Questions and Answers About Learning a Language Online
About self-study courses
How can I access the online courses?
All the course material is permanently available on the platform. The student only needs an internet connection and an electronic device (computer, tablet, or smartphone) to access it.
Do I need to have previous knowledge to start the courses?
No. The Spanish and Portuguese courses are aimed at students with no previous knowledge. It is also suitable for those students who have learned some Spanish or Portuguese and want to refresh and consolidate their basic knowledge.
In what language are the courses?
The online Spanish course for English speakers is in Spanish, and the online Brazilian Portuguese course for English speakers is in Brazilian Portuguese. However, the important explanations in both courses, especially in the first lessons, are made in the video in English. Moreover, part of the written content of the course (the new vocabulary, for instance) is translated into English to facilitate learning.
Of what does the course consist? What content am I entitled to when purchasing a course?
Each Discens Language Learning self-study course consists of 42 lessons, each one with the class recorded on video, in addition to the downloadable PDF material (theory and exercises with answers) and a quiz. Additionally, the lessons may contain downloadable MP3 files and other content, always in digital format.
Discens Language Learning regularly organizes webinars, lasting 40 minutes. The student can participate in webinars during the six months from the date of purchase of the course and can book a place directly on the course platform. Places are limited.
The webinars are recorded and stored on the course platform for six months after the broadcast date so that students can watch them when it is convenient for them without having to book a place.
What is the cost of the course?
The online Portuguese and Spanish courses cost 395 Euros each. Due to the educational nature of the courses, they are exempt from VAT [artículo 132.1.i de la Directiva 2006/112/CE, recogido en el artículo 20.Uno.9º de la Ley 37/1992 de 28 de diciembre del Impuesto sobre el Valor Añadido].
How can I benefit from a discount to purchase my course?
The student can benefit from discounts for the purchase of the course. If you have a discount coupon, simply enter the coupon code when prompted for that information during the course purchase process.
To find out how to obtain a discount for the purchase of the course, get in touch.
How can I purchase a course?
On the Discens Language Learning website, after registering with a username and password and after having informed their name, e-mail address and country of residence, the student makes the payment on the website. This payment allows unrestricted access to the content of the course lessons.
The payment can be made by credit or debit card, or PayPal.
The students have two payment methods. They can make a single payment, or they can pay in three installments, without interest. Payment in three installments can only be made by card, not PayPal.
What happens if I pay for the course in three installments and I do not make the pending payments?
If the student chooses to pay in three installments, they must be up to date with their payment. That is, the student has lifetime access to the course as long as they have made the corresponding payments. In case there are pending payments, the student will be notified by email with two additional reminder emails if necessary.
The student has a period of seven calendar days to pay the amount due and, if they do not do so, their account will be deleted from the teaching platform for non-payment. The student will not be able to continue the course. The can re-enroll if they want, but they will have to pay full price and start from scratch.
How do I receive the purchase confirmation?
As soon as Discens Language Learning receives your payment, you will receive an e-mail confirming it. By clicking on the link, you will access the course platform and you can start learning.
When can I start the course?
You can start immediately after you have made the payment and have made your first access to the platform.
What is the duration of the Spanish or Portuguese course?
It depends on the student. Language learning is not an exact science, so the amount of time each student will need to acquire a set of skills depends on many factors. Discens Language Learning advises doing a daily lesson or a lesson every two to three days, and not allowing more than a week to pass between lessons.
Do I have a deadline to finish the course?
No. The purchase of the course gives access to all the course content without an expiration date.
Do I have a deadline to participate in webinars?
Yes. While the use of the materials for each lesson is for an unlimited time, the students will only be able to reserve their place in the webinars in six months after the course purchase date.
How do I participate in the webinar?
The student must book a place in the calendar available on the course platform, informing his or her name and e-mail address. To access the webinar, the student only needs to click on the Zoom® link that appears in the confirmation e-mail or on the same Zoom® link in the reminder e-mail that will be sent 24 hours before the event. Please remember that places are limited.
If I am not satisfied with the course, do I get a refund?
