App or formal course? Our thoughts on how to properly learn Spanish

Learning Spanish is on the rise – or, rather, it already has been for some time. Spanish is the 2nd most studied language in the world, with an estimated formal 22 million students worldwide (if you include informal students, this is, those not registered in an official institution, those 22 million probably double). Practically all available reports point to a continuous growth of Spanish learners throughout this decade.

Of course, with the increase in demand comes an increase in supply. Today, Spanish learners have a wide array of options to dive into the language. Spanish language learning is becoming more accessible, interactive, and comprehensive.

Although there are several ways to get yourself going in Spanish (travel immersions, self-study, etc.),  2 of the most popular, and differentiated, ways are learning through a language platform or enrolling in a formal course at a learning institution. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages. Let us compare both methods to help you decide which one may be best for you.

The main advantages of learning Spanish through a language platform are:

  • Convenience: language apps are highly convenient as they can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection, making it possible to study anytime and anywhere. This is particularly useful for busy individuals who do not have time to attend formal courses.
  • Affordability: Spanish language apps are generally more affordable than formal courses, making it easier for people on a budget to learn the language.
  • Interactive features: Many Spanish language apps feature interactive features such as gamification and virtual tutors, which can make the learning process more engaging and fun.

However, there are some drawbacks:

  • Lack of interaction with native speakers: Spanish language apps can be isolating, as learners do not have the opportunity to interact with native speakers or other learners. This can make it harder to practice speaking and get feedback on pronunciation.
  • Limited feedback: Spanish language apps often rely on automated feedback, which can be limited in its ability to provide personalized and accurate feedback on pronunciation, grammar, and speaking skills.
  • Lack of structure: Some Spanish language apps lack a structured curriculum, making it easy for learners to get off track and not follow a consistent study plan.

These disadvantages add up to a significant learning deficit compared to more formal options. Platforms are a great resource but learning quality and speed are generally not its greatest assets.

On the other hand, lets tak a look at the advantages of learning Spanish through a formal course:

  • Interaction with native speakers: Formal Spanish language courses provide the opportunity to interact with native speakers, which can help learners to practice speaking and get feedback on pronunciation.
  • Expert instruction: Formal courses are often taught by trained and experienced language teachers, who can provide personalized feedback and guidance on grammar, vocabulary, and other language skills.
  • Structure and accountability: Formal courses often have a structured curriculum, which can help learners to stay on track and make steady progress in their language learning journey.
  • Cultural immersion: Formal Spanish language courses often offer the opportunity for cultural immersion, which can help learners to better understand the culture and customs of Spanish-speaking countries.

Of course, these types of courses also have some limitations:

  • Time and location constraints: Formal Spanish language courses are often held at specific times and locations, which can be difficult for individuals with busy schedules or those who live far from the course location.

Although, live online courses have become popular, meaning the classes are held online. This means there is no more a location constraint, since you can enroll in the institution of your choice regardless of where you live.

  • Cost: Formal Spanish language courses can be expensive, making it difficult for people on a budget to access this type of language learning.

To combine the best of both worlds, there are blended methods, such as our own Comunica method. Blended means part of the learning is done through a platform, and part is done live with a teacher.

This way, students combine the benefits of following a structured, rigorous course and interacting with a teacher, with the flexibility of doing some of the learning at their own pace.

At Comunica, our curriculum is meticulously planned by expert linguists, meaning students follow a well-designed program for each level. Each lesson, students work at their own rhythm on our app, with our tailored content, and then head on to class to practice and practice with one of our great teachers, who provide instant feedback. This way, the pace of learning is greatly accelerated.

We are, of course, biased, but that does not mean we are wrong: enroll in a Comunica course and you will not regret it.

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