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Understanding The Advantages and Challenges of Online Language Education for Disabled People

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If you or a loved one is living with a disability, you already know that even the simplest activities that other people take for granted can be a struggle. Despite efforts to make everything more accessible to people of all abilities, we still have a long way to go.

The same goes for learning a new language online. Like its traditional counterpart of attending a class in a physical location, it’s still far from perfect.

Here, we will discuss the benefits and challenges of online language education, and how you should assess them based on your specific needs and circumstances.

What are your options for learning a new language online?

1.    Online Tutors

One of the most popular ways today on learning about basically anything is by availing of online tutorial services. Here, there is no defined curriculum so you can start on whatever you feel you’d use the most.

Of all the options, this is perhaps the most convenient because agencies like Preply lets you choose your tutor, set the price range, and the time. Because anyone from online French tutors to Bahasa Indonesia tutors is offering their services, it’s now possible for you to learn almost any major language.

2.    Virtual Classes

In many ways, it’s like your traditional classrooms but instead of going to school, you just log in online. Here, you’re not usually required to attend live classes.

For as long as you’re able to submit the requirements on time, you’re good to go. This is a great option for people who want some structure on how the lessons are arranged but don’t want to commit a specific timeslot regularly to the classes.

3.    Language Exchange

Aside from being absolutely free, language exchange comes with a lot of benefits. And unlike other options, there’s no set platform on where you can learn. What happens here is you look for someone who wants to learn your native tongue. Then in exchange, he teaches you his language for free.

When and how the two of you will conduct the lessons depend on your agreement. For those who simply need to be able to hold a decent conversation in another language, you may want to consider this.

4.    Self-study

If you’re not yet comfortable interacting with strangers, you can just self-study. There are a lot of online and print resources that you can use.

Although this is a great way to familiarize yourself with another language, it isn’t a standalone method. You’d still need help from a native speaker to fully converse in that language.

The Advantages

For people with physical impairments

Dealing with a physical disability sometimes means not being as mobile as you want to be. Because of online language education options you have now, you can learn even from the comforts of your home. You don’t have to rush from one class to another just to make it on time.

For people with hearing impairments

Technology makes learning a whole lot easier for people with hearing impairment. Instead of missing out on an opportunity to learn, you can simply enhance the sound quality, turn on the subtitles, or simply use chat instead of video.

For people with visual impairments

Walking around a campus would definitely be a chore if not impossible depending on how severe your case is. When attending online lectures or tutorial sessions, you can just rely on your ears instead to learn.

For people with mental health conditions

It may be hard for you to get out of your comfort zone, and because you can learn a language online, you don’t have to.

The convenience and flexibility online learning provides take much of the burden. It allows you to avoid your triggers and find calmness.

For people with learning disabilities

If you have a learning disability or difficulty such as dyslexia, you’d need more time to finish the same amount of work. For all the online language learning options we mentioned earlier, you can review the information for as many times as you need.

Thanks to advanced software and technology, it’s now also possible to manipulate digital text to make learning easier for people with visual processing disorder.

The Challenges

Despite the convenience technology offers, online language education still has a long way to go before it becomes all-inclusive. For as long as disabled people can’t access the same information as easily as others, the learning systems in place haven’t kept up with the changing landscape.

However, you can still argue that the playing field will never be the same. Even in a perfect world, disabled people may still have problems like the following:

  1. If you’re a hearing-impaired person, you may never be able to speak fluently.
  2. Learning how to write in different scripts like Mandarin would be exponentially hard if you’re suffering visual impairment.
  3. Given the modes we can use for online learning, people with some learning challenges would always struggle with learning online without anyone’s assistance.

Despite the challenges, we still believe that disabled people can succeed through online language education. Compared to traditional learning, this is a lot more comfortable and convenient for you. If you feel discouraged, remember that the qualities employers look for when considering disabled candidates are the same qualities that made you live a full life each day. Do you want to fast track your career in the translation industry? Enjoy all the benefits of education at the comfort of your home and start learning a new language now.

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