Learning English can be a challenging task, but necessary for those who wish to study and work in the United States and other English speaking countries. English as a second language courses are helping people around the world achieve their English-speaking goals. With the many online ESL courses available, learning English has never been easier.
But can one truly learn a language online? According to Dayna Verstegen, senior manager of global marketing for Global English, the answer is yes. With the advancement in technology, and the need for an alternative to the classroom, learning ESL online is not only truly possible, but convenient.
How Online ESL Programs Work
Most programs, like Peak English for instance, are done by using training tools such as voice message boards, games, online dictionaries, forums and online chats with students and teachers.
Materials needed by students vary by school, but all require the need for an Internet connection, speakers and certain system requirements. At Global English, students are encouraged to have a headset and microphone. Instructors are always available online to speak with students. According to Verstegen, this will allow the student and teacher to have a conversation over the Internet, much like over the telephone.
Online Language Schools & Programs
There are many options available, from beginner to advanced, to business-specific and teaching ESL.
First, the student needs to determine which course is for them. Many schools offer levels and courses that concentrate in one area. Get ESL Online, for example, offers a one-month course in grammar, listening, reading or writing. To diagnose the students' weakness Get ESL, like many other online ESL schools, offers a free diagnostic test. They also offer a two- or 12-month comprehensive course covering all four areas.
Those interested in teaching ESL might consider The University of Phoenix Online Masters of Arts in Education - ESL. A unique aspect of this course is the first class in the 43-credit course teaches the student how to go to school online. Unlike the average class length of six weeks, this one-credit class is only three weeks long. Leonard Taub, University of Phoenix enrollment counselor doesn't recommend students double up classes. He said because the classes are so concentrated, students are considered full-time if they are taking one class. The average time a student will complete the course is 87 weeks.
Here is a sample list of online ESL programs:
- Biz English
- My English Diary
- Rosetta Stone
- Eastern Washington University's English Language Institute
- Indiana University
- Northeastern University
- San Jose State University
- University of California at Berkley
- University of Washington
- American English Institute
- The Boston Language Institute
- English to Go
Paying for an Online ESL Education
The cost of an ESL online education varies by school. It all depends on the type and length of program. A one-month single skill course from Get ESL Online costs just $29. The 12-month comprehensive (four skills) costs $495. Biz English offers four and eight week courses for $298 and $498 respectively, while the six week teacher certification costs $750. A $100 deposit is due to reserve a space in the teacher certification course and the remaining $650 is due before the first day of class.
Anita Sokmen, director of English for Heritage Language Program Online at the University of Washington, said while financial aid isn't available for their five online ESL classes, costing $635 per course, she's found that many employers will pay for them.
Many programs offer a free trial or a money back guarantee.
The University of Phoenix Masters of Education – concentration in ESL is $19,995, $465 per credit. Financial aid is available for students. Before enrolling, prospective students can work with an enrollment counselor to determine if they qualify for financial assistance.
More and more, international business is conducted in English, according to Verstegen. The chance of being offered a position or a promotion increases if the employee or potential employee can speak English.
“If you want to move up - become a manager - you need to be able to communicate in English,” said Verstegen.
There is also a high demand for ESL instructors, especially in areas, such as California and Texas that have a high population of non-native English speakers.
Most students are presented a certificate at the end of their course, thus allowing them to take it with them to prove their skills.
Whether you're looking to study in the United States, increase your chances for a promotion, or teach English to foreign students, there are many ESL opportunities online that can offer students a chance to learn at their own pace.