Online learning, also known as elearning, is booming. According to market research firm Global Industry Analysts it has reached $107 Billion in 2015. This does not mean the other traditional ways of teaching are going away, not yet, but more and more people are choosing to educate and learn online.
Recognizing the power of technology and how it revolutionized the learning experience, we can not ignore the opportunity of developing online learning materials for Armenian language as effective tools for Armenian education in Diaspora. This sounds especially relevant, when you think about the all known difficulties of getting quality Armenian learning materials in Diasporan communities. Schools are usually far and parents have to decide if they want to spend over an hour drive time to get their kids to an Armenian language school, the language which is a mother tongue, but unfortunately is not as relevant as the other official community languages. We know in several communities far from the large cities or the centers where the Armenians locate, there are only a few prayer books in grapar, classic old Armenian. Can the prayer books keep the national identity alive? They can, because they are powerful, but the children unfortunately will not be able to talk or write in Western or Eastern Armenian for sure. If done right, elearning can produce great results by decreasing costs and improving performance for teaching Armenian language to children in Diaspora.
Imagine an opportunity to teach Armenian to your children at home via Armenian language educational apps and whenever the family has some free time. eLearning is awesome, especially when it is gamified for children.
Almost in every Armenian family in Diaspora it is easy to find a tablet or a computer which can serve as the elearning device. So imagine the potential of how huge can be the usage of Armenian online learning materials if they exist and are accessible over the world even in the most far communities.
Here are several ways of using elearning for teaching Armenian to thousands of children in Armenian Diaspora:
Armenian language classes on Skype
Not many, but there are several Armenian language tutors or coaches that perform their services almost entirely via web video calls. All you need is just a web camera, headset and a good internet connection. An example of such a service is Learn Armenian Online project. They provide paid classes in Eastern and Western Armenian languages after an initial interview session to check your level of Armenian language command. If you search the web and social media, you will also find many individuals who offer Armenian languages classes via skype.
Educational apps for computers and tablets
Educational apps are booming as the best tools of elearning. This is especially true for educational apps created for mobile devices, including tablets and phones. Just google “learn armenian online” and will find out the apps teaching Armenian in App Store and Google Play. But definitely we can’t say there is much choice, as most of the apps just teach the Armenian alphabet through simple methods. Playland Armenia app, that operates on Mac, Windows, iOS and Android, offers a number of Armenian language teaching apps mostly with gamified methods. The app is offered for free. It teaches from basic language skills, like alphabet, numbers, colours, up to the advanced level of teaching phrases, words and offering Armenian language workbooks and storybooks. To see the full offer, visit Playland Armenia website or join the lifetime Membership.
Gamified learning is becoming more and more popular especially in the sector of children’s education. Today games are widely used in the educational apps to teach any topic you can think of. Gamified learning is also very effective for language learning. For Armenian language teaching different game apps were developed by different people. Years ago AGBU initiated “Gus on the Go” app for teaching Western Armenian through different activities and games. There are also different game apps by individual developers and organizations.
In 2015 Digital Pomegranate has initiated Playland Armenia project to enable learning of Western and Eastern
Armenian languages mostly using games and alike activities. The online playground includes 16 language games: alphabet, flashcards, typing games, “fill the gap” style games for memorizing Armenian words and phrases, crosswords and many more. Most importantly, it offers Armenian storybooks with audios and graphic illustrations. The stories are read in Western and Eastern Armenian.
eBooks and eLearning workbooks
Everyone is aware of the lack of quality books for teaching Armenian in Diasporan communities. The books are expensive to print locally and even more expensive to take from Armenia. The churches, Saturday/Sunday Armenian schools are doing all they can to deliver language teaching materials to the kids, but the effective part is to have them at home and practise as much as possible. So here the eBooks can be introduced as cheap and easy-to-get materials. There are different resources offering audiobooks and elearning pdfs. The best ones are on the Amazon store.
The audiobooks mostly cover Armenian fairytales, so they can be great materials for children. At Playland Armenia we also have developed Armenian printable storybooks. The audios of the books are available on Playland Armenia both in Western and Eastern Armenian languages for free. The printable copies of the stories can be accessed by joining Playland Armenia lifetime Membership. Read the stories to your children to bed and then during the day have them repeat it back to you. You will be amazed how many new words and phrases they will learn. Playland Armenia printable language workbooks can also serve as home learnings materials. The teaching part can be done online, then for practicing the gained skills, you will need to print and spend time with the child learning Armenian with language workbooks. The printable workbooks can be accessed through Playland Armenia lifetime Membership.
Videos have proved to be the most popular learning tools for those who choose to learn in front of the screens of the smart devices. In the recent years more and more tutors have chosen to publish videos of their classes and sessions first to make it available to more people, and then to archive the materials for the future use. Videos are interactive and dynamic learning tools, because they can have texts, visuals, audios and music to make the learning process not a traditional boring one.
For children from 5-10 the videos prove to be ideal, as they enjoy watching cartoons and kids’ movies. Imagine adding the language teaching elements to the everyday watch materials. That will help to have best results. Just type learn armenian in Youtube, and see the resources. For example this video teaching Armenian alphabet, or this one introducing the colours.
Educational videos teaching the basics of Armenian language in Western and Eastern Armenian were also developed by Playland Armenia team. Get them by joining Playland Armenia lifetime Membership.