The Disadvantages of learning a language online
In recent years it has become very common to learn a new language online. There are a number of good reasons to do this but it is important to keep in mind that there are also some disadvantages that come with the advantages. By keeping the disadvantages in mind it is possible to make a decision as to whether or not learning a language online is a good idea for you.
The biggest disadvantage of learning a language online is that there is not nearly as much interaction as there would be when studying in person. Depending on the type of course you are taking there may be no interaction at all. The free courses are unlikely to allow you any opportunity to practice your new language skills. Most online language courses make the learning materials available and expect that you will learn on your own. While it is certainly possible to learn this way it is likely that your conversation skills won't be as good as they would be if you had more interaction with your teacher.
A related disadvantage is that there is usually nobody there to correct your mistakes. If you are making errors in pronunciation for example it is entirely possible that you would never know it. Without a teacher there to actually here you speaking it is very difficult to catch any errors. Normally when you learn online you will be repeating recorded phrases, without a native speaker to hear you there is really no way to know if you are saying them correctly.
Learning online also means that you have no classmates and that often means that you miss out on an opportunity to practice. If you are taking a regular language course you will have classmates that you can socialize with outside of class and this gives you an extra opportunity to practice your new skills. Learning a language is something that takes a lot of practice, you need to take advantage of every chance you get. Unless you know somebody who speaks the language there is unlikely for there to be anyone for you to practice with when you are learning online.
Most online language courses don't offer any kind of credential to show that you have successfully completed the course and this could be disadvantage for some people. If you are taking a language course for work or because you need it to enroll in an academic program you probably going to need some sort of proof that you have successfully completed the course and a way of showing how proficient you are in the language. This isn't a problem if the person you need to demonstrate the skill to also speaks the language but it could be if they don't. for example if you are learning Italian in order to get a promotion at work and the guy deciding who gets the promotion doesn't speak Italian how would you prove it without a certificate.