No. By purchasing one or more online Discens Language Learning courses, the student acquires a single-use license, so he cannot give it away or sell it. Moreover, due to the type of digital product, which is downloaded after purchase, no returns are accepted. However, the video class and the extra material from a course lesson are available, so you can try it all, free of charge.
What personal information must I provide to purchase a course?
To create your user account in Discens Language Learning, you need to give us your full name, e-mail address, and country of residence.
Are there tests in the courses?
There is a quiz in each lesson and a final quiz after the last lesson. These questionnaires allow the students to self-assess their progress. Although the students can skip these quizzes, and even skip whole lessons if they already know the content, it is advisable to follow the progression of the course and not go to the next lesson without at least having seen the video class and taking the corresponding quiz.
The student can repeat the quiz of each lesson as many times as desired. To obtain a certificate of completion, however, the student must have passed all the course quizzes, as well as the final quiz.
Do I get a certificate of completion of the course?
If the student has passed all the quizzes of the course lessons and the final quiz and wants a certificate of completion, it can be downloaded from the student’s account on the platform. The certificate states that the student has completed the course, but neither Discens Language Learning nor any language school is authorized to issue official certificates. The student can obtain these after passing an official language exam, such as DELE for Spanish or CELPE-Bras for Brazilian Portuguese.
About Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese online private lessons
How can I assess my level?
Discens Language Learning provides Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese lessons in six learning levels (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2), adhering to the structure of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). If you are an absolute beginner, your level is A1, and if you are almost as fluent as a native speaker, you have achieved the level C2. The trial lesson with your tutor will allow you both to assess your level and to establish which didactic strategies are in line with your learning profile, so you can make the most of your time and effort whilst you are working together, and the constant feedback during the one-to-one lessons will make you aware of your progress and confident with the results of your commitment.
How many lessons do I need to take to achieve my linguistic goals?
Although each of the levels of linguistic competence is typically completed in 25 hours of private lessons, each student is unique, and many factors affect the learning process, such as the motivation of the student, how much contact does he or she has with the language, the work he or she does after the lessons to consolidate the skills he or she has acquired with the tutor, or even the intrinsic complexity of the language. This is why Discens Language Learning cannot guarantee that in a certain number of lessons you will be, for instance, capable of managing certain day-to-day situations in the language you are learning or speaking it almost like a native. A language is not an exact science, after all. Nevertheless, we can honestly assure you that each lesson is designed by the tutor to respond to the expectations of the student and to meet his or her goals, to make the best of the time and dedication he or she is investing in the learning process.
When can I have lessons with Discens Language Learning?
Flexibility is one of the essential aspects of our system, which is why we schedule lessons from Monday to Friday from 09:00 until 20:00 (Central European Time). On a case by case basis, we could even provide lessons on Saturdays and Sundays.
What technical equipment and software do I need for online private lessons?
You need a desktop computer, a laptop, a tablet, or a smartphone with a webcam and a microphone; headphones are not mandatory but recommended. Furthermore, you need a good broadband internet connection that is strong and fast enough to make a video chat (minimum 5Mb, but the ideal would be 10Mb or higher). Our tutors work with cable connection (Ethernet) and avoid wi-fi, and we advise you to do the same. You must also have downloaded the Zoom® free application on your device. If you do not have it already downloaded on your device, the application will be installed automatically when you click on the Zoom® link that you will receive in the lesson confirmation e-mail. You do not need to create a user account to use Zoom® during the lessons. If you have not used Zoom® before, we recommend that you test it and have first a Zoom® video chat with a friend.
In case Zoom® is not working properly, and a trial lesson or paid lesson is about to take place, the tutor offers, as a last-minute solution, to work with a similar and also free program, Skype®, but where it is necessary to create a user account.
What can I do if I encounter technical difficulties?
We recommend testing your technical equipment by having first a Zoom® video chat with a friend. If this does work, there is normally no problem during the free trial lesson or our regular (paid) lessons. In case you are having technical difficulties, it is always advisable to switch off your device and your router, wait a few seconds with the devices turned off, and restart them. It is a simple trick that works in many cases! If it looks like Zoom® is the problem, its online troubleshooting [https://support.zoom.us/hc/en- us/sections/200305593-Troubleshooting] is proven to be helpful.
