Should you study the old-school way with paper and pen, or can technology help you learn more efficiently?
Technology has revolutionized the way we study, and language learning is no exception. In recent years, the use of technology in language learning has become increasingly popular. With the rise of online courses, language learning apps, and language exchange platforms, students can now learn a new language from the comfort of their own homes. Each study method has good and bad points, which we will cover in this article.
One of the biggest advantages of using technology in Japanese language learning is convenience. Students can access online courses and language learning apps anytime, anywhere, making it easy to fit language learning into their busy schedules. This flexibility allows students to learn at their own pace and in their own time. Have a long commute – no problem, study using an app on your phone., or listen to a Japanese language podcast, or play a game in Japanese.
Technology could render studying cheaper, as you do not need to purchase textbooks, notebooks, flashcards and other study materials. All you need is what you already have – your phone or computer.
Technology provides a wide range of interactive learning tools that can make learning more attractive and enjoyable. These tools include online quizzes, videos, and games, which can help students practice their Japanese language skills in a fun and engaging way. No longer are you stuck sitting in a classroom while a teacher drones on and your attention wanders.
Access to Native Speakers from anywhere in the world:
With the rise of language exchange platforms, students can now connect with native speakers from anywhere in the world. This provides an opportunity for students to practice their Japanese language skills with someone who speaks the language fluently and can provide valuable feedback. Even if you can’t afford to travel to Japan yet, you can still take classes with a native speaker.
Technology can be used to personalize the learning experience for each student. Online courses and language learning apps can adapt to the student’s learning style and pace, providing a more effective and efficient learning experience. When you take in-person lessons, the teacher will teach for the entire group and if you struggle to keep up, or if you are advanced and way ahead, they might not be able to help you much.
Set your own schedule:
Studying in-person means taking classes at a set time each week. With technology, you can study materials at any time you want, including at 3am. And if you take online classes, they can be set by you with a lot of flexibility.
Better for the environment:
Most of us know how many papers and worksheets a language class entails. Using technology can help cut down on paper wastage, which in turn is better for the environment.
Lack of Interaction:
While technology provides many interactive learning tools, it cannot replace the value of face-to-face interaction with a teacher or native speaker. Without the opportunity to practice speaking and listening skills in a real-life setting, students may struggle to use Japanese language skills in a practical context. When you’re put on the spot suddenly, having to unexpectedly use Japanese, you will wish you had already had practice speaking in front of others!
Over-Reliance on Technology:
Technology can be a great tool for language learning, but students may become overly reliant on it. Students may neglect other important language learning activities such as reading books, practicing speaking in front of others or actually writing characters or kanji.
With the rise of online courses and language learning apps, there is a risk that the quality of the learning materials and resources may not be up to standard. It is important to choose reliable and reputable sources to ensure that students are learning accurate and useful information. If you search in the app store for a kanji learning app, there are so many choices that it’s overwhelming and it can be hard to know what is good and what isn’t. Also many apps start free and then charge you for additional use, which can be annoying.
Technical issues can also be a challenge when using technology in language learning. Slow internet speeds, software glitches, and device compatibility issues can all affect the learning experience and frustrate students.
Lack of rote learning:
While rote learning isn’t always to be encouraged, such as when critical thinking would be beneficial, there are times when learning by rote is simply necessary. Language learning is one of those times. We must learn by heart hundreds of kanji, thousands of vocabulary words. If we do not pick up a paper and pen and write these down, they will not be drilled into our brains through repetition and muscle memory, so it will be more difficult to remember things.
Lack of motivation:
There’s nothing like dreading your teacher’s disappointment or embarrassment in front of the class if you don’t know your stuff. If you have no one to answer to, you may find that you are not motivated to study hard, and don’t make much progress. Going to in-person lessons can act as a motivator.
Technology has transformed Japanese language learning, providing students with new and innovative ways to learn the language. While there are many advantages to using technology in language learning, there are also some drawbacks to be aware of. To ensure that students get the most out of their Japanese language learning experience, it is important to strike a balance between using technology and engaging in traditional language learning activities. At Toranomon Language School, we strive to offer both engaging in-person experiences such as our “walk and learn” classes and our face-to-face lessons and workshops, as well as online lessons and materials provided to students.