Image of actors in Spanish listening practice videos.

A few months ago we started making Spanish listening practice videos. These are YouTube Shorts – very short videos with a listening comprehension question on the screen.

When YouTube gave us the option of remixing our videos into shorts, I wasn’t sure it was a good idea. Could such short content be effective for acquiring language? After all, context is essential to comprehension! To me, it didn’t make sense to present a few seconds of Spanish and expect learners to take much away. 

Well, I was wrong. It’s easy for me to forget how complicated language learning is and how beneficial a little extra exposure can be. The shorts are definitely popular with learners who want more Spanish listening practice.

You can find our shorts on the Shorts tab of the Spanish Playground YouTube channel. They are meant to be viewed vertically on a phone, but they work on a desktop too.

We have lots of longer videos for learning Spanish too. You can learn about some of our formats and find activities for the videos here: Spanish Videos.

Why Use Shorts for Extra Spanish Listening Practice?

This is a list of what I didn’t expect when I started to make shorts for Spanish listening practice. In other words, it’s what’s working for our viewers.

  • The question on the screen often provides enough context to make the short video comprehensible. 
  • Because shorts are looped, learners hear the audio repeated, giving them an easy way to listen for specific information again.
  • Reading the question and connecting it to the audio is an excellent way to infer the meaning of new vocabulary. 
  • These clips make great pronunciation practice as learners repeat what they hear aloud.
  • The shorts are at a range of language levels and speeds – something our viewers say they enjoy (not what I predicted!).
  • It’s easy to get a lot of focused Spanish listening practice by scrolling through the shorts. 
  • There is something satisfying in the format that appeals to both young and old learners. 
  • With shorts, learners practice concentrating on listening and build tolerance for hearing unfamiliar language.
  • Learners are exposed to related verb forms. For example, hearing the first-person of a verb and reading the third-person of that verb in the question.
  • Learners review question words and other high-frequency vocabulary in the question and the audio. 
  • Shorts lead to great questions. I haven’t figured this one out yet, but something about the reduced format has prompted excellent questions about vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation. It may simply be that they remember the question because it isn’t lost as the video goes on. In any case, I hadn’t expected the high level of listener engagement. 

So, that is what I have so far, with no negatives. Check out our shorts and consider making your own to build on your content.

Also, please let us know what you think. We value your feedback!

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