The cost of language learning varies greatly. There is a plethora of free resources on one hand, but an equally diverse range of paid options on the other. Learners in theory have the freedom to splurge or spend nothing. But often how much the learner is willing to pay is determined by what learning a new language means to them. Taking learning English for instance, most learners are economically motivated. English skills often mean access to better opportunities and salary prospects. Hence learners are willing to invest more to brush up their English skills. An average 1 year course in leading English institutions costs at least $3000 to $4000 in China. And there’s no shortage of people paying. But if you’re not learning a language out of economic motivation but taking it up as a hobby, you’ll probably allocate less budget for learning. However, you might spend much more time researching resources and engaging in self-directed learning which are a cost on their own.
Price vs Results
I’m not convinced that you need to pay big bucks to learn a language well. I believe that much more important than price is focus and methods. Many learners outsource their learning to a school or teacher because they’ve paid the money and expect the institution to deliver results. While many learners who pay a lot less succeed because they’re actively involved in their learning.
Debundling of Learning
Being focused and getting the mix right (learning methods) far outweigh price. The mix being ‘input, study, output, feedback’. Learners who know that they need these ingredients in language learning and really apply them tend to be the ones who do better. More often than not the four ingredients don’t come from a single source. Learners need to find resources in each category that best suit their needs. The bliss and problem for learners are that there are massive amounts of free and paid options. How do you go about choosing and which element should you spend more money on? In the traditional classroom model, all of these elements are thrown together though teachers and students use a lot of external resources. For the student, it can be a simple and hassel free experience, though often not the best. But we’ve been seeing the debundling of language learning where students are getting each element from different places rather than relying on one class or teacher. This is true for both learners with no easy access to teachers or classes and increasingly for those who do.
How much would you pay to learn a language?
I want to throw it out there to fellow language learners: speaking from your personal experience, how much are you willing to pay to learn a language (what language did you learn)? Do you think it was money well spent? How would you allocate your budget differently if you were to do it again? Looking forward to hearing from you!