Don Your Orange, Slip on Your Wooden Shoes, and Learn Dutch—It’s Koningsdag!

Posted on 26. Apr, 2015 by in Events, Language Learning

In the United States, we bounce from one major holiday to the next. The moment you’ve taken down your Christmas lights, Valentine’s chocolates have hit the shelves. But in the Netherlands, the holiday calendar revolves around one particular day: Koningsdag (King’s Day).

On April 27th each year, the date of the King’s birthday, the usually prim and proper Dutchies let loose and show their Dutch pride in style. Celebrate the nation’s biggest holiday and show your own Dutch pride by learning a few words in their language in this free, interactive Koningsdag lesson!dutch kings day vocabulary

Interested in using this technology in your own classroom? Want to bring language learning to your customers or employees? Learn more about Transparent Language Online for schools, libraries, corporate organizations, or simply contact us!

How to Choose the Right Language-Learning Resource for Your Organization

Posted on 22. Apr, 2015 by in Language Learning, Product Recommendations

In an increasingly connected and globalized world, schools, universities, libraries, corporations, and other organizations need to provide language training to their students, customers, and employees. While an individual learner might buy a program based on a friend’s recommendation or a simple ad on social media, institutions have more to consider when investing in a language-learning database.How to Choose the Right Language-Learning Resource for Your Organization

A corporate organization may only need to train their employees in Chinese because of work they do overseas, while many public libraries look to offer a wide variety of language-learning resources to their community.

A university looking for a language program that will allow students to retain access while studying abroad has different technological needs than a non-profit organization with a small computer lab that is accessible to employees.

Carefully evaluating your organization’s specific needs ensures that you are making a smart investment. Beyond the ever-important cost factor, you should also consider:

  • How many languages are offered, the length and depth of materials provided for each language, and whether or not custom content can be created
  • The technological capabilities of the program, including mobile and tablet accessibility
  • Which language skills are targeted, including listening, speaking, reading, and writing
  • How the program helps learners retain the language in the long run
  • What instructors, training managers, and other administrators need to track usage, improve learning outcomes, and manage the return on investment

Clearly there’s a lot on the line when it comes to purchasing a language-learning database, so we’ve made you a cheat sheet. Download our free white paper How to Select the Right Language-Learning Database for Your Organization for a deeper look at the kinds of questions you should be asking when searching for the best system.

The Genuine Joys of Procrastination

Posted on 20. Apr, 2015 by in Language Learning

Itchy Feet: Le Creatíf Proçess

I remember reading somewhere about a study (now I can’t find it, of course; where do these things disappear to?) where researchers discovered that, of the writers they queried, 100% procrastinated. The conclusion? Procrastination is just a natural part of the writing process.

As a creative, this was the best (and possibly also the worst) possible news I could have received. I now revel in this vital phase of writing; I embrace it wholeheartedly, I celebrate it. I make a long, detailed list of important, urgent things to do, in order of how serious and pressing they are, and then I sit back, put my feet up, and I just…don’t do them. And I love it. As the inimitable Mark Twain advises, “never put off till tomorrow that may be done the day after tomorrow just as well.”

But how has this procrastination-friendly attitude affected my work?

It hasn’t. I’m still just as productive or unproductive as I ever was—I never miss deadlines (my web comic, Itchy Feet, updates every single Sunday, come hell or high water), I’m a hard worker, and if I say I’m going to do something, I do it. I just probably won’t do it right this minute.

All this to say that I know you, language learners, because I am one of you. You like to study, because you like to learn. It’s important that you get it right, and you can be hard on yourself, especially if you don’t meet your own expectations. You might be a perfectionist, or you might just be driven. You’re no doubt a hard worker, because you’ve seen firsthand the rewards of dedicated labor, that moment of enlightenment when you first communicate successfully in your new language, and it’s intoxicating. You have a goal, and you’re going to achieve it, of that much I am sure.

Just don’t forget to enjoy the part where you’re not doing it, too. Don’t feel guilty. It’s part of the process!

What about you? I know you procrastinate. Do you relish it, or do you beat yourself up?