You need to learn French – you need to learn it now – but there’s no room in your busy schedule to attend classes. Not to worry! Many students today are discovering how to learn French online. Online education tends to be self-paced, meaning you can move through the program as quickly or as slowly as you need. It can be done at home, in the library, at a coffee shop – wherever you can access the Internet. And you can fit the classes around your schedule, rather than carve up your schedule to accommodate your class. But before you tackle an online program, there are decisions to be made!
1. Decide why you want to learn French. For work? For the mental challenge? For travel? Do you expect to be mostly reading French, or mostly speaking it? These factors affect the way you approach your studies.
2. Decide how you want to learn French. Obviously you want to use an online program or you wouldn’t have read this far. But there are a number of different types of online language instructional systems. Some concentrate on the written word, which helps you read French insightfully, but does not necessarily teach you to speak it well like Linguaphone French. Some emphasize conversation but don’t do a good job of teaching you to read or spell the words. The Pimsleur French system, developed out of solid linguistic scholarship, uses an intensive audio method; Rocket French uses an audio method as well, but combines it with fun-to-play online games and an interactive forum. Your choice of method is as individual as you yourself, and only you can decide how to learn French online.
3. Choose a program to use. Pimsleur French and Rocket French are excellent products, but you should evaluate a variety of systems before making a financial investment. Rocket French allows you six free lessons before paying for the full program. Pimsleur, similarly, allows you to “try before you buy.” Both programs are terrific – but if you’re still not convinced, a good search engine should be able to help you find other programs offering a limited free trial.
4. Set a realistic goal. While there are many excellent programs that will teach you how to learn French online in a short period of time, none will make you fluent by next week. Whether you know any other Romance languages (Spanish, Portuguese, Italian) and how easily you learn languages are important factors in estimating the amount of time you’ll need to spend in mastering French.
5. Set aside a time to study. Learning a language depends on repetition, and this demands self-discipline. Some people do better studying the first thing in the morning; others are night owls who work better after their families have gone to bed. Only you know how your body works, and it can tell you how to learn French online in a way that is most effective for you.
Follow these tips, and before you know it, you’ll be successfully studying online! As you work your way though the program you’ve chosen, though, continually evaluate your progress. Are you learning everything you need? As an online student, you’re in charge of your own education, so don’t be afraid to explore ways to enhance and customize your program. Watching French movies, chatting with French speakers, and seeking out French web content will deepen your learning experience. Soon your friends will start asking how to learn French online – and you’ll be able to tell them!