And what if having access to the right program could really make a huge difference?
First of all, you have to know which kind of learner you are. To discover your learning style, I give you the same test I had to take in a tutorial two weeks ago: http://www.engr.ncsu.edu/learningstyles/ilsweb.html
Knowing which kind of learner you are is really important. It can help you to save a lot of time while studying but also to be more effective in general. For example, I know that I am a visual learner. This is why I print basically all slides in all my classes and highlight key words, rewrite and summarize how I understand things,… It seems to work since I never had problems since I’ve entered college. BUT personalising your learning and especially your language learning has also disadvantages. In fact, there’re some teachers who want things to be done in a certain way and not another and it might be difficult to adapt yourself to the teacher’s demands if you’re used to work as you like. And according to Dr Ferler (in “Learning styles”): “When mismatches exist between learning styles of most students in a class and the teaching style of the professor, the students may become bored and inattentive in class, do poorly on tests, get discouraged about the courses, the curriculum, and themselves, and in some cases change to other curricula or drop out of school.”
This is why it is important to get out of your comfort zone and try to reach the balance between the active and the reflective learner, sensing / intuitive learner, visual / verbal learner, sequential / global learner.
Then, you can look for a program that suits you best. Take in consideration different factors like the following ones:
-personal support? => Are you looked after by a qualified tutor?
-quality you can rely on? => For those who want to improve their German level for example, the Goethe Institute is the world’s leading provider of German language courses.
-suitable for every level? => whether a beginner or an advanced learner, own learning rhythm to fit in with your other personal arrangements,…
– certificates? => Are they internationally recognized?
-courses materials? Are they regularly reviewed and revised? Or whether you prefer online or with textbooks, CDS an so on.
These are only a few criteria I took in consideration while evaluating a CALL package. Other criteria could be: learner control, practicality, language learning potential (rapid learnign success?) , error correction and feedback, language skills, authenticity,….
I hope you will succeed in finding the program that suits you best!