There’s nothing quite like the feeling of pure, unadulterated freedom.
The sun in your face, the wind in your hair and… your computer on your lap?
Do you long to learn a language, but fear the commitment of formal course enrollment?
Yearn to learn, but don’t want to compromise your schedule and independence?
If the answer to anything above is “yes,” then please keep reading. You’ll like what’s in store for you here.
If you said “no,” well, keep reading anyway—I bet I can prove the immediate value that online learning can bring to your life.
There are numerous virtual language schools out there, where those who want to learn foreign languages can attend no matter where they are in the world. All you need’s an Internet connection, and you’re on your way.
However, these schools aren’t all made equal. This post’s mission is to provide you with a few terrific leads to help you get started learning any foreign language online.
Sounds like a dream come true? Here are our most highly recommended language schools for learning new languages on your own time, wherever you want—even the bathroom (hey, we won’t judge).
8 Virtual Language Schools for Accelerated Learning
Is it your dream to learn foreign languages from actual native speakers? If this is your ideal way of learning new languages, then Verbling might be for you.
This unique site allows users to have access to both private tutoring and group classes 24/7 via two-way video chat. You’ll have professional, highly qualified native teachers from all over the world delivering your lessons to you.
Want to know another reason why Verbling rocks? In addition to the live, one-on-one video lessons you can take with native teachers, you can also learn foreign languages via group classes streamed live (for English and Spanish only). You can also take the plunge and explore Verbling’s entire language learning community through their forums and postings.
With Verbling, the languages available to learners are English, Spanish, Italian, German, Arabic, Portuguese, French, Russian and many, many more.
Plans and Pricing: Prices vary based on the instructor.
FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Using FluentU, students will be more engaged and learn better. Not only does FluentU offer video, but it offers scaffolding that isn’t available anywhere else; students will find authentic content approachable and within reach.
There are a few different ways you can go about learning with this fun virtual school. After choosing an individual video based on your skill level and personal interests, you’ll be prompted to choose between “watch” and “learn” modes.
If you opt for “watch,” you’ll watch your videos as normal with interactive subtitles that are translated both by word and by sentence. Simply hover over any word to see a definition, pronunciation and in-context usage examples on your screen.
Perhaps the most interesting part of FluentU is its “learn mode.” Learn mode takes videos and turns them into fully interactive language lessons. The lessons are 100% personalized, so that the student’s learning history is taken into account when presenting questions. FluentU’s algorithm sets students up for success by teaching them based on what they know.
Additionally, there are individual blogs that focus on the following languages. The asterisks next to languages indicate programs that are currently in development on the main FluentU site, but the blogs are all up and running.
- English (and another blog dedicated to business English)
Here, users can learn useful tips, resources and strategies to help them with their language learning no matter what, when, where or how they choose to learn.
The best part? The blogs are all available for free, and you can try FluentU completely free.
You’ve got to love doing business with professionals who show true passion for their work. Mango Languages definitely stands out in this department!
Mango Languages employs people from various backgrounds (linguists, programmers, educators and so on) who all have one thing in common: Their love of language learning and appreciation for the world’s cultures.
Mango Languages has been around since 2007 and has skyrocketed thanks to their passion and dedication, now offering culture-oriented learning programs in over 70 different languages. That’s right. No matter which language you’re trying to learn, there’s a good chance that you’ll find a course for it on their site.
Plans and Pricing: Basic access is free through your local library, unlimited access is $20/month or $175/year.
What Net Languages has been around for 17 years, and has become an expert resource in its area of focus. Net Languages only has two languages available to learners, English and Spanish.
However, they guarantee that people who use their services will be able to learn either of them well. So, what lacks in quantity, it makes up for in quality.
With access to hundreds of various course material and interactive language learning videos, individuals, schools, companies and government institutions worldwide can all use Net Languages services for guaranteed, quality language learning.
Even potential language school start-ups can get good deals from Net Languages.
Plans and Pricing: Plans range from about $120 to $500, based on level of access desired.
Apex Learning Virtual School is unique in that it’s an accredited, private, online school for high school age children.
Yes, this is a specific recommendation for specific students, but it might be just what you’re looking for. If you’re homeschooling your kids, it’s an ideal choice. It’s also a great option if you’d like your kids to get supplemental language learning time outside their high school courses, or if they’re dying to learn a language not offered by the local high school.
There are also handy AP review courses here, to help high school students prepare for their big exams.
Although this option isn’t for everyone who’s seeking to learn other languages, if you know someone who would qualify for their programs, then you should consider having them become a part of the Apex Learning School program.
After all, most physical high schools only offer a small selection of languages such as Spanish and French, and possibly German, Chinese or Japanese. Apex Learning Virtual School offers these languages and many, many more. So, having students enroll in this online school might open up more opportunities for them.
Plans and Pricing: $350/semester.
This is a well-known language education company with a long, long history of success.
Berlitz is often considered one of the top dogs of foreign language learning. It boasts a massive number of satisfied language learners to this very day. Seriously, they’re all about languages.
If you need a virtual language school that has a long, reputable history, then this should fit the bill.
For courses of study, they go a bit beyond basic linguistics. They offer language learning, leadership and cultural training programs, all of which have been around since 1878 and are offered offline (through brick-and-mortar Berlitz establishments) and online (through their virtual platform, known as eBerlitz).
EBerlitz, being the online version that they call their “virtual classroom,” takes their program soaring far and wide. While it’s rooted in their more formal, traditional classroom learning methods, it has been nicely adjusted to suit the modern age of learning, and it’s always expanding its list of offered programs. Not to mention, this online platform is a hub for topical, language-related news and information.
Plans and Pricing: Prices vary based on language, location, time-frame and more.
At first glance, Verbalplanet might look to be a bit outdated, but let’s say it’s old-school or “classic.” Yeah, classic. They deserve this more positive description, because they definitely take the quality of their services seriously.
It would appear that they’re more focused on quality learning than absolutely anything else.
To get started, users must sign up for a free account where they’ll be able to select their tutor based on certain criteria such as their availability, pricing and profile. Once a tutor is selected, the student gets to choose the time that best fits into their lifestyle.
Throughout the learning process, students can track their progress and receive instant feedback from Verbal Planet’s online analytic system. Another plus is that Verbalplanet offers free trials and discounts aplenty to help learners save money.
Plans and Pricing: Prices vary by instructor.
Have you ever thought about starting up a language learning school of your own? Fortunately, this is where this wonderful site comes in.
If you know multiple languages and actually want to start a virtual language school, then LearnCube can help make your dreams come true.
What’s so unique about LearnCube is that it allows to create their own courses online. Although their main language specialty is English, they provide online support for teachers of any foreign language.
Plans and Pricing: After an optional 14-day trial, plans for LearnCube range from free to $119 USD a month. Larger enterprises can contact LearnCube to determine custom price quotes.
More Great Virtual Language Schools
In addition to the eight main language schools found in this post, we have here a brief list of additional online language learning resources that might appeal to you.
- Hello! Mandarin — This virtual school specializes in Mandarin Chinese, as you may have guessed, and offers a useful array of classes for children, adults and professionals.
- VU Global Languages — Try out the English, Chinese, French and German courses here, brought to you kindly by the Virtual University of Pakistan.
- Coursera — You may already know about Coursera, but you might not have considered them for online language learning yet! They not only offer courses of instruction in various foreign languages, but they also have subject courses taught in different languages. For example, you could try learning about history or science in Spanish or Chinese here! Neat, right?
As always, good luck on your language learning journey!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn languages with real-world videos.