Teaching English online and in person; 3 wondrous differences


To compare teaching English online and in person, many factors should be taken into account. These days due to the Corona virus pandemic, teaching English online has become the only way of pursuing education.  The sudden transform to this method of teaching English caused many English learners confusion, discouragement and several problems. 

Many language learners compare the new methods of teaching with the tradition ways of teaching English. In this article, the differences between online and in-person education are discussed alongside their advantages and disadvantages. 

Teaching English online and in person

Nowadays teaching English has so many different methods, and institutions and teachers use a variety of different ways for teaching English. The outbreak of the Coronavirus and the closure of many educational institutions in the country have led many foreign language learners to attend online language classes to continue their education programs. These days, it is possible for language learners to easily and with simple facilities such as the Internet and computer and with just a few clicks, participate in online language classes and enjoy learning the language with their friends.

The main question that always arises in the minds of those interested and applicants in the field of online education is to compare the effectiveness of teaching English online with face-to-face training. The answer to this key question determines a learner’s decision to choose between online language training and face-to-face language training.

In the studies conducted by researchers on the effectiveness of teaching English online and the comparison of two types of traditional and online education to teach the same topics, interesting results have been obtained. In these studies, individuals were selected and categorized according to their gender, age, the preferred method of teaching English and familiarity with the selected teaching method, and issues such as the effectiveness of the skills learned, the scores obtained during the semester, and the end of the semester was examined. Both teaching methods (online and in-person) are taught by one instructor and the same educational resources are used.

The results of these studies showed that there was no significant difference in the scores obtained during the semester and end of the semester, the quality of homework, and scores obtained for class activities between participants in face-to-face and teaching English online. However, the average scores of people who attended online classes were slightly higher. In addition, 69% of people who attended online classes found teaching English online to be more effective than face-to-face classes.

Teaching English in person

Traditional or face-to-face training takes place in the classroom. There is a teacher or instructor in the classroom who is responsible for transferring knowledge and information to the students.

The teacher expects students to record what has been taught to them in their minds. The teachers also assign the students with homework and assignments to help them deepen their understanding. Today, with the advent of technology in the teaching English process, many teachers and students still prefer face-to-face teaching.

In-person education requires  teachers and students to meet at specific times in school or classrooms. Face-to-face training is an effective way to learn knowledge and skills by learning methods such as reading, writing, discussion, project, group work, and practices are combined.

In face-to-face learning, there is a live interaction between the learner and the teacher, which leads to effective communication. Learning English in person helps students to organize their studies and keep up with the lessons much easier. 

Teaching English in person has long been common and known as the main method of education for years. One of the factors that makes the in-person classes important is that students take it more seriously than any other teaching method. Since they have to be physically present to take a traditional course, they think they are spending a lot of time learning. However, attending class in person does not always guarantee that you will be more focused and successful.

5 Benefits of face-to-face education:

• You can focus better on your learning in the classroom because you are less distracted by distance learning.

• Ask your teachers and classmates for more real-life examples and stories about subjects.

• You may feel more comfortable to learn in a familiar, traditional classroom setting.

• You may be able to get more accurate information in the classroom due to direct contact with the teacher.

• You can work with people with different specialties for problem-solving and team building.

Teaching English online

Learning English online means participating in classes online and electronically. Teaching English has gained a great deal of attention due to the current situations.  As the name implies, teaching English online is an educational method that can be used to receive English education and increase skills by connecting to the Internet and electronic devices. Hence the tools used instead of office and books and bags, tablets and mobiles and computers.

English learners can participate in online teaching English courses using a personal computer. The online teaching English method also requires teachers and students to be online in the class at a specific day and time. Online classes are more flexible than face-to-face classes. Students can join the classes at home, at work or even when traveling. 

Communication with the instructor is done virtually through video conferencing, content, videos, and educational images, and there is no face-to-face communication. Educational materials are also provided in the form of videos, images, infographics, and text files.

In online teaching English courses, the learners can attend the courses for a specific period of time (for example, three months) and learn the required materials through instructional videos that are already prepared by the instructors.

Differences of teaching English online and in-person

In general, the features that exist in e-learning, distinguish it from the previous form of education, which was teaching English in-person. Of course they differ in various fields. But the three most important ones are: 

Paperless textbook

As mentioned, in comparing teaching English online and face-to-face education, one difference is the type of educational data presentation.

English textbooks have been replaced by audio and video files and textbooks. In addition, the classroom has been replaced by computers and tablets. 

Learn English anytime, anywhere

Flexibility in teaching English online is one of the key features of English e-learning which allows people with different circumstances to coordinate their training programs with other routine life programs.

This is a great opportunity for people who work. They can progress their job and education at the same time.  The “anytime and anywhere” feature of this educational method has made it possible for people to participate in teaching English classes at any time of the day and wherever they are, using a mobile phone or computer.

Going to school is free of charge

When comparing these two types of teaching English methods in terms of “cost”,  although the cost of virtual education seems high in the first place, by calculating the total costs of traditional education, virtual education is more cost-effective.


To sum up the points mentioned in this article, in comparison with virtual and face-to-face teaching English, virtual education is more beneficial. Teaching English online is flexible and less expensive than traditional education. 

The difference between teaching English virtually and face-to-face, the ways to assess the students can also be mentioned. Overall, as mentioned before, they differ in various fields. At last, for now it seems like online education is considered as the main type of education.


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