While learning a second language in a school classroom is effective, there is nothing quite like immersing yourself into the culture and society of another language. Whether you wish to learn Spanish, French, Arabic, or all of the above, there are many online language learning communities that you can utilize to connect with native speakers all around the world. The most popular of these learning communities is LiveMocha.com and a blog post from a Spanish language learner will assist you in getting the most out of the site.
Live Mocha is a free site that offers online courses and opportunities to connect with native speakers of the language you wish to learn. Vice versa, there are several people on the site that will wish to learn the language you speak. As a native speaker of English, you have the opportunity to see the work of others who are learning your language and you receive points for the amount of feedback you give to these users. As a native speaker, the users whose work you are reviewing will rate your helpfulness. This rating system allows you to differentiate between the users who are interested in helping others with a new language and those who are simply signed up to learn rather than assist others.
Signing up takes only a minute and requires you to enter your native language, the language you want to learn, an email, and a password. The site then directs you to three questions to point you in the right direction for the type of language learning you wish to do. Following these questions, Live Mocha will suggest the types of courses in which you should get started. After entering my information, I was presented with these courses:
I chose to start with the first option I was presented with and from there was given the option of choosing from four levels:
(SCREEN SHOT LEVELS 1-4)
From there, I was prompted to begin Lesson 1 of Unit 1, which covers a variety of subjects as you can see from the screen shot below:
In order to use this resource most effectively, Ryan’s blog post suggests the following steps:
1. Sign up to do the free courses, but ONLY do the reading exercises.
Ryan suggests to skip the other exercises that involve simply clicking pictures to answer questions as they do not do much to help you learn reading, writing, speaking, or listening. Keep in mind that the point of Ryan’s blog post is to assist the user in learning a new language as quickly and efficiently as possible.
2. Immediately review your exercises and offer feedback to those learning AND teaching your language.
Ryan makes a good point that mutual help within this learning community is beneficial. By giving help to those learning your language, you are more likely to receive help from those who speak the language you are learning.
3. Make sure to rate the helpfulness of the feedback you receive.
By rating your feedback, you are not only gaining points for yourself, but also helping others see the usefulness of the user you are rating. Ratings allow all users of the community to be able to judge how helpful a user will be with teaching the new language.
4. Once you have connected with the native speakers via messages and activities, be sure to connect with them via chat.
Ryan asserts that this chat tool is the most powerful resource that Live Mocha has to offer and as such, is the best way to connect with native speakers of the language you wish to learn. Speaking is notably the most difficult part of learning a new language and being able to chat is a good way to practice conversation with a native speaker to help you along the way. The best part of Live Mocha is that often times, the native speaker you engage with will also be a learner of your language, allowing you to teach and learn from each other all in one conversation.
Overall, I found this blog post to be a very helpful guide to utilize this recourse in the most effective way possible. Live Mocha is just one of many online language learning communities that learners can use to gain proficiency in a language or start a new language from scratch.