Gimara Oy (FINLAND)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2019 Proceedings
Publication year: 2019
Pages: 2432-2439
ISBN: 978-84-09-14755-7
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2019.0645
Conference name: 12th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 11-13 November, 2019
Location: Seville, Spain
Especially in higher education in Finland, the tradition of e-learning has focused on literary production or text-based material. Also, e-learning platforms have defined what is possible to do. We had opportunity to change tradition and start experimenting with interaction and situation-based learning. At first we developed a service for integration training and then as a small company we offered language training with a monthly card principle as language-gym service.

Learning organized daily on four levels. With the monthly card student was allowed to come to all lessons, which were offered. All lessons were based on interaction and some exact skill practising. We had 4 languages: Finnish, English, Chinese and Hindi / Urdu, and we had trials to Arabic and Russian also. We offered weekly online lessons for speaking and also we had independent studies for listening, reading and writing. All services were based on the European framework of languages.

Our target was to provide a quick road to practical language skills and to practice the skills which are relevant to everyday life by simulating reality. Our approach was customer-friendly and achieved due to its easy and flexible schedule.

There was always at first an initial discussion with the entrant, where we sorted out starting level and gave guidance to the recommended group and made soundcheck with participants devices. After that, the student could change level groups according to their own will and when skills were growing or they needed more challenges. The study period ranged from one month to a couple of years. We published a weekly program, and main themes changed every two weeks. One skill was learned in each lesson, and during the day, the same theme could be studied at four different levels.

During three years, we had about 300 students, most of whom worked in universities as researchers or in the IT sector as employees. Most of our customers were from Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Morocco, Russia, Estonia, Taiwan, Great Britain, USA or China, and they wanted to prepare for the language test in Finnish for getting nationality, or in English for IELTS mainly by practicing speaking as their focus.

Feedback was mainly excellent. Practicality and method were praised and the easiness of learning was felt to be empowering and inspiring. Only 1% of the students did not like the way of study and the reason was either excessive intensity or in some cases the lack of the student's IT skills or problems with their own devices or too slow WiFi. Based on our experience, the language gym and practical and interactive method is a viable option especially for students who need a flexible way to learn in the busy life situation. In our presentation, we open a method and way to implement the language gym.
Online pedagogy, accessible and flexible learning, language gym, langiage learning.