In case you are having technical difficulties at the scheduled time of your trial lesson or a regular lesson, we ask you to use e-mail / WhatsApp® to contact your tutor, who will try their best to help you to solve these problems.
The tutors are equipped with all technical means needed for the online lessons. The probability of them experiencing such difficulties is low, but in the unlikely case it happens, the tutor will also use WhatsApp® to communicate with you (if you give your number to your tutor) and will try to find a provisional solution to avoid having to cancel the lesson on such short notice, such as – if you agree – having a video call with WhatsApp®.
Which personal information do I need to provide?
To book the trial lesson, you are required to provide your name and your e- mail. When you book a paid lesson, you must also inform your name and e- mail, and you can voluntarily inform your mobile phone number to get a reminder text message two hours before the lesson. Even though it is not mandatory, we recommend you to give your tutor your mobile phone. Last- minute communications can be made using WhatsApp®, for instance, in the case there are technical difficulties that make it impossible to use Zoom® or e- mail.
Once you become a student at Discens Language Learning, we will issue the invoice, for which we will require your address and national identity number. This data will only be managed by the administration, not by your tutor. Discens Language Learning will contact students only regarding the scheduling of lessons. You will not receive any advertising or newsletter. Your data will not be shared with any third parties and will only be used by your tutor, our administration, and our accountant. Discens Language Learning asks students only for the data that are needed for addressing the students and for scheduling the students’ lessons.
Anyone, including students in private lessons, can sign up to receive our free newsletters. In this case, they must provide their email address and give their consent on our home page.
How do I book a free trial lesson?
You must select a date and time of your choice in the tutor’s calendar on our website and provide your name and e-mail address, obligatorily. You will instantly receive the confirmation of your lesson by e-mail, with the date, time, and Zoom® link where you must click to participate in the online meeting with your tutor.
If you cannot attend the trial lesson, we ask you to cancel or reschedule as soon as possible, using the “reschedule” and “cancel” buttons that you will find in the confirmation e-mail. You will receive a new e-mail confirming the changes. Keep in mind that the duration of the trial lesson is 45 minutes, but we recommend that you calculate a few extra minutes for it in case you have more questions for your tutor.
What is a trial lesson like?
You do not need any preparation for the trial lesson. It will suffice to check that your electronic device and internet connection are working properly.
You will receive a reminder e-mail 24 hours before the trial lesson, and another e-mail 1 hour before this appointment. At the agreed time, your electronic device should be up and running and you should click on the Zoom® link in the confirmation e-mail (or in the reminder e-mails) to start the video chat. Your tutor will allow you to enter the meeting room.
Your tutor will be online at the agreed time and will initiate the trial lesson asking you about your experience, your motivation and your aims on learning Spanish or Brazilian Portuguese and, if you are not an absolute beginner, will evaluate the knowledge you already have of the language you chose to learn.
You will practice some light conversation in this language and, if it is your first contact with it, you will learn how to greet in Spanish or Portuguese. You will receive a free sample of our learning materials.
During the trial lesson, our students often have questions about the practical aspects of our online lessons, such as how to book and pay for lessons, how a lesson is developed, and other logistical matters. Your tutor will be available to answer all such questions.
By the end of the trial lesson, if you want to keep learning with us, you can start scheduling your lessons right away. If you prefer to think a little more, you can contact us later through the e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
In case you are not convinced that you want to learn with us, you do not need to justify your reasons and, of course, you do not have to pay anything. In case you change your mind later, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Am I obliged to take the trial lesson?
No, but it is advisable to book a trial lesson because the tutor can assess your language level to better prepare for your lessons and to understand and to better address your wants and needs.
Once I have decided that I want to be a student at Discens Language Learning, should I purchase single lessons or blocks of lessons?
Because flexibility is one of the keys in Discens Language Learning’s way of teaching and conducting business, we offer single lessons and blocks of 10 and 25 lessons. The students can decide freely what suits them best. Nevertheless, we shall remind our students that consistency and continuity are necessary to have success in learning a language and, therefore, we advise you to take blocks of lessons instead of single lessons. Moreover, because blocks of lessons are less work for our administration and accountant, Discens Language Learning offers for free the last lesson from the 10-lesson block, and the three last lessons from the 25-lesson block, so buying blocks will save you money.
