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Introduction to French studies (beginners)

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Learn to speak and understand French in a wide range of practical situations, and explore French life and culture with this carefully structured beginners’ module. This introductory OU level 1 module is designed to develop the skills you need to speak and understand simple French in everyday contexts. It explores life in French-speaking countries and communities, introducing you to a wide range of practical situations such as travelling, shopping, working and eating out. Study resources include printed materials and a dedicated website with a variety of online activities which support independent learning. Together, they’ll give you not just language skills, but a real feel for French-speaking cultures too.

What you will study

Throughout this module, you will learn about the concepts, skills and strategies required to learn French successfully.

Over six thematic units, you will learn new language covering levels A1 and A2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. With a focus on communication and interaction, you will develop language skills and explore cultural content about the French-speaking world.

The six units centre around the following themes:

  • greetings and introductions
  • food
  • travel
  • work and daily routines
  • hobbies and holidays
  • daily life.

The module is based around three books and has at its core the following elements:

  • gradual development of study and language skills
  • development of basic vocabulary and set phrases
  • user-friendly, 'bite-sized' information dealing with language and cultural aspects
  • a wide variety of speaking activities and audio material featuring recordings by French speakers and by a group of recurring francophone contributors from Senegal, Quebec, Madagascar, Guadeloupe and metropolitan France
  • practice activities and self-assessment tests to monitor your progress.

The study materials are carefully structured and graded, and provide ample opportunities to practise the language in realistic contexts, with an emphasis on listening and speaking skills. By the end of the module you will be able to speak and understand simple language and will have developed an understanding of key aspects of life in France and in the wider French-speaking world.

This module is designed to enable you to achieve a level of language proficiency equivalent to level A2 of the Council of Europe Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. You will have developed your knowledge and understanding of the language as well as an awareness of cultural diversity in French-speaking countries which form a key part of the learning outcomes for studying at this level. By the end of the module you will have developed key OU level 1 undergraduate study skills such as learning to work independently and using strategies which enable you to solve problems and analyse data. The module will also help you develop your intercultural communication competence, your critical thinking as well as your digital literacy, all of which are considered as important employability skills.

You will learn

In addition to language skills (reading, listening, speaking and writing in French) you will develop critical thinking, digital skills, a limited range of translation skills and skills for summarising, presenting and mediating information between different languages.

Entry requirements

This is a key introductory OU level 1 module. OU level 1 modules provide core subject knowledge and study skills needed for both higher education and distance learning. 

No prior knowledge of French is required to study this module. To help decide if this is the module for you, use our self-assessment quiz.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

Preparatory work

As part of the module, there will be a selection of induction sessions to help you familiarise yourself with the module materials, website and OU terminology.

What's included

You'll have access to a module website, which includes:

  • a week-by-week study planner
  • course-specific module materials
  • audio and video content
  • assessment details and submission section
  • online tutorial access
  • access to forums where you can communicate with your fellow students.

You'll also be provided with three printed module books.

Computing requirements

You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11) or macOS Ventura or higher.

Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.

To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.

It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop, as described above.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

Throughout your module studies, you’ll get help and support from your assigned module tutor. They’ll help you by:

  • Marking your assignments (TMAs) and providing detailed feedback for you to improve.
  • Guiding you to additional learning resources.
  • Providing individual guidance, whether that’s for general study skills or specific module content.
  • Facilitating online discussions between your fellow students, in the dedicated module and tutor group forums.

Module tutors also run online tutorials throughout the module. Where possible, recordings of online tutorials will be made available to students. While these tutorials won’t be compulsory for you to complete the module, you’re strongly encouraged to take part.

Contact us if you want to know more about study with the OU before you register.


The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box.

TMAs test your writing and speaking skills. Your listening and reading skills will be tested by computer-marked assignments (iCMAs) presented on the website. You will be given more detailed information when you begin the module.

If you have a disability

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying L102 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

Future availability

Introduction to French studies (beginners) starts once a year – in October.

This page describes the module that will start in October 2024.

We expect it to start for the last time in October 2032.

Course work includes:

4 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
4 Interactive computer-marked assignments (iCMAs)
No examination