I’d just add that Free weights add a dimension that Machines can’t, that is in the synergetic area, or in laymans terms; when exercise is done with free weights a whole load of supporting muscles become involved to maintain ones balance and at the same time help support the lifted weight. This is exactly what a beginner needs, to be able to over all the body – develop muscle he never even dreamed he had.
A beginner can for instance not use heavy weight like an advanced lifter and just stick to light/medium weight, this would be enough of a challenge for quite a while, (even for 6 months/year or so), until – overall muscle development has occurred. The groundwork will then have been laid to go on to some mean weight lifting in the areas he chooses.
I would also add that training alone also means extra reading on the technical details of lifts, this tecnique/detail also can’t be taken in so quickly and takes time to get right. DA