Introduction to Language Learning

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Introduction to Language Learning Course Overview

  • Are you moving to a place with a new language, but plan to still do most of your work in English (or another language you already speak fluently)?
  • Are you unsure how to be a successful language learner when you will only need the language for certain tasks in the community?
  • Are you wondering how you can learn a new language alongside your other work and life responsibilities?

The goal of our Introduction to Language Learning course is to equip you to become a more efficient and effective learner of your new language regardless of the learning method — attending a language school, working with a tutor, independent learning, or a combination of approaches. Whatever your situation, we will give you a place to start and the tools to move ahead.

The course is highly customized to meet each individual’s needs and goals. It consists of four components: Individual Coaching via video call, Foundations, Language Learning Techniques (LLT), and Practical Phonetics. (See below for an explanation of each component.)


Introduction to Language Learning is a course for beginning learners who need a basic grasp of the language for daily life activities. It is ideal for those who plan to serve 1 - 3 years and those who may serve longer but do not plan for significant heart-language ministry. We suggest taking this course either before leaving home or within the first few weeks of arrival on the field.

Why It Matters

Especially as a beginner, learning languages more efficiently and effectively starts with you! We will show you how to make the most of your learning situation and equip you with skills to set goals and manage your own learning.

Format, Duration, and Cost

Each week, you will complete work on your own schedule through our online course management system, learning about language learning theory, practical techniques for language learning, and the sound system for the language you will be learning. Then, you will meet one-on-one with an expert instructor via video call to talk about what you've learned and your particular language learning situation. You will also work one-on-one to learn the phonetics (sound system) of the language you will be learning.

Our SLA courses are fully online and flexible to your schedule. This allows you to take it anywhere in the world and manage your own schedule. The course consists of 12 sessions, which you complete at your own pace. In the past, many learners have completed it in three weeks (approximately 3-4 hours a day every weekday) or at a more relaxed pace over six weeks, but we can accommodate and individualize the course so that it works for your specific needs.

Most of the work is done online using a course management system, as well as through individual meetings via video call with an instructor two or three times each week. In addition, you may work for a few hours with a language helper who is either a native speaker of your target language or another language. 

This course costs $850 and includes all course materials.

4 Course Components

Weekly one-on-one meetings via video call are designed to zero in on your specific needs. The initial meeting consists of an analysis of your short-term and long-term needs and goals, strengths, weaknesses, experiences with previous language learning, etc. Then, each weekly session draws upon information from the other three components to equip you with the knowledge and skills needed to progress in language and culture learning. You will also use this time to reflect on your learning in the Foundations and Language Learning Techniques online work and ask any questions you might have.

You will also meet one-on-one via video call with an instructor to work on the phonetics (sound system) of the language you will be learning (see tab below to learn more).

These sessions provide an overall framework for the course. They deal with the "what" and the "how" of language learning. Some of the questions the Foundations Sessions address include:

  • What does it mean to know a language?
  • In order to know a language, exactly what do you need to learn, and what skills must be developed?
  • How should you go about the learning process?
  • How can you capitalize on your innate learning strengths?
  • How can you make the most of a language school or a structured tutoring situation?
  • How can you learn from ordinary native speakers?
  • How can you learn from your successes, and how can you make your mistakes work for you?

Our LLT sessions will:

  • equip you with a variety of techniques and procedures to use in your on-field learning
  • give you an opportunity to focus on your target language

You will discover a great deal about your personal learning strengths and challenges, including particular strategies that work best for you, and you will gain confidence in your ability to tackle a new language as you work with a native speaker of another language. (For most of our SLA students, their language helper is a native speaker of their target language.)

In this component, we help you to pronounce your target language more accurately. Through one-on-one coaching via video call, we always focus on the target host language of the learner, and always customize the learning to fit what the learner needs, does not need, what they already know, and what they don’t know.

The goals are to help learners:

  • Set realistic goals
  • Develop skills in pronunciation of target host language
  • Self-awareness of features of their own speech so they know what needs to be changed
  • Strengths and weaknesses in pronunciation and how to adapt
  • Self-management skills that help learners know how to assess their own learning and how to move forward in the process


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“This course has given me just what I need to be a more successful language and culture learner. I learned so much in only three weeks.”

~ past SLA student


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