With online courses, you’re in full control of your learning environment in a way you just can’t be with an in-person course. So why wouldn’t you take the time to set yourself up for success?
Here are our top tips on what to do to make the most of every session in your online language course.
When Booking Your Online Course
Check Your Schedule
Look at all the course dates to make sure you’re available for the classes. Don’t forget to factor in prior commitments like work trips and vacations! Missing the odd class now and again isn’t the end of the world, but it makes sense to book a course you know you can attend.
Make Sure You Have Reliable Internet Connection
This could mean moving closer to the router, coordinating video conference calls with your flatmate, or ducking out to a coffee shop. A slow connection leads to unnecessary frustration — and you’re going to want to be as zen as possible when learning adjective declination. Trust us!
Familiarize Yourself With Zoom
We use the most popular video conference software out there for our online courses. If you haven’t already, we recommend downloading the desktop app, which is way better than the web version. And make sure your hardware’s in good working order (test your webcam and microphone).
Get Your Coursebook
Remember to get your coursebook and any other physical tools and learning aids you might need, such as notebook, pens, pencils, highlighters, post-its, lucky mascot, cauldron of tea, etc.
Download Helpful Apps
For German dictionaries, we recommend Dict.cc and Leo. Other tools you might like include the virtual flashcard app Quizlet and Kahoot (for interactive quizzes).
Cultivate Your Study Space
Whether it’s a desk, couch, a kitchen table, create your own cozy learning corner where you can focus.
Do Not Disturb
Save the texting for after class. Put your phone away so you don't get distracted. If you plan to learn from home, make sure the people you live with know when your classes are so they won’t disturb you during this time.
Look over your notes from the last session, make sure you’ve done your Hausaufgaben (homework), and make note of any questions for your teacher. It also really helps to turn up early with everything you need, so you’re mentally prepared. Remember: you paid for this.
Turn on your camera and get to know your coursemates a bit better. You’re going to be spending a lot of combined hours with these folks, and being able to see each other will help connection.
Mute Your Mic
Background noise can be distracting and disruptive. Imagine if every student left their microphone on when the teacher was speaking — it would sound like a zoo. So mute your mic when you’re not talking (and don’t forget to turn it on when you are) so you and your fellow classmates can have uninterrupted learning.
Because video connections are sometimes glitchy, you can't rely on reading lips when you're learning a new language online. Using headphones will help you hear everything better than if you were in the front row of a physical classroom, and prevent you from having to say, "Wie, bitte?" too often.
Reach out to Your Coursemates
Some of them may be interested in setting up a study group to practice what you learn in class, or swap tips on how to master tricky grammar points.
Immerse Yourself in German Culture
Find your favorite new German movie or series on Netflix, read the news headlines (or whole articles auf Deutsch), and check out our Spotify playlist to keep your brain working in German.
Übung macht den Meister (Practice makes perfect)
Try out what you’ve learned on your friends or on unsuspecting Germans in the wild. Try asking for directions (even if you know how to get there), strike up a conversation with a stranger in the späti, or order your delivery in German (yes, this one requires you to make a phone call).