There are many different ways to learn a foreign language. Whether you select an individual language course, group session, telephone training, eTraining, intensive course, immersion programme, home-stay or self-study, you need to first understand your personal preferences and learning style.
One way of figuring out which training format is best for you is by looking at your own personality and character. For example, eTraining requires a level of self-discipline to connect regularly to the site to practise. Individual training sessions work best with people who are able to plan their time effectively as missing training sessions can have a negative effect on learning. Group training sessions are effective for people who are willing to work through the language learning with other group members.
Another aspect which will help you to determine the most effective language training format is to look at your individual learning style. There are many different models of learning styles, but one model of learning styles suggests there are three different types:
- Auditory – understand and acquire information well by listening to explanations or language dialogues
- Visual – need to see the things written down and prefer different forms of visual learning like graphics and videos
- Kinaesthetic – prefer active lessons with dynamic games and role plays that apply the learning to a practical context
Visual learners may not benefit from telephone training which lacks visual components, whereas kinaesthetic learners may benefit greatly from group training which includes role plays and movement. Training which involves lots of verbal discussion in the session and saves written assignments for self-study may not appeal to visual learners who need to see things written down. Meanwhile, training that uses a very communicative approach and lots of interactive activities may appeal to auditory and kinaesthetic learners. Knowing your learning style can help you to select the best training format and approach.
In addition to some of the methods we’ve explored here, there are a number of other training formats which could appeal to your personal style and preferences. The Community Language Learning (CLL) format, for example, uses humanistic techniques to engage the whole person in the learning process.
Other language training sessions use music and rhythm to tap into the non-rational and non-conscious influences on language learning. Increasingly language training also incorporates technology to increase the impact of training, whether through language eTraining solutions or language media centres which provide the tools to practise learning from the session.
Before signing up for a language course, it’s therefore really important to think about your learning style and preferred approach as well as your training objectives. This will ensure that the training format you select will give you the most opportunity to improve your language skills.
© Communicaid Group Ltd. 2011