends/ family.
    Great post and I agree it doesn’t matter if its online or in classes, the importance is to take the step to learn the language full stop!


    • Meina says:

      Hi Esteban.

      Speaks 5 languages? That’s amazing and… seems a lot to handle 🙂 By the way, what are those 5 languages? Any tips on how to maintain your vocabulary?

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