Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Informal Learning

As my devoted reader(s) will know, I have been studying Spanish for a few years now and have used a variety of means for improving my vocabulary, grammar, speaking etc. I have had one to one sessions with personal tutors, both face to face and using Skype (see I have attended cosy WEA classes and I have followed BBC online, CD and TV-based courses.

Last week our lovely WEA class in Nottingham came to an end as our teacher has returned to Argentina. So as a group we have come to the decision that we will carry on - meeting weekly, preparing exercises and practising together. We have hired ourselves a native Spanish speaking tutor and a room in a church hall and are combining our many resources - and cash - to continue making the learning happen. Our plan is to decide together what it is we want to learn or practice, find our own resources and rely on the Spanish speaking tutor as a resource to correct our grammar and pronunciation.

I am excited and a little nervous about what will happen so I will continue to blog about our experiment.

I also Tweeted this week about a site I had been directed to called This has the usual range of quite well done screen based language exercises but the real fun of it is in the interaction between students.

You can befriend others who are learning the same language as you - or who want to learn your native tongue - and the site provides a facility to text chat with one another and even to connect by video/audio link for live conversation.

As you progress through the exercises, you are asked to post your written answers and to correct those of other students who are studying your native tongue. In this way, work is corrected by a native speaker. Your activity is rewarded by "busuuberries" and your progress marked with little stars and diamonds.

I think it's a brilliant concept - social networking meets e-learning - and really good fun to get involved in. So if you have ever wanted to learn a language - give it a go!

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