Rocket Languages Blog Myths of online language learning! Part 2

Myths of online language learning! Part 2



Bonjour tout le monde !

Time to follow on from my last post a month ago, where I talked about a common misconception (myth) about learning a language online. That myth was that online courses are pretty much just text books online. The basic argument is that with the rapid increases in technology over the last few years the interactive components of a well-designed e-learning course are a long way removed from (and superior to) a text book, and if proper use is made of the extra functionality available online then it’s also a more efficient and enjoyable learning experience.

This week I want to look at another myth, that studying a new language in a classroom is better than studying online.

Having used both methods to (attempt to) learn a new language, I can say that both approaches have their pro’s and con’s. There’s no doubt that some people will be better suited to an online environment than a classroom, although in my experience, a mix of both can be a very effective way of learning a new language (or anything for that matter). These days online learning has arguably leaped a long way ahead of what can be offered in a traditional classroom setting.

So, lets look a little more closely at some key reasons for dispelling this myth and putting online learning ahead of the classroom.

1. Different learning styles

A huge advantage of online learning programs is that well-designed courses can cater for a variety of learning styles. This is particularly important in language learning, as learning in a classroom requires you to be good at retaining what can be quite complex information for that setting. Essentially a classroom tends to be a one size fits all approach. On the other hand, with an online course you can work out the learning style and regime that works best for you. This is a nice segue into my next point…

2. Mix and match

In a classroom setting you are often tied down to the set curriculum that the course provides. So, if you get ahead, or conversely behind, you can end up twiddling your thumbs or giving up in frustration.

With an online course you’re the master of your own destiny to a large degree. You can mix and match what you study or work on rather than having to follow a set curriculum

3. The best use of time

In a classroom you only get a small portion of the teacher’s or tutor’s time. This is especially problematic in a language learning classroom as speaking the language is so important, but the amount of time and attention you are likely to get specifically on your pronunciation is small. If a class lasts 60 minutes and there are ten students in the class then you are down to an average of 6 minutes at the absolute maximum of your teachers time. And its likely to be less than half of that as a considerable amount of time is spent introducing and explaining concepts. So, you could end up with only 2-3 minutes per class on your speech and understanding. Not a good use of an hour of your time, and it may even be longer than that if you have to travel to get to a class!

Also, with MP3 files and apps you can keep on learning whenever you feel like it. You’re not tied down to a classroom timetable. In saying that, having a set time to study is something that I would recommend even if you are learning online. A small amount every day has been scientifically  proven to be more effective than, say, a 1 hour session once per week.

4. Making mistakes

It’s easier to make mistakes without the fear of embarrassment when you’re studying online. Of course at some stage you need to get the confidence to speak your new language to someone else, but not everyone is suited to jumping in straightaway and being put on the spot in a classroom environment. Building confidence is a key part of learning a new language, no-one wants to sound silly particularly when they’re just starting out!

So, there you have it! Online learning clearly has considerable advantages over the traditional classroom setting, although a mix of the two can be very helpful in pushing your language learning forward!

Online language learning:

  • Caters better for different learning styles
  • Gives you the ability to mix and match whats being learned
  • Allows for more efficient use of time
  • Helps build confidence and avoids embarrassment!

Now let’s have a quick look at some recent comments from our members!

Here’s one from Joey Reyes of Texas, it really looks like he’s making the most of the points and badges system!

I am 9 years old and I LOVE Rocket Spanish!!! It is so cool to listen to my voice on the Rocket record. (My voice sounds SO funny!!)  :)  Can’t wait too beat my sister at getting the most points. :)

And here’s a review from Christopher Chen in the USA who is learning German

This is a great learning source for a ton of languages! This allows you to learn great! Paul and Nik always review what you have learned so you remember. My Level is a great way to test your skills! Let’s blast off into language learning!

And finally one from Douglas Greenlaw, also a Rocket German student

Rocket German is AWESOME! (I  have always wanted to learn German, as my grandmother was German.) The lessons and online resources are incredible!!! I am now easily learning German on a professional basis! I truly believe that this is definitely the best money that I ever spent on myself!!!

Remember you can add your own review at any time just click here!

All the best with your language learning!

A bientôt,
Jason Oxenham
CEO, Rocket Languages



I agree with Jason. One gets only a small part of an off-line instructors time and attention. The ability to go back and review sections that are weak is great. I studied Chinese and Arabic with Rosetta Stone and found them very wanting. I have learned so much more with Rocket courses and in a short time. One can go at the speed that he wants.


Thanks for the comment Alan!



I just finished reading a portion of your Advanced Learning Techniques section and I have to congratulate you on what I recognize as superbly-applied instructional design theory! (it's what I do for a living... the scaffolding, chunking, sequencing... practice, assessment, repetition...etc. etc.) It is not always obvious how well a course is designed... if it works, people learn... and I am happy to say that I am learning quickly and well. Great job!


Thanks for the feedback Kathleen! I will pass it onto the team!



Something I learned from past language training is that just when I think I am ready to move to the next step I will still go back and go through the most recent course again. Just one more time for extra effort and to solidify that lesson. I found that my over all base then is stronger as I progress. With RL it seems to be more enjoyable to repeat a lesson a few more times so this theory is really working out.


Hi Kathleen H21 I have found the Advance Learning Technique a great and valued help especially when I found I was losing my way a bit. I was helping a new user to our Italian section who is struggling and thinking of giving up and advised them to have a look at the Advanced Learning Technique. I hope they and others read your comments which I’m sure will help them stay the course. Ciao


I treat my Rocket Language lesson just like my wife and I treat our daily 6:30 am Yoga on TV.... Like it is a live class with live instructors. We actually hurry in the morning so we are ready when the Yoga starts. With Rocket Chinese I just block off 45 minutes ahead of time each day at a certain time and follow it to the minute. Treat it like a live class, don't be late and give it top priority, no distractions. Being fluent in other languages is so valuable in so many ways including mental and physical health and income and job promotions that it deserves top priority each day.