Thanks to the development of technology and the internet  learning has been revolutionized with the development of online courses for subjects such as Spanish language and Spanish teacher training.  It is even possible to have one-to-one classes via video messenging such as skype meaning that the personalized face-to-face element of in-person classes has been transferred online. However, as technology becomes more and more advanced and as people lead busier lives is there still a place for in-person courses in the world of education or will they start to disappear in favor of online courses? In this post we will examine this question looking at the future of education.

There is no doubt that online courses present several advantages including the possibility to work at your own rhythm and to fit lessons around your other commitments. Nevertheless, I would first like to discuss why I think in-person courses are still valuable in the increasing technological world of education.  It must first be recognized that the specifications of some courses mean that they cannot be totally carried out online.  For example during cooking, carpentry and science courses you can learn the theory and information online but it is important to practically apply it getting into the kitchen , workshop and lab.  This opportunity to practice your skills and the in-person element of the courses will be essential in preparing you for a future career in these professions where you may have to carry out practical tasks.

Another reason why I think courses will not become completely online based is because of the social atmosphere of in-person courses.  When we go to face-to-face classes we are able to interact with fellow students who we can do activities with after the class. Although my spanish courses online has tried to mantain this student to student interaction through forums a lot of online courses where students have one-to-one lessons lack this element. We often make very close friends with people we meet on courses and in language schools and thus moving courses online will in my opinion, mean that our ability to create personal relationships and strong friendships will be damaged.

It must be added that although Instituto Hemingway and SchoolsandCourses are able to  offer high quality online as well as in-person courses for other education establishments who only offer classes in their centres to move to a fully online setup would be a logistical nightmare. Changes would have to be made to the ICT structures of the organisations implementing virtual classrooms and facilities so that the teachers and students can contact each other. Teachers and students would also have to be trained how to use these systems. It  would just not be practical for establishments which have complicated infaestructures in place or which have already established a wide range of in-person courses to completely change their focus to online classes.

If courses all became online changes would have to be made in teaching methods and this could lead to some valuable activities and classrooms layouts not being used by teachers. With online classes it is harder to carry out  group mingling and roleplays.

Both of these tasks are really important from a teaching perspective as they allow the students to interact with each other and to use the language they have learnt in semi-realistic settings. It must also be noted that some teachers who are used to in-person classes may find it difficult to adapt to a virtual classroom where they have to give lesson and adapt materials for individual students and where they cannot necessarily use activities which they are familiar with. If the world of education became fully online some teachers could be put off teaching seeking a new career.

It could also be argued that online courses do not immerse the students in the culture of the country  they are studying in,  in the same way as courses in institutions. For example  as part of the Spanish courses offered by SchoolsandCourses, a partner of my spanish courses online, students can participate in a program of cultural activities where they go out of the school to sample traditional food, watch films in Spanish and visit important monuments and historical sites.  These opportunities are essential in allowing the students to integrate into the culture of the country and to combat any culture shock they may experience. Evidently with online courses it may be more difficult to provide this service.

In view of everything discussed above it can be concluded that due to practical, social and didactical reasons it is unlikely that courses will fully move online. Instead online and in-person courses can exist and go hand in hand. If institutions have the right systems in place they can offer both online and in-person courses and in this way they can attract more and more students. In terms of what courses can be effectively transferred to the virtual world of education my spanish courses online is a good example to follow with its high quality and accredited Basic Hospitality , ELE Teacher (Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language) and Spanish language courses consistently satisfying students.

If reading this article has encouraged you to think about doing either an online or an in-person course I encourage you to investigate the course and offers available with SchoolsandCourses and my spanish courses online. The former of these organisations offers Spanish courses in many different Spanish cities. The latter provides several different online Spanish courses at reasonable prices.


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