Learning the French language is made easier with the online course offered by Click on French. Designed by teachers from the Alliance Française, the course on Certified Spoken French Lessons for Beginners (Level DELF A1), is certified by the French Embassy. Bincy Mathew speaks to the Marcin Caban, managing director of the e-learning portal.

Why an online course?

The Alliance Française (AF) realised that there are a lot of people interested in learning French and who may have contacted one of the centres for enquiring after the course, but do not eventually sign up for the course because the centre is far away or the timings do not suit their requirements.

So the French embassy and AF understood that the alternative to classroom learning was to take the same quality content or pedagogical approach used in AF and offer it on an online platform. This is how Click on French was started.

Wouldn’t a one-on-one classroom interaction be better?

There is no better way to learn than one-on-one, when the student has the full attention of the teacher and is practising his French to the maximum.

But nowadays you don’t need to be sitting in the same room with a teacher to have a one-on-one session with him or her. The uses of voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) tools allow a very effective interaction between a teacher and a student.

So now, the student has the choice, and if he had to choose between a bad or average teacher in a one-on-one session in a classroom or a one-on-one session with an amazing teacher 1,000 km from him, I know what he will choose. At the moment, there are 60,000 students registered on Click on French, and they also know what is best for them.

How was the course conceived and how has it been structured?

The course took the best teachers of the Alliance Française network in India, to design a tailor made course. The result is a step-by-step, student focussed course that puts an emphasis on learning to speak French as fast as possible. For that, the course contains more than 3,000 audio files recorded by native French speakers so that the student can get the perfect pronunciation, which is one of the most difficult and important aspects of learning French.

There is a follow-up to each student’s performance — to see which exercises he has done well, where he has failed and what are the areas that need improvement.

Can you tell us more about the course?

The course exists since 2005, and each year thousands of students register for the course.

The student has a choice of different packages. The “Basic Package” gives access to the full course content, the grammar, pronunciation, exercises and audio files. Whereas, the “Plus and Privilege Packages” offer the possibility for the student to have a dedicated “real” teacher assigned to him. The teacher’s role is to answer all questions, correct the exercises, have one-on-one practice sessions and also to keep the student motivated by giving a personalised feedback. This is made easier as the teacher student ratio is 6:1.

What is unique about the online French course? Why should students take it up if they have the other option of taking up a conventional classroom course?

Click on French gives the student the flexibility to learn at his own pace. He can finish the course in two months, or six months or three years if he wishes to, the course for beginners has lifetime validity. But most students finish the course within three months.

It is the only online French course in the world, which provides at the end of the course a certification by the French Embassy if the student clears the final exam.

If the student can take a course at one of the Alliance Française centres in India, that’s a very good option. But if the centre is too far, or the timings are not convenient, of if there is a risk of missing some classes, then Click on French is definitely the best option.

Your current course teaches up to A 1 level, do you plan to teach higher levels, too?

The course was initially designed as an introduction to the French language, and a way to give a “taste” of French to the students. That is why for many years only the beginners A1 level was available.

But since the beginning of the year, we started offering more advanced courses, using the virtual classroom approach, with one teacher connected to a small group of students on WizIQ, and it worked fabulously. The students from the first batches loved the course, and all cleared the DELF exams. Many posted enthusiastic testimonials about the course. It encourages us to organise more such classes, even though the challenge is to gather enough students of a similar level who will be available at the same time for the virtual classes.

To enrol for the course, log on to: http://go.wiziq.com/2pfo