Cultivating a Community for Online Trainers through Interactive Workshops

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Learning a foreign language online can appear to be stressful, difficult, and even scary. What if you do not get along well with your trainer? What if you are learning but still find yourself longing for the physical connection to the language or culture? What if there are technical issues with Skype or another platform? How will you solve them if it’s just you and your trainer on the other side of the computer, Smartphone or tablet screen?

Here at Language Trainers we believe that knowledgeable, confident, and enthusiastic online trainers help allay the doubts or fears clients have when it comes to committing to lessons online. On November 15th, we hosted an in-house workshop with some of our best online trainers. Following the theme of “creating great online lessons”, some of the key topics we discussed were: technical issues, how to engage the learner(s), assigning self-study materials for busy clients, and utilizing more of an array of resources to keep the classroom as interactive as a face-to-face lesson. Check out what some of our trainers had to say about these topics:

Conquering Technical Issues:

Fernando, one of our Portuguese trainers from Brazil, believes he really benefited from the tips offered by the other trainers in regards to technical issues. Now that he is more familiar with all the different Skype features and technicality of the platform, he feels more confident that he will be able to attend to his students’ needs better if/when a technical issue arises. Just like any other platform, Skype is constantly working to improve its services and for us it is crucial that our trainers are equipped with the latest updates, new features, and functionalities.

Photo via JISC

Engaging the Learner:

First lesson nerves can sometimes be tough pills to swallow for both the client and the trainer. Even after the first lesson, your trainer or your client is still very new to you and, although you have spoken to him/her for a whole hour, or maybe even two, neither party has actually physically met. Maybe as the trainer or the client you do not find the material super interesting or you struggle to fully express yourself due to fear/shyness. Now, our trainers are aware and ready to address such hitches. Irene, one of our Spanish instructors from Argentina, recommended trainers at the workshop to focus the majority of the lesson on topics and ideas that specifically interest the client and not just on structured course materials. In addition, with the continuously new resources available to trainers, they should be able to further engage clients by creating short videos and live, interactive current events, just to name a few.

Photo via Wikimedia

Making Self-Study Fun and Conclusive:

Having a “busy schedule” is one of the most common reasons our clients select the route of online lessons. The demand for flexibility and convenience is what makes online lessons so great and here at Language Trainers we strive to ensure that our clients are provided with that while learning a new foreign language through one of our online courses. Trainers and clients have their own styles: some like grammar exercises, some like creating short stories, and others like speaking and listening exercises. Maura, one of our Italian trainers, strives to incorporate repetition while making sure her students still enjoy improving their language skills through the introduction of new ideas and activities. She and our team of trainers are confident that by allowing students to select a “self-study exercise” or spend an extra few minutes talking in-depth about their week at the beginning of the lesson ensures that students are continuously focused on learning between each lesson – even if it’s only for a few minutes.

Final thoughts:

 “Above all, the best thing about the workshop was having the opportunity to meet new trainers while sharing our experiences, getting advice, helping each other and feeling like we are a part of a group even though many of us are so far apart.”
– Irene from Argentina

 When learning a language, just like teaching one, it is imperative to feel supported and able to overcome any hurdle that may occur throughout your language-learning journey. Through our workshops, we strive to make ourselves accessible and more than willing to assist our online trainers, so that their students will be taught using the latest methods to help achieve their learning goals as speedily as possible.

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