How often should I take lessons?
Discens Language Learning recommends scheduling lessons in some sort of regular intervals. A daily lesson would in most cases be the best, but unfortunately are very often not feasible for the students. Most of the students take lessons once or twice a week and this frequency is advised also by Discens Language Learning. Either way, the students decide on the duration and the frequency that they are most comfortable with and that suits them best.
How do I schedule internet lessons with Discens Language Learning?
If, during the trial lesson, you are already convinced that you want to continue learning with your tutor, he will provide you with a link to his calendar so that you can book the paid lessons directly. For paid lessons, you will use the same booking system that you already used for the trial lesson, quick and easy. For each lesson you book, you will receive an e-mail confirmation with the link to the Zoom® meeting.
The tutor will ask you to write an e-mail to in which you indicate to the administration how many lessons you want to take, in addition to your personal data (name, address, and national identification number). Only the administration will have access to these data, which are mandatory for issuing the invoice.
We will reply to your e-mail with the link for your tutor’s calendar so that you can book lessons at the time that suits you best. In our e-mail you will also find the invoice with the IBAN number of the account so that you can transfer the amount due. You can also pay by PayPal®. The lessons must be paid for in advance.
How do I pay for online lessons?
The invoice shall state the amount due, date, the reference number of the invoice, as well as Discens Language Learning’s NIF (Spanish tax identification number), address, telephone number, e-mail, website and IBAN bank account. Furthermore, the invoice shall state also the VAT amount of zero and that the educational services of Discens Language Learning are exempt from VAT by the Spanish law [Ley 37/1992 de 28 de Diciembre del Impuesto sobre el Valor Añadido, Artículo 20 Uno 9o].
The Spanish law [Real Decreto 1616/2012 de 30 de Noviembre que Regula la Obligación de Facturación, Artículo 6, Apartado 5o] requires that Discens Language Learning’s invoices state also the student’s name, address and national identity number.
You can pay by PayPal® or by making a bank transfer (IBAN). Payment details are on the invoice. Bank transfers in the EU require 2-3 business days, and PayPal® is immediate. No cash payments will be accepted. Please state on your IBAN bank transfers the number of our invoice. Please alert us in case someone else is making the payment on your behalf.
Do I have to purchase textbooks or other learning materials for my lessons with Discens Language Learning?
No. Discens Language Learning works with its exclusive learning materials that have been designed by the tutors, and its cost is included in the price of the lessons. All learning material is digital, so you can download and view on your computer, tablet, or smartphone to get the most out of it – anywhere and anytime.
How is the communication with my tutor before a regular online lesson?
You will receive an e-mail reminder of the lesson 24 hours before the appointment and, if you wish, also a text message two hours before the lesson (for that, you must enter your mobile phone number when you book the lesson). Both in this reminder e-mail and in the confirmation e-mail you will find the link for the Zoom® online lesson.
Your tutor will wait for you on the Zoom® meeting room. If you are online, the lesson will start at the scheduled time; if not, the tutor will contact you (e- mail, WhatsApp® messages) to remind you of the lesson. The tutor will wait for you for 20 minutes after the time the lesson was planned to start; if you do not show up, the tutor cancels the lesson due to non-attendance and will inform you via e-mail accordingly. This lesson missed by the student is non- refundable and will not be rescheduled free of charge. You can show up until 20 minutes late without having your lesson canceled because of this delay, but we kindly ask you to be on time for your lessons. The minutes that you have lost by not being on time cannot be added as an extension to your lesson that needs to finish on the agreed time. It would be unjustifiable to make the next student wait because of your delay.
How is an online lesson like?
Each lesson begins with some casual conversation in the language you are learning. After this warm-up, your tutor will review with you the key points of the previous lesson to refresh your memory and to answer all questions that might have come up in the meantime. Thereafter, you will be working together with your tutor on new content to practice your listening, speaking, writing, and reading skills with Discens Language Learning’s special learning material. You decide if you want your tutor to require you to do homework, and in case you do, your tutor will give you instructions for the exercises to be done. Towards the end of the lesson, the tutor will revise the new subjects that you have learned and will make sure you have no further questions for the moment.
