In the time of pandemic, online learning has gained popularity. During the lockdown, it was the only way to study, and it will remain the safest way to study until the virus gets under control. And while not much has changed for those who began studying online pre-COVID times, it is understandable that those who are new to online learning might have certain doubts about the effectiveness of this method.
We started teaching languages online four years ago, and since then, we have connected hundreds of teachers with thousands of students. We’ve watched people achieve their goals and get into a university abroad, land a new dream job or break the language barrier and gain fluency. Online learning can work! But only if it’s done right. We’ve seen what distinguished the most successful learners from others, and here we share the top learnings:
1. Make yourself accountable (work with a real human)
Apps are great, and we strongly recommend some of them (Duolingo! <3) as a tool for exercising your grammar and vocabulary. However, the problem with apps is, they don’t hold you accountable if you miss a lesson, and they also don’t have feelings and won’t be disappointed if you don’t study hard. It’s a good idea to mix self-learning with live lessons with a real teacher (this can of course be done online too!), thanks to which you will be more likely to stay motivated and on track.
2. Stick to a schedule
It’s easier to stick to something that is placed in your calendar than to something you’re planning to put in your calendar. We’ve seen that students who schedule more classes at once are more likely to study regularly and achieve their goals. They create a time slot once or twice a week and protect that time from other commitments. On Langu, in case something unexpected comes up, you can reschedule your class for a different time or day, just as long as you know at least 24 hours in advance. The inability to make last-minute cancelations was originally meant to protect the teachers’ time, but it can also protect you from yourself just in case you’re feeling lazy!
3. Set a goal
We humans love goals, and we love the feeling of accomplishment. If you set a goal for yourself, something that you really care about, you are way more likely to study effectively than when you approach classes casually. A goal could be something official, such as a B2 exam in Spanish, or something more fun, for example being able to read Harry Potter books in German. Whatever it is, make sure the goal is your own and that the thought of having achieved it makes you happy!
4. Create a ritual
Ritual is something we do regularly, and which makes us feel good. Do you love having your hot morning coffee? Or your reflective afternoon walk? If your online lessons become a ritual, you will look forward to them and you’re more likely to stick to them and not give up. Make your lessons a ritual rather than a chore. For example, brew your favourite tea before each lesson, take the lesson in your favourite cosy spot, such as sofa or armchair, and reward yourself with a cake after your class. Rituals make us happy! And we’re more likely to stick to something that gives us that nice fuzzy feeling. This might be the easiest tip here, because the more you get to know your teacher, the more you’ll enjoy your regular conversations - like meeting an old friend.
5. Be proud of yourself
And, last but not least, be proud of yourself! Even the smallest effort you put towards your learning goals is something above and beyond, and you should appreciate yourself for it. It’s easy to give up and stop learning. It’s easy to make excuses. It’s easy to be negative, especially in 2020! If you’re putting energy towards your goals and dreams and you’re doing great. Celebrate your small victories and be proud of yourself!