Research has consistently found that higher learner engagement and achievement are associated with instructional methods that involve active learning techniques. Unlike passive learning, wherein learners simply watch, read, or listen, active learning involves real-world challenges, collaboration, and interactive problem-solving. It engages and motivates learners, promoting long-term retention and a better understanding of course material. This is especially true for language training.
As eLearning overtakes traditional classroom sessions in corporate training, L&D practitioners must filter through numerous programs with varying levels of interactivity to find one that will provide the best return on investment. The interactivity of an eLearning program can be determined by the amount of interactive tools available to help engage the learner.
Here are eight interactive tools to look for in active-learning-enabled language training eLearning programs:
1. Evaluation Tools
The assessment, measurement, documentation of learning levels and progress, are important to have in any training, and yet not all eLearning programs have sufficient evaluation tools to do this. Evaluation tools can include assessment tests, regular quizzes, and satisfaction surveys that not only engage learners, but also provide valuable information for training providers and managers about the effectiveness of the program.
2. Personalized Training Paths
One size definitely does not fit all. Look for eLearning programs that don’t treat all your learners the same. eLearning programs with different training paths that adapt and cater to the specific needs and objectives of individual learners make the learning experience much more meaningful and relevant.
3. A Searchable Library of Resources
An explorable comprehensive library of learning resources is a valuable tool for learners to find exactly what they need at the time they need it. Searchable resources are especially critical for language learners who intend to apply new skills in real life situations.
4. Interactive Whiteboard
The interactive whiteboard is a game-changing feature to have on an eLearning platform. It allows both the learners and trainers to communicate or explain ideas and concepts visually, without having to be face-to-face. It is especially helpful for learning a new language through distance learning solutions. Interactive whiteboards can even allow learners and live trainers to work together on uploaded documents with annotations during virtual classroom sessions.
5. Chat Rooms
The more ways learners can express themselves and practice in their new language, the better. Chat rooms give learners an avenue to communicate with other learners and their trainer within the portal instantly.
Unlike chat rooms where conversations may appear only for a short period of time, forums allow learners to post questions or ideas that will be available for a longer period. This gives more people an opportunity to interact with the post, even across time zones. Forums are great for discussing specific topics in detail, sharing best practices for learning, and receiving news and learning tidbits that might not necessarily be covered in the resources.
7. Voice Conferencing
There is no doubt that oral communication practice is a must when learning a new language. A voice conferencing feature which allows learners to practice their newly acquired language skills with each other or with a trainer can be helpful for learners who might be trying to learn a language on their own.
8. Mobile Capability
eLearning mobility allows the learner to take their training resources and lessons in their pocket. Today, mobile devices are an extension of almost every working individual. With this flexible tool, professionals can build knowledge and skills, whenever and wherever may be convenient for them.
There are many ways eLearning programs for language training can be enhanced for today’s busy professionals. The popularity of eLearning is making it possible to fully engage learners and provide a 360-degree level of training without the need to schedule physical training sessions. We can all expect technology to continue to transform the way we learn new languages as it has in the past decade. Through the years, eLearning language training has evolved from a mostly passive learning experience to a more and more active and effective one.