• Linda Salamin

6 tips for the new online learner

Are you new or considering online learning?

Online learning is a godsend - and it is here to stay. It offers flexibility, increased access to knowledge and training and, in turn, reduces absences and increases your return on investment.

In order to have a positive online learning experience and factor in enjoyment too - there are a few steps that need to be taken:

1. Get movtivated

As a teacher of both classroom and online courses I know that a learner who is motivated will always find time for classes and studies - no matter what. If you are motivated there is always a solution or another possibility to your problem. Also, self-motivated learners very rarely get discouraged or give up.

2. Set clear, attainable goals

Knowing where you are at the beginning of your classes and wehre your want to be at the end of your stuies is essential for maintaining motivation. In this way you can also fix intermediate goals along the way. This promotes a feeling of satisfaction and enjoyment. The end goals must be "attainable". If you are at a low intermediate level of English at the beginning of your course your won't have a proficiency level in 3 months. Be realistic!

3. Study with a valid course provider

The internet is overflowing with online language courses - some even free - with many tempting promises of making you a fluent speaker in jsut a few weeks. Sorry to inform you, but especially in language learning, there is no free lunch! So, what is a "valid" cours provider? Here are a few pointers :

  • teachers are qualified, experienced and native speakers

  • the address and phone number of the school are published

  • there is sufficient information about the teaching approach, course offerings and prices

  • there is a word about the founder

  • there aren't any false promises of "quick learning"

  • there is a possibility of receiving a course attestation or certificate

4. Get equipped

Online learning is enjoyable and flexible but if you havent't taken the necessary steps to ensure you are "online ready" you could be disappointed. Online learning requires a certain equipment such as:

  • sufficient internet connection

  • a webcam (if not integrated in your computer - a good model: Logitec C920)

  • an external microphone if using Skype(a good model: Blue Snowball)

  • a Skype account

Finally, check that all is working 15 minutes before the session.

5. Regularity

OK you are there - you can now start your sessions! But don't forget that language acquisition requires regular learning sessions and exposure to the language. Having a couple of sessions a month and not using English outside of sessions won't get you anywhere. On the other hand, with regular sessions and preparation for sessions you will see progress. The questin is: how much time are you willing to set aside for learning? The more regular you are - the faster you will see results.

6. Rewards

Finally, online learning can be a very rewarding way of learning - with a high level of self-satisfaction if your persist. That is one of your rewards - self-satisfaction. But I say that you should also reward yourself from time to time for your perseverance and ongoing progress. This is of course personal - I am talking about "little things". For example, I like going out to a coffee shop early in the morning before going to work and having a coffee and reading a newspaper. For me this is a real treat. So I do this once a week. What is your special treat?

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