#Infographics: Blended learning/E-learning

The 3 components of blended learning/E-learning

The 3 main components of Blended learning/ E-learning:

I. learning

II. practice

III. implementation

How to use microlearning in language learning?

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Microlearning means taking bite-sized information and/or studying a subject for a short time then using this new information as soon as possible. This approach is the most useful in the area of corporate and business employee training. Companies have long been using this strategy to train existing and new employees quickly. Recently however it’s been used extensively by online/distant learners and since the pandemic, even schools and individual learners have discovered it and it’s getting very popular among language learners, teachers, and online schools.

This method has many advantages and shortcomings as well. While you can acquire new information quickly and in a fun environment (especially when it’s combined with gamification technology) the retention of this new information is more difficult than in a traditional learning scenario. Most language apps (Duolingo and others) are based on this approach and they’re very useful in teaching vocabulary and expressions in small chunks in a fun way. The problem is that most individual learners won’t start to use these words and expressions right away and though they enjoy the learning process, the retrieval of that knowledge is limited. In other words, they enjoy getting points and finishing levels but their acquired knowledge is not always convertible to everyday situations where they should actively use the language. It requires discipline and an understanding of the functions of these apps for one to fully get the benefits of using such apps.

Microlearning therefore should be a side strategy, not the only strategy we use to learn a language. It should accompany other learning methods unless our aim is only to get to a certain level very fast and use our knowledge immediately. Language apps should be used together with other learning aids such as courses, books, videos, podcasts, private tutoring, and so forth.

Other microlearning strategies such as flashcards and online educational games are also very useful to learn and practice a new language but they also shouldn’t be the only forms of study. The more ways one practices a new language the better the chances of being able to actively use it later on.

Digital whiteboard versus traditional whiteboard

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Schools are in a race to keep up with the digital age. One visible change we see is the move from traditional whiteboards to digital whiteboards. This move is somewhat inevitable but it’s not an easy one. Teachers’ and students’ opinions vary greatly on whether they like to use it or not. One criticism that is often cited is that they just function as giant computer screens, acting as projectors more than a space to use for an explanation.

While this might be partially true, the added functions aim to give more freedom to the way information is presented. The focus, therefore, is more on the presentation aspect than on the explanation aspect. It can help present information rather than just providing a space to write down information. Before the pandemic, this wasn’t considered to be a big difference but it is now. One of the many problems that teachers faced in the online space was that it was hard for many to keep track of how and when information was presented. They were used to the frontal approach when the teacher stands in from of the whiteboard and writes down whatever needs to be explained and the students interact verbally or go to the board and write on it and/or write down information in their notebooks. This limited interactivity is challenged in the digital space.

On one hand, interactivity is immediate and can come in many different forms but on the other hand, it is harder to keep track of it. Students were complaining during the pandemic that it was hard for them to know what exactly was required from them to do and what assignments were due when, and for which subject.

The main problem with digitalization is that information needs to be structured, stored, and presented differently otherwise it becomes scattered and hard to keep track of. This is true for online classes as well as for the digitalization of the classroom. Teachers and students need to adapt to the new way of acquiring information: from one source but in different forms rather than from many different forms.

Here are the main advantages and disadvantages of the whiteboard and the digital whiteboard:

whiteboard:

  • frontal teaching
  • written information
  • easy to use
  • only written information or very limited image use
  • little interactivity

digital whiteboard:

  • different types of information presented in many different ways
  • more interactivity
  • learning curve
  • harder to structure

Online whiteboards are also in the mix and can be used together with screen sharing, mind mapping apps, and other online tools during live online classes. They can be used to replicate the feeling and flexibility of using a real whiteboard.

Why german is losing its appeal as a language for condacting business

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German is rapidly losing its appeal as a language for condacting business. This change hasn’t happened overnight but it has slowly become more prevalent in recent times. With digitalization and globalization came the need for a more unified approach to business communication as well and English being the most widespread it has slowly started to overtake all other languages in management and in business in general. While German still manages to be a popular choice in Europe, in all other areas of the world its place is rapidly falls behind other more widespread languages such as Spanish.

This change has the most impact in areas such as engineering, business management and consulting. The main reasons for this change are of course digitalization (only a smaller portion of the internet and websites are in fact written in German or using German as their primary language), the widespread usage of English as a ‘mediator’ or ‘Lingua Franca’ language and the fact that more people of other countries are coming to these fields and doing business either in their own mother tongue or in English.

This change created the situation for a number of freelancers and language schools that were focusing on German as their primary language of lecture to offer more classes in other languages or to try and focus entirely on other types of language students such as expats.

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