In an era of rapidly developing technology, e-learning has been gradually gaining followers among users of the online realm. Broadening its audience literally day after day, the industry of online language learning facilities has reached the peak of popularity, covering an ever expanding range of languages, with English having taken precedence from the very beginning. Offering an extensive variety of professional and amateur language learning tools, the web is helping to form a new generation of multilingualists – and all without stepping out of the house.
Topping the list of virtual language learning resources are online courses, which seem to remain unthreatened by any other corresponding type of tool. Internet language courses have been established and pursued both by professional, well-known enterprises which release electronic (often demo) versions of traditional “paper” language learning manuals, as well as private web users whose intention is to make all essential language learning tools available for the user at hand. The notion of online language learning courses appears especially beneficial, as it allows the learner to match the level of language proficiency to their individual needs.
Next, failing to find a native speaker of an uncommon language is a thing of the past, with online tools making the task exceptionally simple. Online means of communication such as Skype or InterPals enables one to learn a language and practise it at home, with the chance to test one’s skills against an actual speaker of a given tongue. An online chat aimed at learning a language may involve a student-teacher relationship, where both concerned conduct regular classes and monitor the learner’s improvement. Language exchange, another popular trend in the online world, could serve as another useful source of knowledge for home-based language learners.
Another collection of useful online language learning tools includes language communities, where an internationally varied group of Internet users determined to improve their language skills online gathers in order to exchange useful tips related to the language of interest. Such virtual language communities may be found on social media sites like Facebook or on forums designed specifically to provide linguistic aid to those who have taken to Internet to learn a foreign tongue at home. Since the word “community” itself points at the collective aspect of the notion, there are also a number of online spaces where you can log into a virtual class conducted by a real-life teacher. An example of such a tool is the Second Life online platform, where language students meet together to share the experience of learning a language from home, and yet retain the opportunity to obtain useful feedback from a professional teacher.
Using a combination of online devices for at-home language learning may prove significantly more effective than traditional learning methods in attaining a certain level of proficiency in a language of choice. By the same token, noticeable improvement could also be reached through opting for, and focusing attention on, one of the foreign language learning tools, choosing the one that seems to deliver the most desirable performance and ensure best results for the individual user.