What is the content of a regular lesson?
The content of each lesson is selected and presented by the tutor according to the student’s goals and preferences. Discens Language Learning does not impose a standardized model of lessons that are repeated time after time with each student. Of course, if you are a beginner (A1/A2), the tutor will need to follow certain didactic sequences. The tutor will not be able to skip important aspects of grammar or basic vocabulary because the foundation of the language needs to be explained, understood and practiced. But the fact that the tutors need to be systematic and meticulous to some extent does not mean that they will work with a rigid structure. Even the beginner student is in charge of setting the pace of the lessons and to prioritize some content. For instance, if the student wants to concentrate on speaking skills during the lesson and prefers to leave writing skills for homework, in case the student wishes to do homework. Students have also the possibility to ask the tutor to put emphasis on vocabulary and communicative structures which are especially useful for traveling or for business, depending on their specific learning aims.
On intermediate (B1/B2) and advanced levels (C1/C2), the curriculum will be even more adapted to the demands and interests of the student and focused on consolidating and improving his or her knowledge. The tutor will encourage you to express yourself in an autonomous, spontaneous way, offering you the input that you wish to receive, such as vocabulary, idioms, and communicative resources for specific situations. This means there will be even more flexibility on choosing contents and approaches for each lesson, and a broader spectrum of possibilities for unselfconscious interaction between student and tutor, which is one of the many advantages of one-to-one lessons. Besides being a customized and very time-effective type of lesson, in our online lessons the tutor is focused in this one and only student. The tutor can correct his or hers recurring mistakes and see what contents need to be intensively practiced. That being said, at all levels and with all students, the tutor is compromised with planning a dynamic lesson, where there is a balance between doing different kinds of exercises, between active (speaking and writing) and passive (listening and reading) linguistic skills. One of the tasks of the tutor is to make this process interesting and enjoyable, and Discens Language Learning will show you that even the aspects of a language that have a reputation of being “boring”, “difficult” or even “scary”, such as grammar, with the right approach can be easily learned.
What if I need to reschedule or cancel a lesson?
You shall click the “reschedule” and “cancel” buttons in your confirmation e- mail at least 48 hours before the starting time of the lesson. You will receive a confirmation of the change by e-mail.
What happens if I reschedule or cancel a lesson less than 48 hours before it, or if I do not show up for a lesson on the agreed time?
In the case of short-notice changes and cancellations, and no-shows*, Discens Language Learning’s policy is the same: The lesson is considered called off by the student. The student can catch up on the contents of this lesson, but the student will need to purchase this lesson and schedule it using the tutor’s calendar, as usual.
*Remember that you can be up to 20 minutes late for a lesson because the tutor will wait for you online on Zoom®. This time will not be recovered as an extension of the lesson.
What if the tutor needs to reschedule or cancel a lesson?
You will be informed by e-mail and you will be able to reschedule using the tutor’s calendar.
What if there are technical difficulties that make it impossible to carry out a lesson?
Our tutors have fast internet cable connections, work with new computers, and have a back-up computer for emergencies. Therefore, the risk of a technical problem that hinders the tutors to teach is rather low. But if by unfortunate circumstances there are technical problems that make it impossible for the tutor to start the Zoom® video chat, the tutor will contact immediately the student via e-mail and/or WhatsApp® message and propose using Skype® as an alternative for Zoom® if this program is the one causing the inconvenience. If the problem persists, as an emergency solution to avoid suspending the lesson on such short notice, and if the student agrees, the lesson can be exceptionally conducted via WhatsApp® video call.
Can I get a certificate of attendance after I finish a sequence of lessons?
Yes, you can, and Discens Language Learning will issue it for you free of charge. It will state the level you have reached, and the number of lessons taken. Please note, that these attendance certificates, as the attendance certificates from all other language schools, do not accredit the students’ competence level. To have a competence level certification, students must pass an official exam such as TELC, DELE, SIELE, CELPE-Bras, etc. Discens Language Learning’s tutors can prepare you to take these exams if you have such academic goals.