November 11


Maximum flexibility with language courses for at home and on the go

By Laura Bacher

November 11, 2020

For many years it was taken for granted that you could only learn languages in face-to-face courses. Nowadays, in the age of scarcity of time and the Internet, you have the opportunity to learn languages differently: online and as language courses at home.

Many people would like to learn a language alongside their family or job but are limited in time. So a classroom course does not always fit into the daily routine. Learning languages is possible with a language course in the classroom or a language trip abroad. And even from the comfort of your own home. The Internet offers numerous possibilities – from online language courses to practicing vocabulary on a smartphone. The great advantage of learning a foreign language on the Internet is its flexibility. You can schedule yourself when what and how often you know.

Advantages of self-determined learning:

  • you set the learning pace yourself
  • you choose the learning materials alone
  • learning at any time and any place
  • you can combine many different learning methods (app, software, film, radio, TV, telephone, book, MP3, e-book, flashcards, music videos, e-mails, SMS, painting, posters, post-it notes)
  • you can make rapid progress through varied and intensive learning
  • cheaper than language holidays and expensive language courses
  • people who are reluctant to speak in front of other participants have the advantage of learning independently.

Disadvantages of independent learning:

  • no one controls your diligence, and no one admonishes you to study when you are lazy
  • in case of problems you do not have a contact person immediately
  • you will not receive a learning certificate

For many people, the most significant disadvantage is motivation. If you have a fixed date per week on which you have to attend a course, it is usually easier to keep to this than to motivate yourself alone and at home. Therefore, our tip: Set fixed learning units! You can find out what your learning plan could look like here: Your Weekly Learning Plan.

Also: Most people read and learn (even) better when they have the learning material on paper in front of them. For this reason, Brain-Friendly also offers exercise documents for downloading and printing. So only you decide when to practice online with the learning video and when with pen and paper.

So can you successfully learn languages at home with online language courses?

You can also teach yourself a foreign language, but this requires continuity, motivation, and self-discipline. You have to choose your learning methods and learning material all by yourself. Additionally, you need to adjust your learning mode to your needs.

How promising are vocabulary trainer apps?

A vocabulary trainer is a way to learn a few single words or short phrases for the holidays. A “hello,” “thank you,” or “how are you” is something you will learn with vocabulary learning apps every time. However, they are generally not suitable for sound and lasting successful learning.

A language consists of content and structure. Words build content. For this reason, it is essential to know the vocabulary. The decisive factor is how you learn vocabulary. You create words in the brain like a network. Countless links form the right phrases and sentences. The better a word is networked, the easier it is to remember when needed. Therefore, the best way to learn vocabulary is to understand whole sentences and texts. This technique has several advantages:

  • the networking of words is supported
  • one learns the meaning of the words
  • the brain learns new words more easily if they are related to what is already known
  • the application of the phrase becomes clear
  • one learns multiple meanings of words, if necessary
  • you understand the sentence structure and grammar on the side

For example, if you learn that the bus’s English word is ‘bus,’ you might formulate the wrong sentence: ‘I drive with the bus.’ Understanding the term in typical combinations such as ‘I go by bus’ or ‘I get off the bus’ can help avoid such mistakes.

In face-to-face language courses, you are firmly bound to place, content, and time. On the other hand, in self-study, you can decide for yourself when to do your “homework.” If you are looking for flexibility in time and space, online learning is ideal. However, make sure you learn with a method that is right for your brain. We recommend Birkenbihl-Method. Brain-Friendly has implemented the successful Birkenbihl-Method as MOVIEĀ© language courses.

Laura Bacher

About the author

Laura has been a big fan of foreign languages since her childhood. She grew up bilingual - English and German - and through international vacations, she got a taste of many other languages.

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