Learning a Foreign Language
with an LMS
by Logan Smith
Becoming bilingual can be a very personally and professionally rewarding experience; you are unlocking a whole new culture’s communication, which can make traveling the world more exciting and can make you a greater asset to your company. With the U.S. Being one of the wealthiest countries in the world, with access to the best and most cutting-edge technology, it really is sad that only 8.6 out of each 100 college credits taken by students are for a foreign language. In fact, many colleges will let you exempt foreign language if you had taken it in high school. Compare those numbers to 56% of Europeans who consider themselves fluent in at least one other language according to a recent survey, and it’s easy to see how Americans get the stereotype of being ethnocentric and limited to English.
Luckily, with online classes offered by an LMS, learning a foreign language is easier and more convenient than ever. Some people will argue learning a foreign language without a face-to-face instructor, but a lot of the comprehension and repetition can come from listening and repeating exercises, especially out loud. Often times, using a blended method of learning is the best way to successfully learn a foreign language. Blended learning is a form of mixed media learning including both face-to-face, in-class instruction mixed with online classes, assignments and tests. Having an instructor listen to your progress can be very important, and they are able to correct any pronunciation issues or incorrect accents.
While the occasional face-to-face meeting can be vital in the language learning process, many high schools have found that online language courses helps to make students more comfortable with practicing at home. Foreign languages can be intimidating, and learning in a large group may discourage some kids from speaking up and truly learning the language. Other obstacles many high schools face is the lack of physical space, lack of language instructors, limited language curriculum, the rise in home-schooling and lack of funding. With increasing obstacles, many high schools are eliminating the options for languages, or offering only one choice of foreign language.
An LMS can help many high schools overcome these obstacles by providing most of the learning through podcasts, online lectures, online reading and writing and speaking exercises. This enables students to learn from home while schools can reduce their budget to one language teacher for each language. This can hopefully free up some of the budget to offer more of a variety of languages.