Digital Language Labs: 5 Self-study Labs to Grow Your Fluency
Digital language labs are frequently used in conventional courses. Many universities require language students to spend some time in the lab each week. Even in the digital age, this type of learning is often confined to a physical space that may be crowded and noisy.
Luckily, digital language labs don’t have to be that way.
So check out these digital language labs, and make amazing discoveries and advances in your language learning. Your perception of what a lab is will never be the same again!
- Why Use a Digital Language Lab?
- 5 Incredible Digital Language Labs Anyone Can Use Anywhere
Why Use a Digital Language Lab?
First of all, digital language labs provide well-rounded practice. Whether you’re learning in a classroom or on your own, it can be easy to fall into the bad habit of focusing more on one skill than another. Good language learners know that to learn a language thoroughly, you need to make sure all your skills are developed. These include speaking, listening, reading and writing. Since digital language labs provide well-rounded practice, using them is a helpful way to ensure that you won’t wind up with a woefully imbalanced skill set.
Additionally, digital language labs are exceptionally interactive. They may require you to speak, write, read or listen depending on the activity. Since you’re actively participating in activities, you’ll learn more by using the language rather than just studying it. Plus, this active participation will help hold your focus more than resources like language textbooks might, making your study time much more effective. You might even find yourself studying your target language for longer than you meant to.
Finally, digital language labs are more engaging than other types of learning. Since the methods and activities vary, you won’t have time to get bored with any one component, which will keep you interested and engaged.
5 Incredible Digital Language Labs Anyone Can Use Anywhere
MosaLingua is a language learning program that uses cognitive science to try to speed up the learning process.
MosaLingua focuses on the most useful, common words and introduces them slowly to aid retention. Thousands of flashcards cover useful vocabulary on topics like transportation, shopping and more. There are also dialogues that show these vocabulary words used in real-world contexts.
MosaLingua focuses on engaging both your visual and audio memory to maximize learning. Plus, the program is adaptable, adjusting to your needs by placing more focus on things you struggled with. Additionally, you can use MosaLingua during whatever time you have available, even if that means just a couple minutes at a time.
MosaLingua offers apps for several languages, including Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese and German. You can also use MosaLingua online, and the web version provides additional resources that sync up with the app versions and take your learning further, including a language library and tools that allow you to better navigate online content.
FluentU bases its language lessons on short, native-level videos in your target language.
The content is sorted by learner level, subject matter and video format. Each video has interactive captions that provide definitions for any word once you click or tap on it. It uses review quizzes to reinforce new vocabulary.
The videos are excerpts from material like TV shows, news reports, music videos and vlogs. It’s not the best resource for absolute beginners, so you’ll want to get a bit of language experience under your belt before starting to use it.
The program is available in several languages, including Spanish, French, German, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese and Korean.
Mango Languages aims to help you learn languages through realistic simulated conversations.
Sentences are introduced, then broken down into component parts, then put back together to help show you how the words work together. This method will also help you learn to construct your own sentences rather than focusing on memorized phrases.
One of Mango Languages’ most unique and exciting features is its voice recorder. This voice recorder allows you to compare your speech side-by-side to that of a native speaker, helping you perfect your pronunciation. Additional activities feature reading, listening and speaking.
Mango Languages offers over 70 languages, including standard offerings like Spanish, French, German, Chinese and Japanese, along with less common options like Norwegian, Serbian, Azerbaijani, Cherokee and many others.
You can use Mango Languages online or via iOS and Android app.
Living Language Lab
Living Language is a helpful program that seamlessly integrates focused studying with activities to reinforce your learning.
For most languages offered, there are three levels ranging from beginning through advanced. Lessons cover useful topics like getting around, dining and more. Lessons usually start with learning material, such as words, phrases, sentences or conversation. To reinforce the learning, lessons usually end with a game or activity. This variation will help you to participate more actively while engaging with the language.
Living Language offers over 20 languages, including American Sign Language, Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, English, Farsi, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Tagalog and Vietnamese. You might even decide to pick up some conversational Dothraki.
You can use Living Language online, purchase software or use its iOS app.
Smigin is an online learning option that focuses on practicing conversation in order to learn a language.
The idea is that you’ll naturally absorb grammar and vocabulary through the simple act of conversation.
Conversations focus on useful words that travelers are likely to encounter, like “coffee.” This way, you can hit the ground running with words you’re likely to want to use in real life.
Smigin also features videos to show you conversations, giving you a clearer idea of what a conversation in your target language would be like. Plus, these videos were shot on location to give you a clear idea of place along with language practice.
Interactive, simulated conversations allow you to put together responses to basic conversational prompts, which will give you essential skills that you can use in the real world.
With plenty of images, video, audio, grammar lessons and interactive activities, Smigin is a well-rounded option that covers many key aspects of language.
Smigin is available online and offers Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Chinese.
With these five digital language labs, the next time you think of the word “lab,” you might just picture one of the greatest learning tools in your arsenal.