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Innovation and interaction that are developed by gauging the pulse of the target audience, serve as key factors for the success or failure of a product

https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-educationplus/blended-learning-is-here/article26171488.ece
Learning a language can be as much a challenge, as it can be fun, depending on a wide variety of factors. For me, personally, learning a new way of communication always meant learning a new culture. In school, learning Hindi and English, and later Punjabi and Sanskrit, served as catalysts to understand whole new worlds of thought processes, and expressions, revealing to me the fact that speaking a language opens a million doors of thoughts, feelings, and expressions — something unparalleled.

Hailing from a mixed heritage meant that a diversity of languages was always a way of life; sometimes, a wee bit challenging too, as far as discovering one’s identity was concerned, and, in addition, realising that mastering several tongues, almost together, can be quite exasperating, at times. However, the desire to learn new languages remained, till life’s humdrum took its toll, and the desire evaporated with pressing timelines, deadlines, and other lines.

A recent assignment brought me in touch, once again, with teaching methodologies pertaining to learning a language; for me, teaching, and more so, teaching a language had always been a passion. So, when I got to know of a solution called EnglishBolo that offered blended learning, I wondered if it would be possible to learn effectively this way. Curiosity got the better of me, and I began exploring this solution more closely.

Practice makes perfect

In today’s dog-eats-dog world, flexibility is a key word, and apps or solutions or services like the above, offer that bit as a USP, besides understanding the fact that just EdTech solutions does not meet the requirement of learning a language. Interactions are vital; interactions with a teacher, classmates, and application of the language in day-to-day situations are vital for learning of a language effectively. So, besides grammar, enunciation, pronunciation, structure of sentences, vocabulary, what is crucial is to shed one’s inhibitions and apply the learnt elements of the language. Plus: Practice, practice, and practice.

In the age of anytime, anywhere, virtual and blended learning, innovation and interaction that are developed by feeling the pulse of the target audience, serve as the key factor for a product to be a success or a fizz out. Another important factor is the price, and, of course, not to forget the value adds that make the customer feel special. Learning had never been so simple, and yet so complicated (for those who design these solutions), as in today’s time and age. My batches of students would be happy with a creative teacher, who somehow just knew each student’s strengths and pain areas. Says Parth Sakhalkar, “Learning with EnglishBolo, was a superb experience. Speaking English has become so easy. Now, when someone speaks with me in English, I don’t fumble. Neither do I get scared to talk; I speak confidently.” So, how does this solution function? I am enlightened by a colleague, who goes to great lengths to explain to me that months, and even years of research are hidden behind such an app or solution that make learning a language not only simple, but also fun, in addition to combining elements such as virtual interaction and flexibility.

Has the digitalised world taken over? No, explains the good-hearted team member; its called blended learning or a mix of the best of both worlds. Food-for-thought, indeed.

The writer is advisor, communications and media outreach, IL&FS Education and Technology Services.

Hailing from a mixed heritage meant that a diversity of languages was always a way of life; sometimes, a wee bit challenging too, as far as discovering one’s identity was concerned

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