If you want to learn a language as a working adult, you may recognize this dilemma: if you take one weekly class, the energy is soon gone. You may feel that you just don’t have enough time to commit what you learnt to memory.
On the other hand, joining classes two evenings a week is a challenge on your private life. Yes, your language ability now progresses, but you feel you don’t do much else than learning Mandarin/Vietnamese/Italian or whatever language it is you are learning.
You may have considered or tried (1) taking online lessons or (2) have a language tutor come to your home, but (1) is hard to keep up since there is no imposed structure and interaction with classmates and (2) is really expensive.
I feel Singapore’s language schools can do a lot more to offer options in between.
The Goethe institut offers blended language courses. What this means is that a lot of the learning materials are offered online for you to do in your own available time, but there are also a few time slots at which you come down to the school for class activities. And you can e-mail or call a teacher if you need assistance in the mean while.
At its best, blended learning can combine the energy and motivation of in-class learning with the flexibility and individual focus of online learning.
Put in a macro way to schools, it’s also a great way to boost productivity in the way the Singapore government means it: to deliver more to students with the same number of teachers.
A quick Google search reveals that not many schools have taken the trouble to offer blended courses in Singapore. The Goethe institut is offering it for German, which is great, but German is not exactly the most popular language to learn in Singapore.
In my eyes, offering a blended course need not be rocket science. In its most simple form, a class could meet twice a week, once online and once in person. Or certain exercises can be posted and corrected online, supported by forum discussion. There are is a choice of many software packages that can facilitate this, some of it even open source (i.e. free to use), such as Moodle.
Now I may be mistaken about the lack of blended language courses in Singapore, but if I haven’t bumped into them as of yet, one thing that can be established is that they’re not easy to find. Do post a comment if you know of any.
Why the heck has is there no institution or school in Singapore that has bothered to develop a blended learning offering for more popular languages in Singapore, such as English, Mandarin, Japanese and Korean?