Online Language Schools
If it's been a long time since you learned a foreign language, the words "language lesson" might conjure up images of dreary classrooms, language teachers with pronunciation worse than their students', and seemingly endless grammar exercises. Even if you've learned a second language in the recent past, you may have been frustrated by impersonal teaching methods and felt you still had difficulty speaking the language, even after the course had finished. But no more! The internet is full of online language courses which use modern and effective teaching methods. So if you're looking for an exciting, interactive language-learning opportunity, or a tailor-made course to suit your personal needs, the internet is the place to go.
How Do I Find A Course?
A simple internet search under "online language course" or "online language school", plus the name of the language you wish to learn, will quickly produce the results you are looking for. You'll find a wealth of online courses, providing a range of learning opportunities at varying prices. You'll even find some websites which offer language training and practice exercises at no charge at all. You'll find that not all online language courses use the same teaching methods. That's why it's important to shop around to find the right course for you. If you are learning a language for work, your needs will be different to those of someone who is learning for pleasure, and you should keep this in mind while you are searching. Likewise, if, for example, you really only need to read and reply to emails in a foreign language, you could look for a course that focuses on reading and writing skills, whereas if you want to travel or work in a foreign country, you probably need a more rounded course which focuses on reading, writing, speaking and listening.
How Does It Work?
Some language schools will ask you to complete a small language test online (if you already to have some language knowledge) to assess your level before you begin. If you're looking for a tailor-made course, this is a good way to start out because your teacher can then focus on your needs. Many online courses provide private lessons, if desired, using interactive learning programs and experienced teachers who are native speakers of your target language. Some courses allow you to communicate directly with your teacher using VoIP technology from your home, or which ever video conferencing program is available at your work. A range of VoIP programs are available free-of-charge online and can be easily installed. You will need a set of headphones with a microphone and a good internet connection to use this facility. Many courses will allow you to schedule lessons at a time that suits you. Some of the interactive programs available also have advanced speech recognition technology, which means that even when you are learning alone, you can get instant feedback on your pronunciation and language skills. The programs also provide a vivid and motivating learning environment, incorporating images and sound - the days of old-fashioned verb drills are long gone!
A Word Of Warning
Discipline - Fans of online language learning love the independence and sense of personal achievement it provides, especially when they try out their language skills in real life and find that they actually work! However, such independent learning requires self-discipline and the style is not suited to everyone. If you think you might find it hard to motivate yourself to go online everyday, a course which schedules private lessons with a teacher might be more suitable for you than one which allows you to log in whenever you feel like it. Knowing that someone is waiting for you online will encourage you to attend your lessons!
Quality of courses - it can be harder to rate the credentials of an online language course than those of one you might find at your local college or night school. Most quality online schools will provide references and recommendations on their websites which you should feel free to check out before you invest your money. Reliable courses will usually provide a free sample lesson before taking any payment from you.