Where we encounter one another

Starting point for many innovative projects on the theme of encounters with German: our learning platform.
Starting point for many innovative projects on the theme of encounters with German: our learning platform. | Photo (detail): © Timo Kozlowski

The coronavirus made conventional language work practically impossible. It was time to take new pathways.

Probably the most important task of the Goethe-Instituts worldwide is to create platforms for encounters, for sharing and learning from and with each other. One such place is the Goethe-Institut’s learning platform, which was of particular importance as a virtual place in 2020.

During the worldwide coronavirus lockdowns, the learning platform provided a space where lessons could continue to take place. Of course, it was developed long before the pandemic in 2008. From 2010, it was used worldwide. Like a physical classroom, the online classrooms of the learning platform provide a framework, albeit virtual, for creating a course. From exchanges between learners and tutors, to personal feedback from the teacher, to self-correcting exercises and links to live online sessions, all these elements come together on the learning platform.

Like a real institute, the learning platform offers space for events. Last year, for example, the International German Olympiad (IDO) used the learning platform to bring young people from all over the world together to share with each other despite travel and contact restrictions. The virtual conference on 10 years of Deutsch Lehren Lernen (DLL) also used the learning platform as a place to meet. DLL is the largest digital continuing education and training programme for German teachers worldwide. DLL also serves as an example of how the learning platform brings (German) teachers together worldwide.

In the classrooms of the DLL units, teachers and tutors exchange ideas on new teaching methods and models; they form cross-border teams and test practical projects together. It’s therefore no coincidence that almost a quarter of the visits to the Goethe-Institut’s homepage are to the learning platform. Like an institute’s own premises, the learning platform is operated directly by the Goethe-Institut via its own servers, which results in a number of advantages: independence from external providers and possible censorship measures,

Starting point for innovative projects on the theme of encounters with German

quick adaptability, independent quality assurance, setting up interfaces to own systems or to publishers’ offers via so-called LTI interfaces.

Thanks to their adaptive character, the spaces in the learning platform can be created directly at the institutes and adapted to their own needs. The maintenance of the learning platform is very important here. As with a real institute, administrators are needed to ensure that everything runs smoothly on the platform.

The high level of acceptance of the learning platform is proven not least by the figures from the past months: between 11 October 2020 and 11 January 2021, a total of 150,707 different users (tutors, language course participants and Goethe-Institut staff) were active on the learning platform in 21,434 different classrooms. For the Goethe-Institut, it has become the starting point for innovative projects on the theme of encounters with German. And we will continue to meet each other there long after the coronavirus.