In the beginning were dictionaries and grammar references. Then, textbooks and workbooks appeared. Learners were enabled to write answers directly in the book and check them without teacher’s help. Later on, textbooks with tape records, CD-ROMS and other audio and video media became popular. That is how the process of learning languages has evolved through centuries. Nowadays, technology has been continuously changing the way we interact with learning materials. Online tools make it increasingly easy to study a new tongue.
Busuu, ChineseClass101, ChinesePod, and Transparent are only few examples of online tutoring systems that let you practice your skills in Mandarin Chinese. There are also many websites like DuoLingo and Babbel that have no Mandarin courses so far. However, if they create such courses they will definitely gain more popularity and successfully compete with those websites listed above. Many people who try any of them become “addicted” to this funny, engaging and flexible teaching style.
However, there are still many Internet users who are rather skeptical about these resources. Most of them require paid membership. But is it really worth money? We already pay to teachers. We buy quite expensive textbooks, dictionaries, magazines, references, etc. They are all unavoidable for those who really want to learn a foreign language to a good level. Do we really need to pay extra for using online tools? My answer is “yes”! There are at least 10 exciting reasons to do this!
Reason 1: Games for better learning experiences.
I have often heard that interactive learning of languages was just a “game”. Indeed, busuu.com and similar resources have lots of game elements. After all, who said that learning should be always serious? Learning by game has many benefits and that is proved by scientists and psychologists.
Reason 2: You will save time and gain high efficiency.
Of course, websites for interactive learning are not a complete substitution of regular teaching methods. You should not rely on it as on the only source of knowledge and you still need a good tutor and textbooks. However, using additional digital resources for interactive learning increases your efficiency significantly. To realize the difference, just compare the speed of completing and checking online exercises and those in printed workbooks!
Reason 3: Build automatic skills.
Since online tools save your time by doing routine checking of tests within seconds, it is easy to browse and review learning materials. This helps you to build automatic skills more quickly. If you persist, you’ll be surprised.
Reason 4: Keep up-to-date on interesting topics.
Languages change more quickly than you might expect. New topics and focuses of interest arise. Unlike usual textbooks the content of websites is dynamic and regularly updated with most up-to-date information.
Reason 5: Stay engaged and encouraged.
You can set goals and get other encouragements. Websites for interactive studies help you to stay engaged for a long period time.
Reason 6: Track your progress.
Online tools usually have a sufficient system for tracking your learning progress. Gaining points, “berries”, “coins” and other internal website currencies may become a good motivation for Internet users.
Reason 7: Make productive use of your free time.
It is not a secret that we all spend lots of time on commuting, queuing, waiting, etc. If you download the interactive learning website (mobile app) on your smart phone or tablet you can use this time for your own benefit.
Reason 8: Battle with procrastination.
Often carry out less urgent tasks in preference to more urgent ones? Then don’t consider learning Mandarin as a heavy and serious task. Online tools make studies funny so you easily find learning a foreign language a simple task (credit ruelas). When it becomes tempting to surf Internet browse flashcards or complete some exercises. And that would not be “procrastination”!
Reason 9: “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.” (Warren Buffett)
When you pay for something it becomes more valuable for you so you less likely to give up studying after acquiring 6-month paid membership. This makes you practice your skills and practice makes perfect!
Reason 10: It is just the most modern and fashionable way to learn languages!
Do you use any of online tools for learning Mandarin Chinese? Please share your experience! Were the websites you used worth money?