The internet is awash with study resources for all manner of subjects. If you’re learning another language, taking your studies online can be immensely rewarding. But with so many language resources available, from simple alphabet songs to global translation companies, where do you start?
Let us walk you through some ways to ensure you get the best out of your online language learning experience!
Localize your learning experience
Localization is used by the translation and manufacturing sectors to ensure that documents, products and services are shaped to meet the needs of local consumers. When it comes to online learning, the more you can localize the process to suit your own needs, the better.
Firstly, consider your circadian rhythms. When are you naturally at your best and most productive during the day (or during the night, if you’re a night owl)? Whenever it is, that’s the ideal time to learn. An hour spent learning when you’re focused and motivated can potentially be more productive than two hours spent slogging away at your studies when you’re really not feeling it.
Secondly, find your preferred learning style. What are the four types of learning styles? According to the VARK theory, learners typically fall into four categories: visual, reading/writing, auditory and kinesthetic. These are four very different styles of learning. Knowing which one you are means you can localize your learning experience to your own needs, choosing online methods that will help you to learn faster and more effectively.
Learning a language can be as fun as you want it to be. Forget school-style learning! Whether you’re seeking out the easiest or the hardest language to learn, the internet has changed the way in which we study languages immeasurably.
Are you a film buff? Then choose subtitled films and TV shows to help you absorb language while also enjoying the latest movies. Is music more your thing? Then go for everything from nursery rhymes to current chart-toppers to help you learn new vocabulary while also indulging your passion.
Even online video games can help with your language-learning journey. Translate on the fly as you engage in in-game chat with players around the world, or even play a game entirely in the language you are learning. Either way, the combination of hobby plus study means that this is an ideal learning method for keen gamers.
Online game resources don’t all have to be on the scale of World of Warcraft, either. Opt for a mixture of flashcard games, Scrabble-style challenges and other word games to keep your interest in learning alive. If you have a friend who’s learning the same language and who can play with you, so much the better!
If you prefer literary translation as a learning tool, then online resources have so much to offer. Load up a kindle with your favourite novels in the relevant language or find a selection of blogs and online magazines on topics you’re interested in. You can then read to your heart’s content, picking up additional vocabulary and an appreciation for the finer points of grammar along the way.
Learning language with translation apps
Of course, there is also a wide range of apps out there dedicated solely to language learning. The most successful of these have gamified the learning process to ensure you feel a continued sense of achievement as you learn, which can be an excellent motivator.
Translation apps can also be a huge help when learning a language online. Keep your phone handy and simply tap in the names of everyday objects to give your vocabulary a serious boost. Not only will you pick up new words quickly, but you’ll also be focusing on some of those that will be most useful, as they relate to the objects that you encounter in daily life.
Quick, simple translation on the go like this can be a highly effective learning tool. Aim to learn five, ten or more words every day – choose a number that suits the pace of your learning and then make it a daily goal to stick to it. Your vocabulary will expand in no time!
Blend translation, learning and socialising
Many people prefer to study with others rather than alone. Again, the online learning experience has plenty to offer in this respect. Indeed, forecasting and analysis shows that the online language learning market is due to experience incremental growth of $18.61 billion between 2019 and 2024. The year-over-year growth rate for 2020 stands at 17.85%.
Behind these figures stand a whole host of talented linguists, from teachers to translators. For those looking to learn a language online, tutors who provide lessons by video call can be an excellent asset. Not only do they deliver a well-structured learning experience, they also provide the opportunity to practice conversing, which is something that many online learning methods lack. Furthermore, online language tutors can also mould the services that they provide to the particular pace, abilities and interests of the individual learner.
Professional tutors aren’t the only option, though. There are plenty of ways to connect with speakers of other languages online, with apps available for everything from finding pen-pals to making lifelong friends. Reaching out to people around the world can be a fun way to socialise while also learning a language. Just remember the basics of internet safety when making friends with strangers online!
Can you really learn a language online? Yes, in this day and age you absolutely can. Online learning resources offer a wealth of excitement and variety that you can localize and adapt to meet your own needs, routines and learning style. To get the best out of your personal online language learning experience, don’t be afraid to experiment with different learning methods until you find a combination that helps you to learn fast while also enjoying the time you spend doing so. Life is too short for boring language learning and the wealth of options available online means you can make the experience both enjoyable and rewarding.