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ESOL Basics

Do you need to know the basics of ESOL instruction? Through this online course, you will learn:

  • how to identify characteristics of adult ESOL learners,
  • effective methods of teaching languages,
  • the four language skills, and
  • how adults learn another language.

Through the online course format, you can learn at your own pace from the comfort and convenience of your own home or office. Facilitators, available to help you throughout the eight-week course, lead you through the content and technical aspects of the course.

Each week's lesson addresses a topic in ESOL instruction. Course activities include readings,assignments, and discussions. The lessons are sequential.

Lessons and resources included in the course:

  • Characteristics of Adult ESOL Learners
  • Methods and Needs Assessments
  • Lesson Planning
  • Teaching Speaking and Listening
  • Teaching Reading and Writing
  • Virginia's Adult ESOL Content Standards
  • The Integrated Lesson
  • Professional Development and Farewell

Completion of the course is designed to require a minimum of 32 hours of your time; approximately four hours for each of the eight topic sessions. Also, please note that you will be required to complete an observation in an adult education classroom as part of your course requirements. However, you may find that you want to spend longer with some topics.

Because the course is designed for busy professionals, it is scheduled over several weeks to allow time to work through the materials and complete the course according to your schedule.

In order to receive the certificate for participating ESOL Basics training, you must complete all assignments, respond to each discussion question, and respond at least once to one of your classmates in any of the week’s discussion/assignment forums.

Remember that, although you will gain from doing the activities, you will learn most from discussions with your online colleagues and facilitator. To keep our discussions as productive as possible, you must stay within the timeframe outlined for this course.

To register for this course, go to the Virginia Learning Center (VLC). Please be sure you are logged off of your VLC account before you click on this link. The link will take you to a log in portal. After you log in, you will see the course registration information for this course only. There is a prerequisite, which you must click on and complete prior to registration. This takes the place of and combines our former How to Be a Good Online Learner short course and the Online Learner Contract requirement, with a few simple clicks.

This course is available to out-of-state participants for a fee of $175. To begin the registration process for out-of-state participants, please send an email to

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