Berlitz Blog

Published : Tue, Mar 23, 2021 4:00 PM GMT

Getting the most from online language learning

Forced to hunker down by the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of people have been driven online to work, shop, for entertainment and to learn. While there as yet no reliable statistics, some say language learning has been more affected than some others since it is mostly discretionary.

Along the way many language learners have found that digital education is a pretty good alternative to in-person private lessons or classes; that it is efficient, effective and convenient.

Online language learning was growing steadily before COVID-19; now many experts agree digital instruction is here to stay, and that growth will likely accelerate even after the Coronavirus crises ends.

The debate is no longer if language learners will use online services, but how to get the most out it. Understanding the process of effective online learning is one way.

Pajamas don’t mix well with verb conjugations

Many mobile workers and learners like it that they can jump out of bed and get right to work, sometimes without even getting dressed. But, this can actually hinder your learning.

Much research shows the simple act of getting dressed helps put you in a work mode, improving concentration, focus and less likely to be distracted. This signals the workday has begun.

Learn about topics that interest you

It’s important to follow your instructor’s study plan. Berlitz, for example, has worked for more than a century perfecting its unique approach. Working on your own, reading for example, helps support learning.

Selecting a topic about which you care helps ensure you’ll follow through.

An Italian student, for example, may be interested in the Renaissance; a French student in the French Revolution. There are plenty of books about both, and some have English and French translations.

It’s likely you may struggle at first, but it’s a good way to support your language learning.

Other online learning strategies

·       Schedule your study time. Because language learning is generally discretionary, it’s easy for other things to get in the way; this is not generally something you “must do”. Avoid this by scheduling your study sessions at least one week in advance; you’re more likely to stay committed and you have the time to reschedule Also, choose a specific time to start and to stop, further separating your study times from other activities.

·       Create a space where you take lessons. It doesn’t make much difference where it is, have a location that you can associate with language learning.

·       Record your lesson when possible. Listening again several times will help answer questions you may have later.

·       Initially, set small, achievable goals, and then longer-term ones as you progress. Celebrate when you achieve a milestone.

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