8 Reasons to Use Online Dictations with ESL Learners

Dictation is a great tool to use with learners of English. While the tried and tested method of reading out dictations to students remains a useful classroom activity, online dictations offer a great alternative, particularly for homework or home studies.

Here are just 8 reasons why we think that online dictation exercises are great!

1: Students Can Work At Their Own Pace

Online dictations, particularly ones with controls that offer listening options, allows students to work at their own pace. Unlike in a class, where if a student loses his place or falls behind, they not only don’t complete the exercise, they also don’t reap the learning benefits, when a student is working with an online dictation exercise they can work at their own pace. This gives students confidence as they build their listening and writing skills.

2: Multi Faceted Learning

Online dictations also give students the option to really maximize the benefits from the exercises. Students who are struggling with the dictations can also replay words until they are familiar with the sounds and build up their confidence and knowledge. They can look up the spellings and meanings of words which helps build their vocabulary. When working on a site like Ringo Lingo, you will see that all dictations come with an accompanying illustration which is relevant to the topic, and this helps give students a clue to the context of the dictation.

3: Differentiated and Progressive Dictation Exercises

Online dictations are often graded by reading level or progressive in difficulty meaning that you can give different levels of dictation to students according to their ability. ESL students can also progress on their own moving to more difficult dictations as their confidence in English grows. Students can start with some short dictations to get familiar with how dictations work and then build to more lengthy dictations over time.

4: Different Voices and Accents

This is a biggie! Another benefit of online dictations for ESL learners is that they can listen to a range of different voices and accents. Services such as ours at Ringo Lingo, allow students to choose from a range of voices and accents from around the world, ensuring they don’t get ‘programmed’ to just understanding English when spoken by you! This allows them to get exposed to the rich diversity of accents they will hear from English speakers everywhere.

5: No Special Equipment or Material Required

Online dictation exercises for ESL learners are great because students don’t need any special equipment or material to access the dictations. As long as they have internet access, they are good to go! This is handy as students can access the dictations on any device which helps remove any barriers they may have to doing dictations at home.

6: A Wide Variety of Different Topics

The variety of topics available on many online dictation services means that your students will find dictations that interest them. This is important, particularly with reluctant learners. We know from experience that a student is more likely to engage with dictation content and throw themselves into the experience more if it’s a topic that interests them, than they are with a topic they find deadly dull and boring.

7: Topical and Current Dictations

While reading dictations from books can be useful, it’s difficult to find books which publish current or topical dictation passages. Online sites such as Ringo Lingo, however, will add new and current topics to their dictation library frequently. This means that not only do students have new and fresh dictations to refer to, they can also read about topics which they are familiar with because they are current news stories or topical events.

8: Self Checking Exercises

And last, but certainly not least, online dictation platforms such as Ringo Lingo provide self checking exercises so students can check their work. They can also use the hint function to help them review the text and identify errors before checking the final text. This is a hugely useful function, particularly for students working at home.

These are just 8 reasons why we think that online dictations are a great resource for English language learners – what do you think…??