Online language platforms are a popular and convenient way to learn English from the comfort of your home. However, there are many things to keep in mind when taking an online class, and it's possible to make mistakes that can slow down your progress.
In this article, we will discuss some of the most common mistakes that online language students make and offer tips on how you can avoid them.
Mistake 1: Not enough preparation
Not preparing before a class can make a big difference in how effective it is. So what should you do to prepare?
First, check the course materials and look up vocabulary words and expressions you're confused about before the class begins. In addition, do some practice exercises and make notes about anything that isn't clear. If you have your questions ready in advance, you can ask your tutor immediately and use your lesson time more effectively.
Mistake 2: Relying too much on the instructor
While it's nice to have a tutor to guide you through the lesson, relying on this too much isn't a good idea. If you want your English to improve, you must speak up and actively (not passively) participate in the conversation.
When your tutor is doing all of the talking, it means you are not getting all of the possible benefits from the lesson. Ask questions, suggest topics and share your thoughts and opinions. This is especially important in free-talk lessons. Great conversations — and lessons — need everyone to participate, so speak up!
Mistake 3: Not communicating your needs to your tutor
Language study is all about communication, and that includes communication between student and tutor. If you don't tell your instructor your requests, your lessons may not give you the things you need or are looking for.
No matter what it is you would like help with — vocabulary, grammar review or feedback on pronunciation, for example — make sure your instructor knows about it as soon as possible. The sooner they know, the sooner they can help you.
Mistake 4: Being too nervous
Online English conversation lessons are a great tool, but unfortunately, it makes many students feel pressure and nervousness. Just like too little preparation, nervousness can also have a negative effect on the lesson.
If you are feeling shy or nervous, find ways to calm down before the lesson. For example, we recommend taking deep breaths or doing light exercise to relax your mind and body. When the lesson begins, focus on the present moment, remember what you have prepared, and remember that you are here to learn — that means you don't need to be perfect!
Mistake 5: Fear of making mistakes
Our previous point is directly related to Mistake 5. Do you ever hesitate to speak up during a conversation because you are afraid of making mistakes? If you do, you shouldn't; making mistakes is a natural part of the learning process!
Mistakes are an opportunity for growth and improvement. Keep a positive attitude, focus on good communication instead of "perfect English," and remember that saying the wrong thing is not the end of the world, it's a valuable learning experience!
Mistake 6: Not asking questions
Just like mistakes are normal and important in learning, so are questions. That means when you don't understand something, or when you need more explanation, it's time to speak up! If you don't, not only will you struggle to understand that specific point, you may also struggle to understand everything that comes next.
Don't be afraid of asking questions if something is unclear to you. Your tutor is there to help, so if you need it, be proactive and ask for it. If you don't want to stop the flow of a lesson in the middle, write down any questions that come up and ask them before the class ends.
Mistake 7: Not practicing regularly
Regular practice is important when learning any language (and many other things, as well). Lessons alone are usually not enough, and some students make the mistake of not practicing regularly on their own.
We recommend setting specific goals and creating a practice schedule for a specific amount of time each day or each week. On top of this, try to add English into your daily life through English-language media, talking to people in English outside of lessons, and using language-learning apps.
Fewer mistakes = more progress
You can improve the effectiveness of your online English lessons by avoiding the common mistakes we've covered here. During lessons, be proactive and speak up when something confuses you. Outside of lessons, set goals for yourself, create a regular practice schedule, and find ways to add English into your daily life. Follow these suggestions consistently, and you'll be much more likely to see the kind of positive results you're hoping for.
This article was adapted from an original written by Sana Nozaki.