The reasons one would choose to learn English as a second language are numerous. For business requirements and personal reasons students feel the need to improve English. Whatever one’s reasons it is crucial that one first identifies the best options available to learn English. Most learning methods are categorised into three primary groups i.e. Group learning, supplementary education or Self-learning.
The choice of group learning is suitable for students who have a significant amount of free time to invest in learning English and who prefer constant interaction with a teacher, classroom lessons may be the preferred option. It is the hands-on interactions with teachers and instructors being preferred by students who require additional guidance in their learning. This method of learning enables students to be a part of peer groups to enable further group study or discussion. Whilst such an atmosphere is very conducive to learning it also requires the commitment of a considerable amount of time and effort. It is a requirement on the part of the student to both attend classes as well as to revise the lessons learnt. Classroom lessons usually adhere to a strict lesson plan or syllabus where deviations are rare and avoided. Such learning while being comprehensive can also be regimented and theoretical to some and lacking the element of interest.
For those students who prefer to self-learn in order to improve English the options are more varied. The concept of self-learning pioneered by the introduction of audio lessons was a method born out of convenience. The ability to listen to a lesson while performing another task appeals to students to whom time is of the essence, and multi-tasking proved a viable option. Many classroom students advocated this system of listening to pre-recorded lessons on tape or CD (or downloadable mp3 format) while taking part in another activity such as exercise. This method is not a very effective strategy when used alone. However, it is the most effective way as a supplement to classroom learning in a more revisionary aspect.
Another form of supplementary education is books. Typically used in classroom learning as part of the curriculum in the form of a textbook or reader books are an effective way of learning. Book knowledge also crosses over into the field of self-learning in the form of instructional books. These provide a comfortable option to students looking to improve English at their pace, without being as obligatory as classroom or online learning.
Online learning has proved exceptionally useful and well received by advocates of self-learning as it offers students the opportunity to self-evaluate and structure their learning to suit their own pace and learning needs. A perfect example of this is English club TV. The site features a self-evaluation that students can take to help decide their current level of competency, based on which their online learning experience is customised.