We all know, the times when we went to the next bookshop to buy a dictionary or other language learning books are over. Nowadays people learn online and especially for the field of language learning there are more and more possibilities and start-ups springing up. Why? There are many reasons… you save time, the education is more personalised, suddenly learning even seems fun! But can you really learn a language only by using online tools?
2 Different Concepts
Speaking about online tools you have two main approaches when it comes to learning a new language: online language schools or language learning apps. Let’s see, what this is about.
Language lessons via video call
Most online language schools offer private lessons via video call. This is a good opportunity to work with a native who can always adapt to your needs, wishes and especially your level. Like this, the teachers approach to teach you can vary with your progress.
Are you the kind of person who can’t study by themselves? With a teacher you’re never alone and as you can choose him or her on a wide platform, you can meet several ones before deciding who’s the best for you – the “classes” will never be boring. Also, the right teacher will boost your motivation when you’re feeling lost.
And last but not least, you don’t have to redo your whole agenda just to fit in the course. It’s on you to choose the time. So, an online course lets you be much more flexible than a “normal” one.
The only problem: it’s not free.
Learning alone with an app
Rosetta Stone, a provider of language-learning software, did a broad research of the language-learning market and came to the conclusion, that the trend goes direction mobile. No wonder, that numerous apps have been developed during the last years. The best known is probably DuoLingo, which uses the approach of gamification. According to its founder there are more people actively learning a language through the app than in the entire US public school system.
The big plus of most of the language-learning apps? They’re free! And you are even more flexible than with a video call lesson, as you can just grab your phone while sitting in the subway. Even if you have bad memories from your last contact with a foreign language at school, you will enjoy trying it again – especially with a gamification-based app – because it’s different, interesting and fun! The only problem is, as soon as you reach a certain level, apps are not going to help you anymore.
You can also listen to the radio, podcasts or music in the foreign language online.
As you can see – and probably already knew – the advances in technology create more and more opportunities for everyone to access education and learn a new language. Still, this development doesn’t remove the need to be motivated to jump in the adventure of learning a new language, as sometimes it can be difficult and frustrating, even with a game-like interface.
So, what is the conclusion in the end? Can you learn a language by using online tools? Probably you won’t be able to perfectly master a language by ONLY using online tools. On the other side, they’re going to help you a lot and they’ll be most effective when you use them as one part of your whole learning agenda. Start with an app to learn the basic words and sentences in minutes – even if you had bad experiences at school, this will bring back the fun. Move forward to a video course and start talking to your teacher in the foreign language. As soon as you feel comfortable, go out there and start networking. Connect with other learners – through Facebook or meet up groups – and show them what you’ve learned. Maybe they have some tips for you on how to improve even more.
Never forget that it takes time to learn a new language. Don’t be disappointed when you can’t remember a phrase immediately. Just don’t give up. As we know, giving up is the only way of failing ;). And the day you finally found your job abroad and are living in your dream city you'll realise that it was worth the effort.