[Humanist] 22.322 language learning online

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Wed Nov 12 22:32:09 CET 2008

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 22, No. 322.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Wed, 12 Nov 2008 13:59:59 -0500
        From: "Alexander Murzaku" <amurzaku at cse.edu>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 22.318 language learning online
        In-Reply-To: <20081112072454.2536A26A7F at woodward.joyent.us>

On Wed, Nov 12, 2008 at 2:24 AM, Humanist Discussion Group <
willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk> wrote:

> Engaging, lively and well-designed language instruction and materials
> online will make headway in replacing teachers and courses that are "dry"
> and "uninvolving."  At the very least these online resources will provide
> motivation where needed to continue improving the quality of foreign
> language instruction.

As all medals, this one has another side as well. I think that what we lack
the most is students that want to learn a language for themselves rather
than being forced to learn a language as part of the general education
requirements (or core curriculum). There are very good offerings for
learning languages online (I just tested TellMeMore from Auralog and it was
quite good) - we could not adopt it because, to be successful, we have to
assume that the person taking the course is really interested in learning.
Only a very small percentage (less than 10%) are such students - the rest
just want to get done with the requirements (I am talking about US
students). When I have had interested students, they can learn and they
learned a lot even in "dry" and "uninvolving" courses. So my question is,
could these technologies generate the so much sought after "interest" of the
students? Until now, the only motivating technique I have found effective
has been travelling to the countries where these languages are spoken. It's
need that advances learning...



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