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How to learn a language
How to learn a language

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Introduction and guidance

This free course, How to learn a language, is for anyone thinking of learning a language. Whether it is the first time you are venturing into language learning, or if you have already started, this course will show you how to keep motivated, set your own goals, and develop strategies to learn a language. You will understand what is needed to succeed, and get lots of advice on how to develop the four skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing. You will also find out how to learn vocabulary, and how to evaluate language learning resources. Finally, you will also learn how to create a ‘virtual language immersion’ for yourself.

The course lasts 8 weeks, with approximately 3 hours of study time each week. You can work through the course at your own pace, so if you have more time one week there is no problem with pushing on to complete another week’s study. You can also take as long as you want to complete it.

After completing this course, you will be able to:

  • understand your motivation for learning languages
  • set realistic goals in language learning
  • memorise vocabulary
  • evaluate independent language learning resources for personal learning goals
  • create a virtual immersion environment.

Moving around the course

In the ‘Summary’ at the end of each week, you can find a link to the next week. If at any time you want to return to the start of the course, click on ‘Full course description’. From here you can navigate to any part of the course. Alternatively, use the week links at the top of every page of the course.

It’s also good practice, if you access a link from within a course page (including links to the quizzes), to open it in a new window or tab. That way you can easily return to where you’ve come from without having to use the back button on your browser.

Who wrote this course?

This course has been written by three authors, who are all language teachers and learners.

An image of Tita Beaven
Tita Beaven

Tita Beaven is a Senior Lecturer in Spanish at The Open University. Her research is in the area of innovative pedagogy and open education. Tita speaks Spanish, English, French and Italian. She is also currently learning German, and she has also already decided what three languages she’s going to learn next! You can find out more about her teaching and research on Tita’s OU Profile [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

An image of Olly Richards
Olly Richards

Olly Richards is a polyglot who speaks eight languages (English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Arabic and Cantonese) and is the founder of I Will Teach You A Language, a website that provides study hacks and mindtools for language learners.

An image of Fernando Rosell-Aguilar
Fernando Rosell-Aguilar

Fernando Rosell-Aguilar is a Senior Lecturer in Spanish at The Open University, and his research is in the area of online language teaching and learning. Fernando speaks Spanish and English, and some French and Italian. You can find out more by visiting Fernando’s OU Profile.

Each author has written specific weeks of this course, and share with you their insights into how to learn a language as both expert teachers and learners of languages.

There are also videos from learners speaking about their language learning journey, and some comments from Laura, an OU languages graduate, who will also offer her reflections and advice.