Introduction to Dutch


Hallo. In maart, voltooide ik de ‘Inleiding tot Nederlandse’ cursus aan de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen via FutureLearn. Ik studeerde ongeveer drie uur per week gedurende drie weken en leerde over introducties en hoe om te praten over familie, werk, studie en woon in Nederland.

Not work related, although I would love to live and work in the Netherlands one day, but the course was CPD and one of the purposes of this blog is to record and evidence my CPD. It was also very much learning which was enhanced with technology, indeed it’s difficult to imagine the same content being delivered effectively without the modern media-rich internet.

This was my first course on FutureLearn, fitting it in the little gap between my MA taught module and the dissertation which looms large, and I was very impressed with the platform and presentation. FutureLearn features a wholly responsive design which worked well on everything I fired it up on, and the course was structured in a clear, linear fashion broken up by weeks and items with each item composed of video, audio, exposition, a short MCQ, or any combination thereof. Each item had a checkbox to mark it as complete which fed into a live progress bar along the top of the site, a nice feature. All of the video and audio material could be downloaded for offline use, and transcripts were available as PDF documents, as was the exposition items and lists of vocabulary. Collaboration with tutors and other students was achieved by means of a moderated discussion board attached to the principle items.

Being a language course, there was a large amount of vocabulary and grammar to learn for which they used an optional external tool, Quizlet, to present the vocabulary lists and grammar rules as flashcards. Quizlet was the one part of the course material which I wasn’t terribly impressed with. For a long time now I have been a user and big fan of Memrise, a tool which performs a similar function but which combines flashcard type learning with memes to help you remember them. For example, to remember the meaning of ‘vindingrijk’ (inventive or resourceful) you can use the meme ‘The person who invented the vending machine was very resourceful‘. When learning a word or phrase on Memrise you are initially presented with the word, the meaning and you can either select or write a meme to help you remember it. Later, when reviewing or testing on what you have learned, you get either the word or meaning and have to translate it. This is a technique which I have found to work exceptionally well.