Online education has now become prevalent among Chinese students. What makes it a feasible alternative to offline learning is obvious: time-saving and flexibility. In terms of time-saving, you don’t need to commute to school every day if you sign up for an online course.
As for flexibility, there is much more to say. First of all, you can decide when you would like to have a class if you choose to study with a private online tutor. The second thing is that as long as you have a laptop with access to the internet, you can have your classes wherever you want. Finally, there is a huge variety of online courses and programs for you to choose from, which means studying Chinese online can also be a good option.
Where to start?
Many students start with self-teaching when they want to try learning Chinese online, and it’s certainly a viable option as there are numerous learning materials available online ranging from proper textbooks to learning videos.
When it comes to phonetics, learning videos turn out to be a better choice as they will give you a clear idea about how different letter combinations are pronounced. The most commonly visited websites for language learning are Duolingo and Youtube, where a large number of Chinese learning materials covering different levels are updated on a daily basis.
Private online tutor
It would be a good idea to find yourself an online language exchange partner if you are interested in learning a foreign language. What you can benefit from studying Chinese with a language exchange partner is not just that your Chinese language skills will be improved, it will also give you the opportunity to make new friends.
Some Chinese people are keen to study foreign languages online with native speakers as they’ve realized how important it is to have a good command of a foreign language (sometimes other than English) if they want to advance their careers. Therefore, studying Chinese online with a private tutor is often associated with a mutually beneficial learning process.
Attend online classes
Learning a language is a marathon rather than a sprint, and that’s why you are expected to get prepared for a “long-term battle”. Attending online classes is considered to be an ideal way to make your Chinese learning more effective. By signing up for an online course, you will be required to have classes on a regular basis, which is indispensable for consolidating your knowledge of Chinese.
Moreover, online teachers working for professional Chinese language schools are usually more experienced compared with private online tutors. In addition, some Chinese schools offer classes on their own in-house developed online learning platforms, which have quite a few advantages over traditional online communication platforms like Skype. The reason behind this is that an online system specially designed for language learning usually incorporates a large number of exercises and tests aiming at enhancing a student’s overall language ability.
Tips for beginners
Most of the online Chinese learning resources are designed for beginners. As you might already know that mastering the four tones of Chinese will be extremely helpful for your listening comprehension and speaking, therefore, practice each word out loud when watching phonetics-related videos.
There is no need to be shy because nobody is going to judge your pronunciation. Meanwhile, it would be a good idea to have a pen and a notebook with you when studying Chinese online by yourself in case you want to write down important phrases or sentence structures. At a beginner’s level, you should spend at least 20-30 minutes every day reviewing what you’ve learned before, otherwise, new words and phrases could be easily forgotten.
Tips for intermediate and advanced students
As you reach a higher level, more attention should be paid to improving your listening comprehension and writing. Developing a habit to read Chinese news can help expand your vocabulary and thus make your writing better. News reading materials for Chinese learners can be easily found online, and they will provide you with comprehensive information about China’s economy and political status. Knowing what ordinary people’s lives are like is also an inalienable part of language learning, hence it would be helpful to read regional news in that it will offer you an insight into Chinese people’s daily life.