How To Improve Your Language Skillls Using Language SoftwareHow To Improve Your Language Skillls Using Language Software

Language learning software, in increasing ways, is overtaking more traditional avenues for picking up a vernacular. What other kind of medium allows you to learn at your own pace the same way a book allows offers you the interactivity of a classroom course?

With the increase in their popularity, however, also came a rise in the number of software titles available. To make matters even more difficult, they come in different forms, working to impart their lessons in a variety of ways. How do you find which language software to actually choose?

Your Learning Style. How do you best learn? Personally, I already know it's impossible for me to learn from watching video. The visuals are much too distracting for me. As such, I stay away from learning methods that involve plenty of visual stimulation. What about you? How do you best learn?

Level Of Learning. How deeply do you want to train in the language? While most language learning software are geared towards all levels, intensive courses might prove too much for your needs if you only want to learn a few phrases for an upcoming trip. As such, you'll need a good idea of how much learning you're hoping to gain. Do you need good reading comprehension, basic conversational skills or complete fluency?

Test It First. One of the good things about software is that many of them come on a try-before-you-buy basis. As such, you can audition a language learning tool before spending the money for it, to make sure it suits the level of learning you are looking for.

Making the choice of a language learning software isn't too hard. For the most part, it's just about knowing yourself and having a good idea of what you're after.

Listening skills are one of the hardest things for language students to develop. This is because good listening ability is something that is usually acquired over long periods of practice and use of the vernacular.

Compared to other areas of language learning, listening skills are complicated by the lack of a structured approach to integrating them into your skillset. Vocabulary, for instance, can be memorized using a variety of mediums, from flash cards to language software. Grammar, on the other hand, is defined by sets of rules that you can follow. For developing speaking and writing skills, there are tons of tried-and-tested exercises that can be employed.

When trying to improve your listening skills, the best thing you can do is to keep getting experience. Watch shows in the language you are studying and try to understand their context. Listen to songs and try to flesh out their meaning. Read articles in the vernacular and figure out what they're trying to impart. As for guidelines, the best advice I've ever gotten is to get out of my own way.

A lot of the time, it's our own mind that creates problems for our ability to progress in our comprehension abilities. Do you do any of these things that hinder the development of better listening skills?

1. Tuning out. When some students can't understand what they're listening to the first time, they just tend to tune out, their minds either flying out into some other place or their internal dialogues taking over. If you find this behavior becoming a habit, better work to eradicate it. It wastes a lot of your learning time.

2. Letting frustration get the better of you. Many students end up letting frustration at their lack of results get the better of them, often getting angry or just giving up. When you're learning a language, it's important to understand that not understanding everything is fine - you will, eventually.

3. Expecting too much. Just like any skill, the development of listening skills often occurs at a gradual pace. Don't expect miracles. Instead, look towards small improvements that can add up over time.
by Jennifer Sefo
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