Students are often not quite sure what to expect of an online Dutch class. During my first online Dutch course I was a bit anxious about the new technology and creating the right classroom atmosphere. However, after over a year of online classes and much experimentation, I must say that I feel that my online Dutch classes are just as fun and effective as my in-person classes, but in different ways! Online language learning courses have also opened up many new possibilities and have several advantages.
Why should you choose an online Dutch course?
1. Convenience of online Dutch lessons
The most obvious advantage is that it’s convenient and flexible. Enrolling in an online Dutch course means you don’t have to travel to a school, saving you both time and money. This also allows you to still attend class if you are out of town for any reason. Plus, you get to learn Dutch in your own comfortable environment at home!
2. Less distractions
Online language lessons enable you to learn more concentrated and focused because there are fewer classroom distractions. For example, during small group or partner activities there is no distraction from other groups because you are in a separate breakout room. Online class time is also maximized because it is easy for everyone to be on time!
3. Easy access to Dutch learning materials (and no note taking!)
In my online Dutch classes, you get instant access to all the learning materials without the worry of printing or losing papers. Documents can easily be sent to students via the chat during a lesson. Students collaborate on writing assignments together using Google Docs, and share pictures and documents via digital tools such as Padlet or Google Jamboard. This makes the lessons more diverse and interactive! Moreover, the teacher can type new vocabulary in the chat and save it, meaning you can focus on listening and learning instead of taking notes.
4. Better environment for pronunciation practice
You may not realize it initially, but online Dutch lessons are actually ideal for pronunciation practice! First of all, students can opt to turn off their microphones and repeat after the teacher if they are feeling embarrassed initially, and then demonstrate their improved pronunciation to the teacher and class after a few tries. Secondly, students can see their teacher’s face and mouth much more clearly in the camera than in a normal classroom. I sometimes get very up-close-and-personal with my camera in order to demonstrate proper mouth shapes, which yields great results for my students!
5. More opportunities to make Dutch classes personal
In my online Dutch classes, I often encourage students to bring in their personal content. At home they can show various objects in front of the camera. For example, in a lesson about clothes, they can show their favourite clothes and give a talk about their favourite garment. During the lessons I also often ask students to look for an item around them that relates to the vocabulary or grammar we are learning. This makes it more personal and interesting to use vocabulary and create sentences! We also get the opportunity to get a peek into the lives and homes of our classmates, including occasionally meeting each other’s children, pets, and partners online, and have had new friendships form in the classroom thanks to this increased intimacy.
Some students believe an online Dutch course will be less interactive and fun. With my classes, this is not the case! We do lots of quizzes about vocabulary or grammar online and do brainstorm activities and see the contributions on the screen in the main session. For this purpose I often use WordWall (see picture to the right) to create my own classroom activities. Flipping tiles, the Random Wheel and the deck of cards with questions are among my favourites, and games like this get everyone engaged and interacting!
7. Get to know your classmates on a one-to-one basis
In a normal classroom some students tend to sit next to the same students each lesson, limiting interaction. The online environment allows me to easily create new groups and partners in breakout rooms. This then allows you the chance to get to know other expats on an individual basis during the lesson. Also, online Dutch classes let me create partners and groups instantly instead of spending time shuffling tables and chairs.
8. Easily test out whether the course is right for you
Still not sure if an online Dutch course is right for you? I offer FREE online group trial lessons so that you can meet me and get to know my learning style. See my upcoming dates here.
I’m starting new online group Dutch courses for beginners up to level A2 during the week of September 6th. You can learn more about the course options here, or contact me for more information. I would also encourage you to sign up to receive my quarterly newsletter in which I share updates and exclusive Dutch learning content for expats! If you want to get to know me and my teaching style first, you are welcome to check out student testimonials or join one of my free trial classes in August… I hope to see you there!