Opening the Door to New Methods in Language Learning
What was once global has now become local. In our neighbourhood stores and markets, we can now buy a wide variety of products that we couldn’t taste or obtain years ago. In communication, the changes have been just as dramatic. Thanks to technological advances, we now take for granted that we can speak to people on the other side of the world as if they were next door! We are all aware of the doors this has opened. The ease of communication has allowed businesses to flourish and ensured that families and friends communicate across the world effortlessly, something I certainly appreciated when I was living abroad. Sometimes, in fact, the ease of communication can make people forget that language differences still exist – and that they’re important. Being able to communicate even basic concepts in the native language of the person you are speaking to has multiple benefits, extending from better communication to better relationships to better outcomes, in business and personal life. This fact is something that most international assignees know firsthand! And fortunately, technology has come to the rescue again, opening the doors to a number of new methods that make language learning easier than ever.
Embracing new ways of learning
A school classroom may still be the image many people have when they think of “traditional” learning, but it’s fast becoming eclipsed by technological advances that offer many different ways to learn: online courses, online groups, podcasts, apps, workshops, television programs, and immersion, just to name a few! You’d think that with all those potential approaches, there’d be no reason why anyone – even a busy, time-pressured international assignee – couldn’t pick up languages easily and quickly. However, as a trainer experienced with many different learning situations (prior to working in the language training team at Cartus, I taught English as a second language for six years), I know that the common myths about language training can still get in the way of success.
Myth #1: “ I don’t have the time to commit to language classes”
This is certainly a factor in relocation, where employees are working a full-time job, having children start a new school, and living in a new area – all time-challenging enough without having to factor in language classes!
However, this is where new learning mediums can be a lifesaver. When commuting on a train you can log on to a language app and complete a quiz. When travelling you can log on to your hotel’s Wi-Fi and have an online language lesson. When driving you can listen to a language podcast. The flexibility these new methods offer is fantastic!
Myth #2: “Maybe online training is more flexible – but it’s not as effective as face-to-face training”
Another misconception is that online language training is not as effective as face-to-face training. During my teaching years, I worked as a trainer via the online teaching platform powered by Learnship. I was more than pleased when, due to the partnership between Learnship and Cartus, Learnship actually became our online training platform! Their training is unique. On top of ease of scheduling that contributes to international assignees taking advantage of more training hours in more relaxed situations, their online classroom is interactive, with a real teacher conversing directly with the student. Customized lesson plans help learning proceed rapidly – and easily. I understand why many of you would be sceptical of this, and you’re not alone; I was too! However, once you become familiar with the easy-to-use classroom tools and capabilities, you’ll find that the training provides the same, if not better, resources than a physical classroom. The trainer is a real person, you can see and hear his or her face and voice clearly, plus lessons can take place all over the world at flexible times.
I don’t want to get on my soapbox here and preach that anything is possible, but thanks to technology, there’s a lot more that is! For the first time, language learning can fit around your life and not the other way round. If you open the door to a new method of learning, it can fit around your schedule and help you and your family converse and feel more comfortable – more quickly – in the country that is your new home.
If you want to find out more about our face-to-face online language learning, powered by Learnship, and how face-to-face online language training can help your program, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org - we’ll be happy to schedule a free lesson so you can see how it works in person!