An Introduction to Online Language Learning
COVID-19 has disrupted traditional ways of learning in a physical school setting. It has turned schools digital, and students online learners. Online learning is now applicable for many fields of study, but, with the outbreak of the pandemic, it seems to be growing fastest for those in online language learning in particular.
Those who want to learn a foreign language can even apply for online career assessment as they are now in high numbers, creating an online language is a learning boom in 2021. One foreign language learning app has seen a spike of 300% new users, while others report a 50% increase in sales. In Europe alone, a majority of the population are learning two languages or more, according to a study by Eurostat.
So, how does it work? What are the best and most effective ways of learning a new language online?
What Is Online Language Learning?
Online language learning is the term for the approach of learning a new language via the Internet and with the use of information-communication technologies. Online learning, also called distance learning, means that the teacher and the student are not face-to-face but rather communicating through the internet and using learning materials accessible through the internet. This teacher-student method applies to online language courses, where they communicate via lectures in webinars or in video messaging platforms; the teaching materials can be conveyed on course management systems such as Google Classroom or Blackboard.
Yet, with online language learning, sometimes the app or website takes the form of the teacher, so students learn without the need of a physical teacher at the end of the line. This includes the use of language learning apps, where students can learn on their own.
How Is It Different From Traditional Learning?
Online language learning differs from traditional language learning because there’s a higher emphasis on independent learning. As said previously, you can learn on your own, without a teacher, at your pace. Even with online language courses where there might be a teacher, the teacher is usually more flexible with schedules, course setup, and deadlines. Gone are the mandatory dress codes, the constant supervision, and the four walls of a classroom, like in a traditional set-up.
One key difference between the classroom and online language learning is the reliance on textbooks. Foreign language classes usually depend on a primary textbook. Meanwhile, for those looking to learn a foreign language, there is a wealth of information available on the internet for the online learner, such as webinars, e-conferences, video lectures, and active live-chat.
Another difference between traditional language courses and online language learning is that you’re free to choose what platform you want to use, what language course or level of language difficulty you want to enroll in, what your schedule will be, and, if applicable, who your teachers are. There’s a lot more flexibility in routine and in learning pace.
What Are The Best Ways To Learn a Foreign Language Online?
There’s the most popular way–through language apps. Duolingo, Rosetta Stone, Mango, Babbel, Memrise, you name it, it’s there. These apps usually streamline the language learning process by starting with a beginner level of difficulty then testing you along the way to move up to a higher level.
Then, there are online language courses available through reputable schools, such as Harvard and MIT, offered through their own online learning platform. These courses are made by educators proficient in the language, but they might opt to provide the materials for self-study rather than conduct video conference classes.
These methods can be supplemented by the use of audio, video, flashcards, dictionaries, discussion boards, and translation, all online. If you’re at a beginner’s level, you might listen to a song in Bahasa on Youtube or list one hundred words from a Spanish online newspaper. On a more intermediate level, think about watching your favorite French film on Netflix and translating words you don’t understand on Google Translate. For fluent users, you can join forums such as Reddit and converse in your chosen language with users worldwide.
What Awaits Online Language Learners?
There are great opportunities that come with learning a new language. For one, there is a high demand for bilingual or multilingual employees, complete with higher wages. Bigger opportunities, higher salaries, and career growth await those who have mastered a foreign language.
Online language learners might find a place within a global company specializing in language studies or services. There are huge opportunities waiting in sectors such as interpretation and translation, in professional translation services, like Tomedes. One or more foreign languages is a requirement in this field.
In this day-and-age, language learners may find flexibility and comfort in online learning. Not only does it have benefits in the job market, but also in interpersonal communication in this globalized world. With the issues of the pandemic still unsolved, we may have to turn to learning a foreign language strictly through the internet. And that may end up benefiting us in the long run.