I sometimes think a problem that some people have at LingQ is that they do not feel that they have progressed in the way that they do if they cover Chapter 1, then Chapter 2 etc. Even after Chapter 10, if they have not really become very fluent, they have the sense of having completed 10 chapters.
Can we introduce more “steps” in LingQ? Or are the statistics enough?
What kind of “steps” would you introduce, Steve?
I think it depends on the people. As a beginner I enjoyed the statistics a lot. Maybe you can add a counter “Number of finished lessons”. Now statistics are no longer important for me. I developed a sense to measure if I improve or not. But my daughter loves to have a look on her statistic.
You have to consider that you always will have a lot of people who are not really interested in language learning. They don’t study seriously.
What I think what people helps is to have a roadmap or a short description what they should do. My website http://learninggerman.posterous.com/ is helpful for beginners. There should be the same for all languages. That would be great.
Maybe you should rethink the idea of courses. Courses were great for people to find interesting content. What wasn’t interesting at the courses were the fixed times for conversations and the writings that you had to do. This was difficult for students and for tutors. But to have a system were you can combine lessons from different collections to a course is still intersting.
I agree with Veral about the courses idea. The “Number of finished lessons” is algo a nice idea to track your progress along with statistics. The completion of a course could also provide this feeling of progression. I don’t know what other steps can be implemente since LingQ is a free learning system. I mean free in the sense that the student chooses the content he wants to study, there’s not a predefined path, so… Other than that, which other steps may we introduce?
We are working on the idea of reintroducing courses in some way, that is easy for tutors and for learners. We will put some of our ideas up here. I do believe that it is a good idea to advise learners of the what is covered in a course, the kind of vocabulary and structure that they will be introduced and such. Let’s keep discussing this.
I agree with Vera and Albert, I think the courses idea sounds great
I am not interested in courses, but other learners may be. I like to decide what I read each day anew.
Re: “sense of accomplishment”:
If I see a word (that I didn’t know at all one or two months ago) for the second or third time and I know its meaning immediately, then I see progress and that makes me happy. The more I read and listen, the more I have such moments!
Personally, I wouldn’t use courses but I know that there are people who like the idea to have a “set” of lessons to work on. There could be lessons of a special level, or about a specific subject.
Courses were a nice way to present the content. I disliked the combination with conversations and writings that you have to do in the “old” version of the courses. Also I found the strict number of lessons that a course should have annoying. At the beginning a course contains 10 lessons, then it was reduced to 4 lessons. This should be more flexibel.
SanneT said: “While I have my own internal measure of success…”
A lot of the students I talk to have no internal measure of success, so they think they are making no progress when in fact they are. I think that such students would benefit from working regularly with a tutor who would give them this feedback. Unfortunately most of them don’t, and then have to put up with frustration and demotivation. I try explaining to them that, as long as your LingQ stats are going up, you are almost certainly making progress. Unfortunately such students generally don’t bother to keep their stats updated with the listening etc that they do outside LingQ.
Courses might provide them with the structure they are lacking, and if they had some sort of before and after self-assessment quiz built in, then so much the better.
Thanks for all the comments and advice. This is very helpful. We are also looking at some kind of self-assessment quiz as well.
It’s difficult to keep track of what you do outside of LingQ. I don’t do it very much. I just include the reading and listening for the material I’m working on, and basically leave it at that.
One thing to think about might be having more levels, especially for lower-level learners. There don’t seem to be clear distinctions between beginner 1 and 2, and then moving into intermediate. If there were more levels, people could feel themselves moving up.
As for courses, I think of LingQ as something one does in addition to course-type material. If people want to create content that illustrates a particular grammatical structure, or social function, or something, that’s great, but there’s lots of that sort of thing out there in the world already. Still though, if LingQ is meant to be a complete language-learning tool, then it will probably need some courses.
I have been giving this some thought today.
I believe that the best measure of our progress in the language is how active we have been. We just have to accept, and persuade learners, that if learners read or listen enough, and do the other activities at LingQ, they are improving, whether they notice it or not.
In the case of LingQ, this means our Activity Index, our known words total, and LingQs created are our milestones of progress on our journey. We have to try harder to convince our learners that this is the best measure of their progress.
I have read so many language books where they promise that “in this lesson you will learn the subjunctive, or the imperfect tense” But in fact you don;t. You are just introduced to it. You will not learn it until you have had enough input and exposure.
The idea of introducing self testing, however, is a good one, IMO.
A bit like Sanne I would like something that shows us what our average number of mistakes are in writings.
It’s true that you won’t learn the subjunctive after studying it in Chapter 10, but if you study it, you may realize that you’ve already seen it and something that was unclear will become clear. Or, shortly after studying it, you’ll see it somewhere and be able to understand it. The key is to keep “study” in proportion and make sure it doesn’t take the place of input.
You recommend that students get a grammar book and review it from time to time. I think that if students do that, they don’t need that sort of thing at LingQ. It’s probably easier to recommend students get a grammar book than to try to create courses on LingQ. However, there’s nothing wrong with lessons that illustrate a particular grammatical structure.
Personally, I don’t feel the need for LingQ to provide me with the “study” party - I’m happy with the content separated by levels, access to tutors, the ability to import content, and the lingqing function.
I agree with your measures of progress, but it can be very difficult to persuade people of this. A lot of people want more concrete measures of their progress.