Improving Language Skills Through Online French Courses

With French being one of Canada’s official languages, a strong background in French is ideal for anyone applying for a job, especially in the public sector. However, not everyone is able to study the French language in-depth as a child, and often by the time adulthood approaches, it often seems “too late” to pick up a new language.
Online French courses, however, have become commonplace in Canada and often provide reference material for free or for a low price. The advantages of distance language learning benefit students of all walks of life.

Before someone fully dedicates themselves to online language courses, it’s important to take a few precautionary measures.

Don’t spend money if you don’t have to

Many online schools offer language courses including beginner-level language courses. However, online learning through universities can cost upwards of $600 per course for one semester. While French knowledge can pay off, many sites exist for those who want to study French at a more leisurely pace rather than being confined to a twelve-week time period.

These sites may not follow the format of typical language distance learning courses, but for self-motivated individuals who prefer to work at their own pace and not worry about a grade, they are a more logical choice.

Individuals who seek more structure in an online French course should consider the investment of university/college French courses online. Keep in mind that these courses will also require purchasing books and possibly traveling in order to take a final exam. The benefits of these courses, however, include connections with tutors and formal certification of French proficiency.

University of Guelph offers an online course in beginner-level French reading, and the highly reputed online school Athabasca University provides a large variety of online French classes at different levels.

Cater to your ability and goals

Distance learning for languages allows one to move at their own pace and saves the student the anxiety of having to set time aside to travel to a classroom and speak in front of others in a language one is unfamiliar with.

Another advantage of distance language learning is that programs such as distance learning Spanish or distance learning French appear on so many sites that it is easy to find a site which suits one’s own ability and goals.

The first step to an online French education is to start with Google. Many Canadian school board sites will contain links to online French resources.
A good-quality online French learning site will contain multimedia files so one may firmly grasp the key of pronunciation and inflection. For those seeking to learn conversational French, specifically searching for podcasts and videos will be beneficial.

However, learning to read and write French will require a different kind of distance learning French experience. An online Bescherelle – a guide to verb conjugation – will give the student a foundation in verb tenses and spelling. From a school board site, it is fairly easy to find French sites with short stories or articles in French so that one can see a fully-constructed sentence with formal use of French verbs.

Find mock proficiency tests

Much like online French courses, one can easily find free online French proficiency tests through a simple Google search. Though the passing of these tests will not provide any sort of certification, they serve as preparation for French proficiency tests administered by potential employers for jobs where bilingualism is an asset.

A typical online French proficiency test will be in a multiple-choice format, whereas an in-person proficiency test may require an oral component as well. However, a good online French test will tell the student whether or not their online learning has prepared them well enough.

Should one perform poorly on a proficiency test, it may be an indication that a different structural approach may be required, and a more formal online French course at an online school would be beneficial.

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