With the global pandemic last year, the online training courses have rocketed. E-learning has exploded by 220 % according to Thinkific. So, if you’d like to get up to speed with your French communication skills, prepare yourself for multiple choices.
with access to quality resources and experienced teachers
on a basis of 4 hours/week in total
So do you really need to reach full proficiency to attain your goals? If you have an interest in French gastronomy or history, start by learning vocabulary that is meaningful to you.
Choose the right level for you
And in order to set your objectives, it would be useful to know your level in French, according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
There are plenty of websites to evaluate your French level (for example on RFI Savoirs) !
Once you know you are A2 or B1, it will be more motivating to have something concrete to reach.
Learning French should be compared to a race. If you kick off too fast, you will be out of breath very quickly !
Plan a schedule for your online French lessons, relevant to your lifestyle
Dedicate a few hours per week to your French practice. It will be a more rewarding to have consistent and regular small achievements.
Try to find a relaxing place for your French routine. If you have a desk or a quiet room, the learning experience will be a lot more enjoyable.
Practice with someone
If you have a partner, friends and/or colleagues who speak French, I highly recommend you practice regularly with them. It can be daunting in the beginning as you are afraid to make mistake and to bore your entourage. But this is the best way to switch your brain to the French language.
In case you don’t have any French speaker in your environment, don’t hesitate to enrol in conversation groups through Meet-up or Facebook. Generally free, this will enable you to meet people who share you interest in languages.
Complement the lessons with French books and movies
Finally, the students who want to learn French online should practice with French books, series, movies and podcasts. You could :
watch French movies with subtitles to improve your learning skills
read French books to enhance your vocabulary
listen to French music to strengthen your comprehension
The more French resources you use, the more often you’ll get use to the way French natives speak. And you will think less in your own language after a little while.
Resources to learn French online
Here are a few resources online for you to progress at your pace, from home of when you travel in addition of books and/or classes with a French teacher. If you’d like to check a few French podcasts, you could also read my related article.
What I like about TV5 Monde – Apprendre le français is that you have a short test to evaluate your level and you can then choose between to A1 (beginner) to B2 (advanced). A lot of exercices are available, grouped by categories (human rights, gastronomy, science, literature,..) as well as tips about vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation. And if you study for the TCF (Test de Connaissances en Français), there’s also a specific section to get you better prepared.
The French experiment provides great free tools to learn online. The well-known children’s stories translated into French and spoken by a native French speaker are lovely and perfect for children and big kids ! There’s also a selection of traditional audio resources (counting in French, talking about the weather,..). Great for beginner to intermediate learners.
Thanks to Frantastique Le Monde you can learn French daily with an e-mail, a story, and a personalized correction. In each lesson, follow the adventures of Victor Hugo as he explores the Francophone universe. It’s not free (only the 7 day trial), but this is a great way to stay motivated. Plus you’ll get a certificate of completion when you finish the course.
Comme une Française helps non-native speakers understand the subtleties of the living language and emphasises how French people really are. Sometimes a bit quirky and funny, the videos from Geraldine Lepère are definitely charming. You can study with over 400 free videos on Youtube and purchase some online courses.
If you are looking to an introduction to the French language, BBC Languages is a good place to start. Although the page has been archived, you still have access to practical information : learn how to say a range of useful phrases, links to French news, TV and radio, the alphabet and many more videos and audio tracks.