In an ever more globalized and interconnected world, language classes are a must in higher education. As more and more students are exposed to linguistic and cultural diversity throughout their careers and their lives, language classes are an excellent environment to develop multilingual communication skills and intercultural awareness.
Although conventional lessons that take place in a classroom are the norm and are probably here to stay, bringing an LMS into the learning process can definitely improve learners’ engagement.
4 Reasons why an LMS is an excellent tool for your language classes
If you decide to add an LMS to traditional classroom lessons, the experience will undoubtedly prove beneficial to all those involved. Here are four reasons why you should consider an LMS for your language classes.
Leave no one behind
Granted, language learning requires discipline; going to classes every week is a key factor in keeping students focused on their goal. It’s a little bit like going to the gym. You feel more motivated to work out in a gym rather than at home. However, due to busy schedules, commuting, part-time jobs, university students may skip a lesson or two and when they are back in the classroom, they feel left behind.
Read more: How e-learning can benefit working students
In an e-learning environment, students can follow the topics covered when they missed classes and easily catch up. A learning management system is usually customized to work perfectly on any computer, tablet or smartphone, so students and teachers will have a great experience using it whenever they want on the device of their choice.
Feeling part of a group is an excellent motivator in language learning, so the integrated collaboration tools are great at engaging all students in informal discussions about language, culture, assignments, projects and portfolios etc.
An LMS gives everyone the possibility to keep up with what is going on in the classroom all the time.
Every bird flies with its own wings
… wisely says an ancient African proverb. Each student has a different approach to language learning: from classroom participation, to learning styles and methods, willingness to receive or give feedback, you name it. An LMS is an excellent solution to address the learning diversity in every group, simply because it allows students to engage with teaching materials any way they want, at their own pace.
For instance, some students need to listen several times to an audio or video material, as they have more difficulties processing such an input. In a traditional lesson, time is a very limited resource, one teacher should be available to all students, so particular needs may not be properly addressed every time.
With an LMS, it’s quite the opposite: in the comfort of their home, students can play an audio or video material as many times as necessary to fully understand it. They can pause, replay, see transcriptions, use close captions, subtitles etc.
Microlearning is also easier with an LMS. Teachers can create materials or courses for specific needs, helping those who need to work more on a particular skill.
Sharing is learning
With all the online resources available, immersing yourself in a language or a culture has never been easier. An LMS puts all digital resources to good use, as teachers and students can create their libraries according to they own interests and share them with their peers in collaboration groups.
Learning from other colleagues is easier in an online environment, when time is not an issue. Even more importantly, written messages exchanged in study groups are archived and can be accessed later as needed.
What’s more, faculty may also create their own groups within the same LMS (password protected if they wish so!) to share good practices, materials, tips and tricks etc.
There is always room for improvement
Some students might not feel comfortable with giving and receiving feedback in front of the class. An LMS gives teachers the opportunity to offer quick or even instant feedback to homework. Students can easily monitor their individual progress, without the peer pressure that sometimes may occur in classrooms.
Gamification added to quick feedback is an excellent motivator for engaging students, as it encourages them to stay focused on their learning process. By earning points, stickers or badges, some students may get faster to the next level and receive the feedback they need for improvement.
Face to face interaction in the classroom is an important element in language learning. Talented teachers do a wonderful job in motivating students to overcome difficulties inherent in any learning process. However, adding an LMS to language learning is definitely a plus. It helps teachers personalize their approach according to students’ needs without caring about the time constraints of the conventional classes and it motivates students to learn at their own pace, in their own way to achieve their desired goals.
Veronica is a University lecturer with years of experience in language learning, a translator and interpreter, and a life-long learner.