For 13 years, from when I first met my husband, I’ve been trying to learn Dutch. I’ve tried a slew of programs (online and off), tried conversing with my husband and his family, personal study, etc. Yet, even though I lived in Holland for four years, I just can NOT get the hang of it. The words are huge, grammatical rules makes even less sense than English, and whenever I pronounce something wrong my husband just tells me ‘it’s cute’. Also, since only a small percentage of people actually speak Dutch, I rarely hear it let alone get the chance to practice it. When I found out that Online Trainers included Dutch as one of the six languages they teach, I just had to check it out!
Online Trainers uses a combination of graphics, picture association, audio clips, full language text, translation, pronunciation exercises, and oral/written conversation. One problem with most of these programs is that they are so mind-numbingly boring! I have not found that to be the case with Online Trainers. The variety is used in such a way that lessons are kept fresh and even wondering when a specific lesson type will be utilized again.
Lessons are broken down in 15-, 30-, or 45-minute durations, depending on how much time you have to spend at that moment. This is a fabulous feature. We don’t always have hours a day to dedicate to learning a language, especially if it it’s a casual desire. However, most of us can spare 15 minutes here and there. There have been occasions in which the 45-minutes lessons went so quickly that I just had to do one or two more at one sitting. Even if 15 minutes is stretching it in your schedule, there’s also the option to leisurely read the daily news articles (in your chosen language, of course), idioms, tips, and/or games.
You can choose from Spanish, French, German, Italian, Dutch, and English. Lessons are based on your learning goals and results of test placement (both given at the outset). Everything is web-based so as long as you have an internet connection and Flash Player installed, you can learn where ever and whenever you please. Need extra help with content or technical issues? The customer service is spot on and unexpectedly fast!
So…does it it work? I’ve had the chance to try out Online Trainers for the past month. In categories covering vocabulary, grammar, comprehension, and useful expressions, I’ve put in a total of 4-1/2 hours and have shown some improvement.
I say ‘some’ since it’s not a HUGE difference. After a re-test, I found my ending score to be the same. However, my vocabulary scores did go up. I didn’t really expect to be fluent in one months’ time. Yet, the biggest pull is the fact that I actually want to continue using it. That gets major brownie points from me!
Online Trainers is a monthly subscription service. It’s not cheap at $742 for 6 months of 24/7 access or $1,327 for a full year of service. I think that you get what you pay for, though. For just a little over $100 per month, you can learn a whole new language and have a world of culture and color opened to you.
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