Whatever your new year’s resolution was this year, it probably didn’t involve staying at home all day. For many of us, plans have changed – and now we’re looking for something new to do. Schools and language academies all over the world have closed their doors, but the good news is – we’re still ready to teach you!

At Oxford House we love to look on the bright side of life and find the silver linings. So here are six benefits of learning English online that you may not have thought about before.

 

1. You can learn from the comfort of your sofa

 

We’ve never seen a student show up at Oxford House in their pyjamas. But that’s actually an option if you’re taking an online class! That’s right, one of the biggest advantages of learning English online is that you can do it from the comfort of your own home.

We recommend spending some time creating a study space at home that inspires you. For example, you can choose to sit by the window, put on some light music or snuggle under a blanket if you want to.

Sure, your “classroom” might feel a little empty – but don’t worry, you’ll still be able to interact with your teacher and other students. In fact, many students find they talk to their classmates more than usual once they start conversations online!

If you’d like some help, check out our post with 9 top tips for studying at home.

 

2. You can use several resources at the same time

 

Online classes, by definition, are spent in front of a computer or tablet – and there are plenty of ways to take advantage of this. For example, when your teacher mentions a name, a place or an expression you haven’t heard of, you can Google it to find out more. You can have several tabs open and look at images and videos of a topic to help you remember it better. You can look up definitions, synonyms, and grammar rules anytime during a class.

And you can take advantage of other online tools, such as:

Linguee.com, which allows you to see translations in context online

The Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, which gives you definitions and helps with pronunciation

Wikipedia, which allows you to find out more about a topic and read about it in more than one language

Using several resources is a great way to boost the effectiveness of learning and is one of the most important benefits of learning English online.

6 Benefits to Studying Online - Resources | Oxford House Barcelona
 

3. You can improve all four skills

 

There are plenty of ways of practising and improving your speaking, listening, reading and writing skills online.

Speaking

With the help of video calls, you can have live conversations, just as you would in a physical classroom. We recommend setting up an English conversation with your classmates on popular video conferencing apps like Zoom or Webex. You can also use Google Hangouts, which allows you to include live captions (subtitles), making it easier to understand each other.

You can also record and send voice notes to your friends and classmates on apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. This has the advantage of allowing you to listen back to your words, analyse what you said (with your teacher) and see what language points you need to improve.

Listening

You can practise your listening comprehension by watching videos on YouTube, TED.com, or listening to podcasts. Remember to take advantage of the subtitles and transcripts on these sites because they can help you identify new words and clarify parts of the videos you couldn’t understand.

Reading

Improving your reading skills and enhancing your vocabulary could not be easier with the number of articles and ebooks you can find online. Explore the Oxford House blog for lots of interesting articles and look online for subjects you are interested in.

You can subscribe to email newsletters too, so you have new things to read in your email inbox every week. If you are feeling dedicated, read an article with a friend and write comprehension questions for each other – it’s a great way to make sure you are paying attention.

Also, keep track of new vocabulary and collect interesting things to read using an app like Evernote.

Writing

Writing is easily done, too – you can send your teacher mini-essays or homework assignments of any sort through email or online learning platforms. You can also collaborate (in real-time) with your classmates on writing projects and presentations using Google Docs or Google Slides.

There are countless digital tools out there that can help you improve your writing skills. Write & Improve is a free tool by Cambridge English that gives you instant feedback on your writing. It’s a great way to step up your grammar, spelling and vocabulary, whether you’re preparing for a Cambridge exam or not.

You can also install Grammarly, a browser extension that works as an automated spell checker. And, if you’re looking for a more sophisticated digital writing tool, try the Hemingway App: it not only highlights errors but also helps you improve the readability and style of your text.

And remember: there’s an app for everything, no matter which skill you want to focus on improving.

Have a look at our list of the best apps for learning English.

 

4. You can take part in engaging, interactive lessons

 

Since technology permeates our lives, there’s no shortage of digital tools that can make online classes enjoyable. Many digital lessons take place on interactive platforms made for learning.

You’ll find chat rooms where students can talk to each other, interactive white boards, and quizzes that promote healthy competition between students.

More often than not, you’ll find that online lessons can actually be more engaging than classroom lectures because of the different tools we have at our disposal.

Take a look at our very own learning platform – OH connect!

6 Benefits of Learning English Online - Engaging Interactive Lessons | Oxford House Barcelona
 

5. You can have a sense of accomplishment

 

Have you ever felt guilty for not being productive or efficient? During this national lockdown, when many of us aren’t able to go about our daily business, it’s easy to lose a sense of accomplishment and motivation.

Starting an English course online can be a great way to give yourself something to do, occupy your mind and invest in your future.

That said, don’t beat yourself up if you’re having an unproductive day – it’s okay to take a break sometimes!

 

6. You can meet new people and connect with an online community

 

Social distancing can be hard on emotional wellbeing. People have evolved to be social and we don’t like to be isolated from others. While online conversations will never replace face-to-face interactions, having people to hang out with, if only virtually, is essential.

Learning English online in groups is a great way to meet new people who are in the same boat as you – they too, are sitting at home trying to improve their English skills and find a sense of community online.

You don’t need a physical classroom for a tight-knit group to start forming. And who knows, once the lockdown is lifted, you might even meet up in real life and go for a coffee together!

 

What’s next?

 

Are you ready to take the leap and start learning English online? Join our online English classes or sign up to our intensive English and Cambridge Exam Preparation courses, which will also be held online during the lockdown.

For Spanish learners, we offer a standard online course as well as an intensive Spanish course which will also be available online during the lockdown.

Sign up now, your future self will thank you!

Glossary for Language Learners

 

Find the following words in the article and then write down any new ones you didn’t know.

Silver lining (exp): from the expression “Every cloud has a silver lining”, meaning that there is a good side or opportunity in every bad situation.

Snuggle (v): to position yourself comfortably and cosily.

Boost (v): help to increase.

Enhance (v): improve.

Permeate (v): spread throughout.

At one’s disposal (exp): available for use whenever one wishes.

Beat yourself up (exp): blame or criticise yourself.

In the same boat (exp): in the same difficult situation as someone else
.

Tight-knit (adj): a closely integrated group.

Key

exp = expression

v = verb

Study English at Oxford House Barcelona

Interested in taking an English course at Oxford House Barcelona? Check all the different English classes we can offer you, or contact us for more information.

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