How to Use Online English Learning Resources
As most of you know, the Bilingual Lounge has been providing language learning resources for years. You can find our mission statement here: https://bit.ly/2BaENzJ
It’s been a rewarding experience, but sometimes users have difficulty understanding how to use our resources despite our explanatory posts and videos. Thus, this post will deal with some of these concerns and provide a guideline on how to use “free” online learning resources.
1. What content do I need?
The first concern is that there are so many resources, so how do we know which is suitable? First, this problem arises because students often do not have a learning goal or more obtainable objectives. Language learners need first to know their learning goals and find out their starting point before they can even look for suitable resources. Please refer to these posts. They are the questions you could first ask yourself:
第一個問題是，網路資源何其多，我們怎麼知道哪個適合我？首先，會有這個問題，是因為學生通常缺乏學習目的（learning goal）或更容易達成的目標（obtainable objectives）。語言學習者需先了解自身的學習目的，找到自己的起點，才能找到適合的資源。詳參下列貼文。它們是你挑選教材之前可以先考量的問題：
Also, there are concerns that some online resources cost money. I think students can think over this one carefully. There are tons of free resources and courses out there. On Coursera, for example, there is a paid certification option, but most likely, there is also a free version. I’m fairly certain every organization and teacher has a different definition for what is “free." Students need to read the terms and carefully select what they need.
同時，有人擔心有些網路資源需要花錢。我個人認為，學生可仔細考慮這點。網路上有大量的免費資源與課程。例如，在 Cousera 上有付費的認證選項，但也有免費的服務。我相信各個機構或老師對「免費」的定義和看法都不同。學生需仔細閱讀條款並謹慎選擇。學生需仔細閱讀條款並謹慎選擇。
2. How do I know what is suitable for me? How do I use online resources?
By having clearly defined goals and obtainable micro objectives, students can better select the materials that meet their needs. If it’s reading, then they can consider Lexile level. If their interest lies in technology, they can focus on beginning articles written in that domain.
Do some research and ask your teachers before first leaping into the first “free resource” you find and trying to remember all the vocabulary words. Any resource can be harmful if we do not know how to use it. Learning to speak by memorizing every word in the dictionary and reciting them may be a futile endeavor. I have seen many students recite words without errors, yet they cannot form a complete sentence when speaking and writing.
Here are some resources in each domain that might help you:
3. Are there any disadvantages to online learning materials?
I can’t speak for all, but I design free materials for a more general audience. For example, “News English" is designed for high intermediate to advanced learners, but I cannot restrict beginning learners from accessing it. Thus, this is a tricky area to navigate when creating free online learning materials.
In Breaking News English, for example, I list many vocabulary words, not because I want students to memorize all of them, but because I am unsure whether it’s a beginning student or teacher using the content. Everyone has access to these resources and should modify them.
Paid online content might also suffer from this problem, but it’s usually tailored to a specific audience. Paid learning materials are made to help a small group of learners with focused goals through intensive paid instruction. In contrast, free content is for the learner, or teacher, to use for any purposes ranging from vocabulary learning to leisurely reading. Again, learners must know their learning goals and objectives, use an appropriate learning approach, and modify the learning content accordingly. Know what you want and take what you need. You can refer to this post for some general guidance if learning vocabulary is your aim:
Last, some of you might wonder where my weekly news updates and vocabulary learning resources are. I post them on Instagram every other day:
最後，可能會有人想知道我的每週新聞更新以及詞彙學習資源在哪。我每隔一天就會在 Instagram 上發布貼文：
Please, do not attempt to memorize every word on these abridged news articles. I listed the key words for the convenience of students and teachers who use them to make their own learning and teaching materials. Please look over the learning approaches and strategies below before using my materials:
4. Final thoughts. TLDR
•Know your learning goals and objectives.
•Know your starting point.
•Ask a teacher and your classmates for help.
•Do some research.
•Select the materials that meet your needs.
•Tailor the materials and learn what you need.
•Learn with others and ask for help. Learning should be a social process.
•Assess to see if you are making progress.
•Adjust your learning goals, objectives, and materials to ensure you’re making progress.
•Become an autonomous learner.
•Help others in kind.
Thank you and enjoy learning!
Mission & Vision 宗旨與目標: https://bit.ly/2BaENzJ