How to Use Technology to Advance Your Language Learning

When learning a language, time management and staying motivated can be extremely difficult, especially for people with busy schedules. This is where technology comes in as a practical tool, increasing access to almost any language in the world and enabling the busiest commuters to work on their language skills while on the go.

Here at Lingua Link DC, we love to use technology because it helps students learn more effectively and it’s fun — after all, who doesn’t find a few extra minutes a day to play a game on their phone?

Below, you’ll find six different ways that we like to use technology to help our students learn another language. We hope that you can use these tools to learn the language you’ve been wanting to study!

Use a Mobile App Like Duolingo or Memrise

Mobile apps are extremely useful to keep up with your language practice while commuting or traveling. Duolingo and Memrise are two fantastic tools for language learning, whether you already know a little bit about the language or not. They’re mobile applications with advanced technology that understands how you learn in order to help you memorize and become proficient in a new language.

It’s important to look at the app reviews to find one that is rated highly for the language you’re trying to learn. For example, with a language like Russian, I recommend students use Memrise because it doesn’t assume you know the Russian alphabet, like many other programs. It will guide you through understanding the language, letter by letter. For English speakers who want to learn Spanish, Duolingo is a great tool to use because of its fun and innovative learning games. When in doubt, app reviews are your friend!

Tips & Advice

Make sure you dedicate 15 minutes a day to your language practice on your mobile app, ideally even three times a day for 15 minutes each.

Video Conferencing: Skype, Google Hangouts & More

Technology has made it so that you no longer have to be in a specific location to receive english coaching or tutoring. Video conferencing and Skype can connect you to your favorite teacher no matter where you’re located, truly turning language learning into a global experience.

This is especially helpful if you’re thinking about visiting or moving to a new country and you’d like a teacher who is fluent in the native language you want to learn. With a localized teacher, you’ll better understand colloquial words that you might not learn in a formalized language program at school or university.

Videos Help You Practice Vocabulary & Pronunciation

Understanding the sound that each letter makes is important for becoming proficient in any language. You have to learn the individual sounds before you can put them together into words and phrases. There are several online videos great for learning how to pronounce words in many different languages, from English to Arabic.

YouTube helps English learners practice their vocabulary and pronunciation with videos created by a huge number of language teachers. This is especially helpful for character-based languages! Don’t be afraid to sit down in front of your computer and turn on a few YouTube videos to practice.

Sound Recording from Your Phone

You no longer need a separate sound recording system just to capture your favorite speeches or class lectures. If you’re taking a language course, then you can simply use your phone to record the daily lesson.

Studies have shown that listening to recordings in another language helps to improve your listening comprehension, vocabulary, and pronunciation.

If In Doubt, Check Out the Media

In 2017, we have access to thousands of media sources in almost any language through a computer or mobile device. If you’d like to use technology to learn another language, then you can use videospodcasts and other media to get familiar with the natural cadence of conversations around the world.

If you’ve ever talked to someone who has learned another language, then it’s likely that they’ve spent time sitting in front of the TV or going out to the movies. Watching TV and seeing movies is a popular way to learn how to facilitate a conversation in another language because actors and actresses have scripts that often sound similar to everyday communication.

Researchers have found it easier to learn another language if the person understands the context in which the words were used. It’s hard to make sense of simple sayings, even sayings like, “What are you doing today?” can be difficult to understand if someone has never heard it used in real life.

Since the conversations on TV and in movies reflect the way people naturally speak, it’s a great place to start. If you’d like to learn the language of a specific profession, then you can watch shows that center around a particular field. For doctors, medical television dramas are a great way to learn some of the basics and have something to talk about at work the next day.

What to Remember About Using Technology to Learn English

The use of technology can never replace a good teacher. After all, speaking another language is about communicating between people.

Instead, it should be seen as a tool to enhance language learning, so that it’s meaningful and engaging. The best way to learn a language is to dive right in and make sure that you have the support you need. Technology, from mobile apps to screen recordings, is a great way to customize your learning style and schedule!

At Lingua Link DC, we integrate technology into our students' learning experience whenever we can to create a comprehensive goal-oriented process that gives people the ability to learn to the best of their ability.

Marike Korn