This is a comparison of 2 online TEFL courses. I recently took TEFL Full Circle's 120 hour online course that you can get on Groupon for $39. I didn't need to take a course, but I had heard of courses on Groupon and I wanted to see what I would get for $39.

I have taken three courses: Global TESOL's college course, TEFL Full Circle's 120 hour course and ESLinsider's advanced course (which I actually made).

Here I will compare and review TEFL Full Circle's 120 hour course and ESLinsider's advanced online TEFL course.

Price

  • TEFL Full Circle = $39
  • ESLinsider's Advanced course = $209 (Basic = $79)

Price is an important consideration for some. Groupon has the cheapest courses and in fact I wouldn't be reviewing TEFL Full Circle if it wasn't cheap to take. 

TEFL Full Circle wins here as it's cheaper. There are additional charges if you want your certificate faster (about $20) and if you want a hard copy (about $10). If you don't want to wait 10 days after completing the course to access (download) your certificate and you want a hard copy which will take more time then you are looking at $70.

What you get for your money

  • TEFL Full Circle = 6 months access to content and a PDF certificate download.
  • ESLinsider's advanced course = unlimited access to content and a PDF certificate download.

Content

These courses cover some of the same topics such as teaching methods, lesson planning, classroom management, teaching speaking, writing, listening, reading, etc. 

TEFL Full Circle lays out text and topics large sections at a time. You're supposed to read these sections and then later answer questions on them. 

Many modules have a test at the end, but some don't. You need to achieve a certain grade on these to proceed.

ESLinsider lays out content bit by bit. There are more questions laid out through the course and you have to maintain an 80% throughout the course to make progress.

Aside from the midterm and final test most of the content is in front of you at all times. One person thought that it was too easy:

"...when answering the questions, the answer could be easily seen in the text that was meant to be studied. I would suggest more of a challenge where studying the context is mandatory to correctly answering the question." - Sarah Gilbertson

I did that intentionally in some places as I didn't want to make it more difficult for the sake of it.

Media

Full Circle just offers a text experience. There are some stock photos as well.

ESLinsider uses a lot of video. You'll find video interviews with teachers in Asia and how-to videos shot mostly in the classrooms of Korea.

Feedback

TEFL Full Circle doesn't seem to offer much feedback, but what do you expect for $39? There is one lesson plan assignment at the end of the course as well as a short writing assignment. After you submit those you wait for 10 days. 

I am still waiting on that.

ESLinsider's advanced course has 3 lesson planning assignments that include feedback. Feedback is beneficial as you can see what you are doing wrong and get some new ideas.

How long do these courses take?

I completed TEFL Full Circle's 120 hour course in 7+ hours straight. I didn't read everything, so it might have taken twice the amount of time if I did. Online TEFL course hours are often not accurate or anywhere close to what they suggest.

Instead of going along with the crowd I decided to rename ESLinsider's courses. I have seen people complete ESLinsider's advanced course in a few weeks. 

It will depend on you.

Which one is more legit?

I guess it depends on what you call legit. Do you consider it legit if it is accredited or claims to be internationally recognized? Full Circle is accredited and ESLinsider is not. 

Both are online courses and in my experience teaching in Asia most schools tend to accept online courses.

About - personality & website

TEFL Full Circle doesn't seem to have much of a web presence. It's been online since 2015. There were only 2 blog posts over a period of 2 years. They or the owner seems to be a bit mysterious and the site seems a little generic to me.

ESLinsider has been online since 2011. It has a presence on Youtube, offers free how-to videos, hundreds of blog posts, resources and focuses more on teaching English in Asia. 

Which is better?

The best course depends on you and what you want. 

Where TEFL Full Circle is better

Aside from the cost if you want to study teaching theory more extensively and/or you want a more general overview of teaching English abroad then this might be better.

Where ESLinsider is better

ESLinsider offers a richer learning experience by using video. It goes into more depth this way and in my opinion the experience of learning is more enjoyable and easier because of this. 

It focuses more on practicality (what to do) vs. theory and language study. I studied theory and grammar in the first course that I took, but most of it just goes in one ear and out the other. 

For me seeing things done is more helpful than just reading about them. That's why I made all those how-to videos that were shot mostly in Korea. 

It's targeted towards teaching in Asia.

ESLinsider also offers a basic online course for $79. And yes it still includes a lot of video.

Short answer

TEFL Full Circle is cheaper, more theoretical and broader.

ESLinsider has more depth, is media rich and emphasizes practicality.

If your goal is to just get a cheap certificate to add to your resume then go with Full Circle. But if you want to actually remember what you learn and have some practical tools to use later then go with ESLinsider.

Search for more reviews:

  • TEFL Full Circle reviews
  • ESLinsider reviews

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