Female teacher at a whiteboard with the text "Group vs One-on-One" addressing a classroom of adults.

You probably found your way to this blog because you’re looking to do one of the following things:

1. Improve your fluency in your second language.


2. Help employees at your company improve their language fluency.

You are either:

1. An HR Director looking for a cost-friendly solution to improving fluency for your expat or a Global Mobility Account Manager looking for a new language training vendor or the best cost-friendly solution to suggest to your corporate client.


2. An expat (or the accompanying spouse of an expat) that has decided to take your language-learning into your own hands and aren’t sure if you should take a private lesson or if you should dive into the social scene of language classes at a local school.

So what’s the most effective way to get the language training you need? Should you choose private, one-on-one language training or group classes? As providers of business language training, we want to help you find the right option for you and look at the difference between group lessons and private lessons.

When to Choose Group Language Classes

Perhaps you’re interested in learning a second language, but you’re even more interested in taking up a hobby that allows you to meet new people. In that case, we would recommend group language classes.

If you’re just starting to explore your interest in learning a new language, group classes are a smaller financial investment than one-on-one language classes are. As you progress in your studies or you’ve decided that a high level of proficiency is your goal, you can always switch over to private lessons.

Beyond those scenarios, though, we believe that group classes just aren’t as effective (as quickly) as one-on-one language learning, the reason being that your talk time in the class is what directly improves your fluency. The more you talk, the more you are comfortable speaking and the more your brain gets practice putting together what you want to express.

In a group class you might get 20 minutes of talking time per 2-hour class (in our experience, depending on the instructor). But we want you to consider a variety of viewpoints as you make your decision.

Other language trainers and learners see advantages in group training. They like the accountability that a group provides, and they cite benefits in the interactions with other class members.

Another downside, if you’re wanting to progress at a rapid pace, is that you’re not getting used to the way a native speaker would speak. If you’re mostly speaking with your other classmates, who also speak like you, then you might be surprised and not prepared when you speak to native speakers.

As a final pro for group training, you might want to bring a group of employees together. For example, we recently did Spanish language training for a group of 10 executives that wanted to be able to chat a bit with their Spanish-speaking employees. This was a great group to put together.

They did not have the goal of being completely proficient, but wanted to save money, and learn together about their Spanish-speaking colleagues and how to connect with them better. A perfect reason for a group class.

When to Choose One-on-One Language Training

At Fluency Corp, we provide one-on-one language training from instructors who are native speakers. We consistently see the advantages this approach has for our clients.

One key factor in deciding between group or one-on-one classes is how quickly you — or the employees your company is training — need to progress in exactly what they need help with.

For example, if you’re about to accept an international assignment or if your company will soon be relocating employees to one of your overseas locations, then that’s a time-sensitive situation.

So it’s important to know that one-on-one classes will yield faster results than group training. That’s because one-on-one classes offer more speaking time, and conversational practice is the real key to learning any language faster.

Another reason that one-on-one language classes are more effective is that they can be more customized. Everything in an individual class is tailored to that student.

The instructor can even create lessons around specific situations the student has at work — for example, writing an important email or preparing for a big presentation.

Two women sitting at a table laughing while in a conversation.

On the other hand, a group class will, just by its nature, cover material that’s less relevant to you, which could leave you bored and disengaged.

We also believe individual language classes make it easier to learn more about the culture in which you (or your employees) will be working. There’s no better introduction to a culture than getting to know a native speaker who can give advice and answer your questions.

Most of our students cite they become great friends with their instructors, which allows them to dive deeper into the culture than more shallow interactions during the day.

To Learn More

How can your company get the most out of your investment in one-on-one language classes? See our articles “How to Make Corporate Language Training Work With Your Budget,” “How to Convince Your Boss That Corporate Language Training Is Worth It” and “What Does Corporate Language Training Cost? Let’s Do the Math” for some tips.

Questions about how to get started with learning Spanish for work? We’re happy to talk with you more about your company’s specific needs.