What are the best Spanish courses online out there?
Self-study courses on Duolingo, online group courses, tutoring sessions with natives… What’s the best way to learn Spanish online? We take a look into the 4 most popular options, their advantages and downsides.
Self-study Spanish courses give you a guide to follow and you will learn the language on your own. Usually there are a few grammar explanations, vocabulary lists and exercises that you can correct yourself. The more sophisticated ones also include videos and sound recordings to help you master the speaking and listening skills as well.
Because you’re paying for a guide that can be reused thousands and thousands of time, they are also the cheapest. Some are even free, like Duolingo’s famous app. However, as with all mass learning materials, there are downsides. First, self-correcting your mistakes is not an easy task: if you have doubts, no one is there to help you. Likewise, nobody can correct your pronunciation. And having a conversation with a native is out of the question.
Signing up for a self-study course can definitely help you improve your language skills, but it will hardly be enough to reach proficiency or fluency. Even if you do well within a set of exercises, that is not likely to translate well into real life conversations and interactions. Our advice? Use them as a complement to your Spanish classes, to brush up on your skills or to simply review contents you’ve already learnt. Read our review of Duolingo, Babbel and Lingvist here.
Self-study Guides with Tutoring Lessons
Self-study guides with tutoring sessions give an interesting twist to regular, old-fashioned self-study guides. You can still take the reins of your learning process, but you also get regular sessions with tutors. In this scenario, you have an expert to explain and clear your doubts as well as practice your speaking skills. If you insist on going for the self-study route, then this is definitely more effective.
You can find these courses on individual teacher websites, Coursera, Udemy or even on marketplaces like Amazon. They might be a good option if your work schedule changes every week or if you work different shifts - which means you can’t commit to a scheduled class. Pay attention to the tutor that you’re hiring, since some tutors are natives and not teachers with actual experience teaching Spanish as a foreign language.
Online Group Courses with Teachers
If you have the kind of work and life that allows you to commit to a certain schedule, then online group courses are your best bet. They essentially work like a regular group class, only you can attend them online instead of commuting from work to school and then from school to home. Because we believe so much in this method, we offer several Spanish courses online right here at Spanish Gurus.
You will have a class with a native teacher with experience teaching Spanish as a foreign language. Classes have a maximum of 5 people, which means there is time for everyone to talk and practice. The groups are assorted by level (we use the CEFR, you check here if you’re not familiar with it), which means you will be learning together. Once you complete the course, you’ll receive a certificate from Spanish Gurus.
We believe that studying with people who hold the same type of proficiency can bring a great sense of camaraderie. It’s also perfect to create dialogues that resemble real-life situations, instead of rehearsed exchanges. If you’re not yet convinced of the benefits of study groups, read here why we think online group courses can be your best friend.
Tutoring Sessions with Natives
When you are looking for Spanish courses online, you will find dozens of websites who can connect you with natives to practice. You may choose this type of courses if you don’t want to follow a formal curriculum; if you only need to learn specific vocabulary or if you’ve already studied Spanish but enjoy having specific occasions to practice. Beware that not all websites will connect you with teachers or experienced tutors - and being a native speaker does not guarantee the person can give you grammar lessons.
Here on Spanish Gurus you can also find 1 on 1 sessions with native Spanish teachers. We recommend this option for those who need to practice or are struggling with a steep learning curve. This will give you an opportunity to tackle your specific concerns. But it’s also an opportunity to customize your curriculum. For example, you can customize it to your industry, which is amazing for those learning Spanish for business. However, these sessions come with a higher cost than group courses.