A new era in language learning
Gone are the days when language teaching involved teaching in a classroom with a chalkboard, course book and audio cassettes - and where the language learner had no control over what was being taught or how it was being taught.
Today, the Internet, new technologies and globalisation has completely transformed how and what we provide in terms of language tuition.
Here are but a few of the changes already taking place:
A shift in who determines course content. Today, in most schools that deliver quality courses a "needs analysis" is done to determine what the learner wants and needs to learn. Teachers and /or schools that dictate what learners will learn is more a thing of the past than of the future. (What does this say for schools that serve their learners fixed methods and content?)
Higher flexibility. More and more people travel for work and need to be able to access learning "on the move"! E-learning platforms and Skype are increasingly shaping the language learning landscape. (What will happen to teachers unwilling to embrace technology?)
Blended learning is on the rise. This is simply a mix of learning resources for learning both inside and outside the classroom such as: video clips, podcasts, online exercises, course books, apps, audio books, etc. (What will happen to teachers who are not adapting to new learning styles?)
Group classes will decrease steadily. Learners (and sponsors) are less willing to follow a "one fits all" class (even though these classes are cheaper) and demand more flexibilty, personalisation, learning outcomes and effectiveness in course offerings. (What does the future hold for schools that make a good deal of their profit from group classes?)
More learning will take place outside the classroom. With the use of platforms and Sype (live teaching) we can offer learners (private or semi-private) "classes" just about wherever and whenever they want and need. This contributes to fewer "absences" and gaps in learning and puts less stress on learners.
So what will the main changes be in language learning moving forward? More learner-led language learning, for sure. With time and budgets shrinking we need to deliver "just in time" language tuition with built-in flexibility in delivery (time and place).
A challenge for us language providers? Yes indeed. We need to learn new skills, change our focus on course planning and listen more to learners if we want to continue teaching languages in the future.