Language courses come in many flavours and formats from the more traditional school or college based ‘meatspace’ courses to home study programs such as Pimsleur or Rosetta Stone. However these days there is an alternative, or perhaps a complement, to these in the form of online language courses.

Such online language courses can be found in many places around the web, some are more like a mixed collection of language learning resources while others are actually complete courses. Many real life universities today are offering free courses in many subjects and language is no exception – you can now even study with a prestigious university such as MIT for free online through their excellent MIT Open Courseware program which offers a huge range of courses for example Chinese.

The venerable BBC also offers a great selection of online language learning materials which you can find here but don’t be put off by the “hasn’t been updated for a while” warning there.

Language exchanges are thriving online and form an important component in any language learning process. Places like LiveMocha provide a platform for this along with online lessons & classrooms.

While there are a great many online language courses and resources available now, one of the leaders in computer based language learning, Rosetta Stone does in fact also offer online courses as well but they still cost rather a lot.

You can also see a great list of online language courses and lessons over at Omniglot which should be enough to keep you busy for many years!