4 tips for getting the most out of your language training

2021 continued to challenge us with COVID quarantines and restrictions. Although I was able to meet some of my clients face-to-face, several of my clients stayed online. In many cases attendance improved because participants could attend regardless of where they were. Different work locations? No problem. They could just log in and participate.  


This kind of flexibility is priceless. And, of course, I save time because I am not traveling. A win-win for all of us.


But can clients really benefit if lessons are solely online?


It depends. I am basing my answer on both my experience as an online learner of Italian and as an English language trainer.

To truly benefit from language training (either online or face-to-face) consider these points:


  1. Be clear on your goals. Do you want to speak more fluently in meetings? Do you want to improve your grammar and vocabulary? Do you want to pass an exam?  What exactly do you want to do?
  2. Communicate your goals to your trainer. If you are not sure about your goals, a good trainer will ask questions to help you understand exactly what you want to do.
  3. Commit to the process. Despite a lot of wishful thinking, learning a language requires work. There is no magic formula. If you are a beginner at a language like I am in Italian, you will have to do homework, study grammar, and memorize vocabulary. There is no way around it. If you are a higher-level student, you will still need to read articles or listen to talks so that you can participate productively in your lesson and improve your skills. 
  4. Give your trainer feedback. As a trainer, I am constantly trying to “read the room” – something that is a little more difficult online than face-to-face. Remember, communication is a two-way street. Let your trainer know if you want or need a different approach or content.

Language learning and teaching are active processes. As a trainer, I am constantly reflecting on my lessons, considering new techniques, or re-vamping older ones. The same is true with my language learning. Despite COVID or perhaps because of COVID, 2021 gave me the opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and grow as a language trainer and learner.