Did you know Facebook can help you to improve your listening skills in just about any language?
At least not until a few weeks ago when I stumbled across a feature that had been hiding behind a little tab on my Facebook home screen.
Recently, I was surprised to find out just how much you, the readers, struggle with listening. In fact, when I asked the question on Facebook, your biggest language-learning problems were Listening and Speaking (they finished almost neck and neck!).
So, I took it upon myself to try and find some ways to help you improve your listening skills each and every day.
Read on for some practical tips on how to use Facebook Live to improve your listening skills in another language, while getting a deeper insight into another culture.
Why Facebook Live Videos are a Great Language-Learning Tool
I’m always excited when I find a new tool for learning languages. And, if it connects you with real native speakers, then it’s even better. That’s exactly what Facebook Live does.
Facebook Live Video allows you to watch things happening LIVE in another part of the world. You get to watch a different culture through the the lens of someone else’s mobile phone or webcam.
With Facebook Live, you can find normal people talking about their problems, celebrities trying to connect with their audiences, and news channels sharing the day’s critical stories. That’s really just the start of the content.
Why do I like Facebook Live so much as a language-learning tool?
Because it’s real. You get to see real life. In technical language, you’re exposed to a range of audio qualities. Not everything is recorded in a vacuum like a podcast (though podcasts are great too!) or professional YouTube video. Instead you’ll have to listen through traffic noise, background conversations and the occasional interruption.
Finally, you don’t need a lot of time to dip into Facebook Live. It’s informal and much like television you can tune in and out whenever you’re able to.
Okay, so that’s why Facebook Live is a good option. Now let’s dive into how you can use it.
How to Language Hack Facebook Live Video for Language Learning
When you’re on the Facebook homepage at a desktop computer, you’ll see a sidebar filled with all of the Groups, Games and Pages that you’re a fan of. Towards the bottom of that sidebar you’ll find a little section of ‘Apps’. It should look a little something like this:
Simply click on the Live Video option at the top, and that’ll take you to the next step.
Now you’ll find yourself at the Facebook Live Video Dashboard. This is where you can see everyone who is live on Facebook right now. How cool is that?
There are three parts to this dashboard that you should know about and I’ll quickly take you through each of them. The first is the ‘main’ video that shows up in the top left. This shows people who are live right now based on Pages that you like or interests that you have:
The second is popular videos from around the world that you can choose from. Here you’ll be able to find videos to watch in lots of different languages:
And the final section is the world map. Each one of these little blue dots represents someone who is live from that exact location and you can tune in to their feed at just the click of a button:
With this world map, you have – at your fingertips – access to people who are natively speaking their language and talking about different topics. Just hover over a blue dot to get a preview and see if it’s something you want to listen to:
The first time I found this I must have spent an hour playing with different live videos. I found a Dutch question-and-answer session, a Japanese shopping channel, a Polish news network and I spent a while brushing up on my German watching an Austrian press conference.
If you really want to challenge yourself you can type in questions and comments, interact with other commenters and build your written skills, too.
More Ways to Use Facebook Live for Language Learning – Hang Out With Me!
Now that I’m familiar with Facebook Live, I’ve started broadcasting my own Facebook Live videos.
Join me on the Fluent in 3 Months Facebook Page for Q&As about language learning, travel tips interviews with other polyglots, and live missions and challenges such as playing video games in other languages.
Want to make sure you’re the first to know when I’ll be running a live event? Then sign up for Fluent in 3 Months email updates. I’ll also send you weekly language learning tips! You’ll see a sign up box beneath this article, or you can join here.
How Do You Improve Your Listening Skills for Free?
Facebook Live won’t replace my favourite tool for improving my listening skills, podcasts. But it’s a great addition to your Swiss Army Knife of language-learning tools.
I want to know: what tools do you use to improve your listening for free, aside from speaking to people? Let me know in the comments!
And finally... One of the best ways to learn a new language is with podcasts. Read more about how to use podcasts to learn a language.