What are the Advantages of Online TESOL Certificate Courses?
Advantages of online TESOL certificate courses
Distance learning has distinct advantages and has been a staple of training in the UK for many years. The growth of the Open University over the last twenty years has helped to establish it as an excellent way to study. However, what are the advantages of distance-learning TESOL and TEFL training?
Cost of TESOL certificate courses: £295 compared with £1,200
Distance-learning TESOL – TEFL courses (including online) are significantly cheaper than taught courses. A one-month, full-time taught course for people wanting to teach English (for example, the Trinity TESOL course or the Cambridge CELTA course) costs somewhere in the region of £1,200 (about $2,000 in the US). If we take into account travel costs, parking charges, lunches, books, and so on, the cost could easily rise to more than £1,500. In contrast, a good CELTA-alternative by distance learning run by an organisation with skilled and experienced trainers, would cost about £295-£395.
Convenience: work from home
Taught courses can work well but they involve travel and timetables. In comparison, someone completing a distance-learning TESOL / TEFL course can work at home without the need to travel.
Convenience: courses can be completed anywhere in the world
Taught courses are not always available. People in cities may find that the courses are full while people in smaller centres may not have local courses available at all. However, TESOL / TEFL courses by distance learning can be completed in any country around the world.
Stress: taught TESOL / TEFL courses can be very stressful
People often find that one-month taught courses are very stressful. They involve demonstrating techniques in front of fellow trainees as well as teaching lessons which are graded by trainers. Whatever the value of the course elements, many people find it stressful to have to ‘perform’ in front of other students and trainers. With a distance-learning course people can work at their own pace, in their own way. There are no time constraints or pressure. If teaching practice is included in their course then it will be the opportunity to try out what they have learnt with the support of a trainer, without the stress of being judged.
Teaching methods: tightly controlled on taught courses
Many taught TESOL and TEFL courses require candidates to follow particular teaching approaches; variations on the recommended approaches are often marked down. There is a well trodden path to success in face-to-face TESOL – TEFL training which needs to be followed if trainees are to complete their course successfully. Those trainees who have taught in the past (though without a certificate) are not encouraged to introduce approaches which they have found successful in their experience. With a well prepared distance-learning course, however, while particular approaches are recommended, trainees are encouraged to take an eclectic approach depending on the age and the ability and the environment of the students in their classes.
Assumptions: TESOL / TEFL taught courses often assume that teachers will be teaching small group of adults
The methods required on a taught course often assume that the trained teacher will be teaching a small class of adult students in a well equipped classroom. While this may sometimes be the outcome, in fact some teachers will go on to teach large classes in poorly equipped classrooms. Taught courses do not have the time to take this into account. A well prepared distance-learning course, however, will provide trainees with different approaches depending on the teaching environment.
Course materials: handouts or course manuals?
With a taught course the students will receive handouts which they can file away. While these may be useful, they may not be as valuable as a set of course modules which have been carefully prepared by experienced trainers, and which the trainees can go through as often as they wish. Some courses will, of course, have been prepared more carefully than others so it is up to the trainee to check the credentials of the course providers before signing up for a course. Sites which splash beaches and discounts across their websites, and offer training courses for £50 or £100, are not going to provide well prepared training or training manuals. However, a course provider that names the trainers and gives details of their experience is likely to provide trainees with a carefully prepared manual of, say, 600 pages which has been independently reviewed by other professionals.
Choosing a training course is ultimately down to the trainee and anyone considering a TESOL – TEFL training course should look carefully at what is available. Both taught courses and distance-learning courses have advantages. Making the final choice is down to the trainee once they have looked carefully at what choices are available.
More information on the TESOL Certification.