OpenLanguage provides learning materials and software tools to help students learn a new language. Both self-directed and teacher-led students can use OpenLanguage to replace the traditional language textbook, but we strongly encourage all students to work together with a teacher, or at least a native speaker, in order to get speaking practice and feedback. There are 3 stages to studying with OpenLanguage:
- Getting Started
- Daily Study Routine
- Course Completion
1. Getting Started
a) Define Your Study Objectives
Learning a language is a long-term process. By explicitly identifying your study objectives, it will help you to develop a study plan and maintain motivation after your initial surge of study activity.
b) Determine Your Academic Level
If you are just starting to learn a new language then this stage is easy - you are a beginner! If you have had some previous study, you can take the written placement tests available in the OpenLanguage Library (http://http://openlanguage.com/library) within your selected language and have your teacher give you an oral placement test.
c) Understand the OpenLanguage Daily Study Routine
OpenLanguage encourages a 'flipped classroom' approach where the lesson input or lecture portion of a class is watched before class so that classroom time can be focused on providing practice opportunities and feedback. With OpenLanguage we suggest a daily study routine of:
- Listen - Listen to or watch your lesson in the morning on your tablet, smart phone or computer.
- Prepare - Review the lesson by examining the core dialogue, key & supplementary vocabulary, expansion sentences and grammar points. Complete the lesson exercises when you want to test your understanding.
- Practice - Now you should be prepared to practice what you have learned with a teacher. By listening and preparing beforehand, you can make the most of this valuable step.
- Perform - To reinforce what have you have learned, it is valuable to apply your new skills. Upload a written assignment from the website or record a video of you performing a lesson task. Submit this task to your teacher and get feedback on what you are doing well and where you need to improve.
d) Purchase a Subscription
For self-directed students, to be able to access the learning materials on OpenLanguage you need to purchase a subscription for the channel you would like to study (see OpenLanguage Plans & Pricing - http://http://openlanguage.com/pricing).
For teacher-led students, your teacher or school probably has already taken care of this for you so you are ready-to-go! If they have given you a voucher code you can activate your subscription by entering it on this page: http://openlanguage.com/redeem.
e) Get Setup
To get the most out of OpenLanguage we suggest using one of the mobile apps so that you can study whenever you have a free moment throughout the day.
- iOS users (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) can download their app here: http://itunes.apple.com/app/openlanguage/id528512796
- Android users can download their app here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.openlanguage
Once you have downloaded the app, or alternatively just visited the website, login to get started.
For teacher-led students, your teacher has probably already assigned you a course. Simply go to the Courses page and see your assigned lessons.
For self-directed students, after you have determined your academic level you can go to the Library and find an appropriate course to study.
We encourage all students to be studying with a course, but also provide the flexibility for students to browse the Library and discover lessons of interest.
Once you have your course, simply download the materials to your device. Mobile users have the advantage of being able to take the materials 'offline' and study when they don't have access to the Internet (e.g. on an airplane).
For students that don't have teacher, while you can make progress studying on your own, you will get best results if you can at least get some practice speaking with a native speaker. Language exchanges and meetup groups are good places to look. OpenLanguage gives your teacher complimentary access so that they can follow along with your studies and provide feedback along the way. More information on how to invite your teacher can be found here: https://openlanguage.com/accounts/invite-teacher.
For other tips, please review this blog post: 10 Things You Should Know Before Learning A New Language.
2. Daily Study Routine
Click on the Courses page and select the first lesson to get started.
- The lesson title and academic level
- The primary lesson player. Roll your mouse over this graphic to start playing the lesson. Typically you will start by watching/listening to the full lesson, which contains the core dialogue and the lecture by the two teachers (this is the default setting). Afterwards, to review you can play the Dialogue file, which provides easier access to review the core dialogue, in addition to the Vocab Review file which will just repeat key vocabulary to help in your memorization.
- Marking a lesson as studied is a great way to track your progress.
- All of the files available in the player are also available to download to your computer. Additionally, there is a PDF printout if you would prefer something to hold while you study.
- The logo of the OpenLanguage publishing partner
- The meta-information for the lesson. "Native" indicates what is the source language for the lesson, "Target" indicates which language is being taught. "Hosts" describe the teacher presenters in the lesson. "Topics" are tags that describe what subjects were discussed in the lesson. "Functions" are sentence patterns covered in the lesson. "Grammar" are grammatical structures explained in the lesson. Each of the lessons are tags, which can be clicked to see all the lessons that have the same tag. For instance, if the lesson has a topic tag "making friends" you can click on this link to see all of the other lessons that talk about "making friends".
- Clicking on "Save Lesson" will add the lesson to your Self-Study list for easier review. Clicking on "Follow" will automatically subscribe you to all future discussion around this lesson. This will appear on your Messages page.
- The lesson description
- The target language used in the dialogue.
- Click on this link to display the translation. By default this is hidden.
- Click on this button to hear an audio recording of the sentence.
- Click on this button to record your voice. After recording, an additional button will appear to play the recording. Compare your pronunciation against that of a native speaker.
On completion of your course, your teacher will send you a course completion email. This email will contain links to take a course test and complete a course survey. These links will also appear on your course page as well.
The Course Test is similar to the Lesson Exercises, but dynamically uses source materials from all the lessons in the course.
At the end of the test, click submit and your test will appear with answer marked correct or incorrect. You can go through the test and find out where you need improvement, and if you wish click the "Reset Test" button to study more and redo this exam. Once you have completed a course, you can move on to harder material to improve your proficiency.
Best of luck with your studies!