While in-person Italian lessons can be extremely valuable, some people simply lack the time and money to schedule regular sessions. In this case, learning Italian online is a great option.
The Benefits of Learning Italian Online
Learning Italian online – or any language for that matter – has many advantages, such as:
- Flexible scheduling: Trying to sync schedules with a tutor can be difficult for some students. Whether you prefer to take lessons late at night or early in the morning, you can easily fit online lessons into your busy schedule.
- Lower costs: Commuting 20 minutes once or twice a week to meet with your Italian tutor can put a dent in your piggy bank. With online lessons, the furthest you have to travel is to your couch or desk!
- Larger pool of experts: Depending on where you live, there might be a shortage of local, qualified Italian instructors. Without any geographic boundaries keeping you away, you have the ability to choose from thousands of online tutors.
Whether you want to take online lessons with an expert tutor or simply want to teach yourself through games and tutorials, there are tons of resources available online.
Below, we explore five different ways to learn Italian online as well as evaluate the pros and cons of each.
1. Italian Lessons on Skype
Skype, a free online video platform, is one of the most popular options for students looking to take Italian lessons online with a teacher or native speaker.
- As long as you have a reliable mobile device and good Internet connection, you can learn Italian from just about anywhere – whether it’s in an airport or in the comfort of your own home.
- With Skype, you have instant access to materials, such as PDFs, audio files, and videos, which are often much cheaper than textbooks.
- For a small fee, Skype allows you to make international video calls, which means you can take lessons with a native Italian speaker.
- Some types of exercises – for instance, writing in Italian – may be difficult to complete over Skype.
- Taking lessons online can be disconcerting for students who prefer having face-to-face interactions with their teachers and enjoy getting to know them on a personal level.
- Using technology leaves you vulnerable to technical difficulties. For example, video calls drop unexpectedly, which can cause your learning to come to a screeching halt.
2. Italian Lessons on Google+ Hangouts
Google+ Hangouts is another popular online video platform. Although the platform is similar to Skype, there are a few distinct differences in terms of advantages and disadvantages.
- With Google Hangouts, you’re able to participate in a group video call with up to 10 people. This is a great option for students who like to take lessons in group settings.
- Google Hangouts allows users to start a conversation on one device and finish it on a different one, as all conversations are synced across devices.
- In order to use Google Hangouts, you need set up a Google+ account, which can be an annoyance for some students and teachers. After all, do you really want to have to remember another username and password?
- Similar to Skype, Google Hangouts can have technical difficulties, such as muffled speech and paused motion.
3. Italian YouTube Tutorials
YouTube is a great resource in which you can find tons of tutorials about learning Italian, covering a variety of topics and skill levels.
- Don’t you wish you could tape some of the awesome lessons you had with your teacher? The great thing about YouTube is that you can revisit topics and refresh your memory any time you want.
- You can try tutorials from a wide variety of teachers. Once you find a specific teacher or set of teachers you like, you can subscribe to their channel to ensure you get updates on new videos posted.
- Watching YouTube videos only allows for passive learning – you will not have the chance to practice your speaking skills or your writing abilities.
- Interacting with the instructor who created the videos is very difficult, meaning that you will not be able to ask for extra help if you are struggling to understand a particular concept.
4. Italian Online Games and Quizzes
Online Italian vocabulary quizzes and games can help you perfect your skills while staying engaged! Transparent Language and Digital Dialects are two great choices if you’re looking for fun activities.
- Let’s face it: Learning a new language can be boring at times. Quizzes and games keep learning interesting and fun.
- With online quizzes and games, you can test a variety of different skills and knowledge, including grammar, vocabulary, listening, and reading.
- Without a teacher present, there’s no way for you to ask questions when you get an answer wrong.
- Thoroughly learning a language through quizzes and games is limited – these activities are better suited for practice.
5. Italian Language Learning Blogs
Many language teachers have blogs where they share great study tips and resources for learning Italian. While there are many advantages to reading these blogs, they also have their drawbacks.
- Blogs give you the chance to read in-depth articles about a particular topic whether it’s grammar, Italian culture, or numbers. If you would like to enhance your Italian through reading blogs, try Learn Italian with Lucrezia or Italian Language Blog.
- Many bloggers will have give visitors the option of viewing content in Italian, which can help improve your reading and comprehension skills.
- Learning Italian through blogs is another passive activity that often makes it difficult to properly retain information.
- Bloggers often post content for a variety of readers, meaning all content might not be relevant to your interests. You’ll have to spend some time sifting through articles to find what you’re looking for.
You will only get so far learning on your own, and even Italian speakers may be unsure about how to explain the more complex grammar topics. The best way to learn Italian online is to take lessons with a qualified teacher.
Photo by Francisco Osorio