The Best Way to Learn a Language Online
If you’re spending more time at home than usual these days, you might be taking advantage of a chance to learn something new — like a second language. But what’s the best way to learn a language online?
Language apps might be the first thing that comes to mind for you when you think of online language learning. And we think apps are a great way to start exploring your curiosity about learning a new language. Trying out an app like Babbel, Pimsleur or Duolingo is a cost-effective way to see just how serious you want to get about your language studies.
After you’ve tested out an app, though, you’ll need to shift strategies if you want to keep improving your fluency with your second language. Why? Conversation practice with a real person is essential for language learning. And no matter how great an app is, that’s something it can’t just provide.
But how are you supposed to get that conversation practice in this era of social distancing? You can still take language classes with a live instructor online. And we can tell you from our experiences teaching countless students that online language classes are just as effective as in-person ones. Again, it’s conversation that’s important, not whether the instructor and student are in the same room.
How to Supplement Online Language Classes
When taking online language classes, you can continue to use language apps to supplement your learning and gain extra practice. And if you want to make your online language classes even more effective, here are a few more strategies to try (all without leaving your home).
- Listen to podcasts in the language you are studying.
- Watch TV shows in your new language. You can watch shows from other countries or just change the audio track on your current favorite shows.
- Text with native speakers using apps like HelloTalk and Tandem.
- Learn from the fun videos on FluentU.
- Talk with colleagues who are native speakers. You may not be able to meet for lunch in person right now, but a Zoom chat is still great language practice.