With the growing demand for English language training, online Spoken English programs have mushroomed as an answer to this demand. There are some drawbacks to effective English language learning with this approach.
How do we learn our native tongue? We learn the language in a social-cultural context. That means that we learn it from our parents, siblings, other close family members and from our neighbors. By the time we go to school we know how to speak and we have a large vocabulary base. Before children go to school they have learned to speak in their native language. If some children grow up in a multilingual environment, they may speak at least two languages without ever opening a textbook.
Researchers have conducted studies to learn how an infant learns language. One study monitored infants who were exposed to language while in the presence of a human being. Other infants were exposed to language through media, such as a television, but there was no other human being present. The results drew the conclusion that the infants who had human contact and interaction learned more language than the infants who were only exposed to electronic media. From this research it would seem that there is a necessity for effective language acquisition to take place within an environment of human interaction.
The use of the audio-lingual method (i.e.: online spoken English courses) to learn English as a second language cannot take into account the full array of non-verbal communication. The other drawback is that the creative spontaneity in spoken English is curtailed and can be limited to programmed mechanics.
Learning spoken English is best learned in a social context, such as a class where communicative materials, tools and methods are used. Students need real-life situations and problems to discuss and resolve. In a classroom setting, through interactive role-playing, simulations, discussions and etc. the spoken English language learner can develop a good command of the English language.