When Sugatra Mitra introduced the ELT world to his concept of the SOLE (self-organised learning environment) at IATEFL 2014, half of the audience stood up and walked out while the other half were still in the auditorium giving him a standing ovation. It was an engaging and thought-provoking talk which was followed by many blog posts and tweets accusing Mitra of having a neo-liberal agenda, of being an idealist and not an educator and anti-teacher. Intrigued, Varinder Unlu, Director of Studies at International House London, decided to actually try it out with adult learners and see what the results were.
Most teachers, linguists, and polyglots will have been asked the same question many times: “What’s the best way to learn a language?” Answers and debate often start flowing without a full understanding of the question, which is actually much more complex than it seems at first glance.
What is the best way to learn a language? Typical answers usually involve the names of common or popular resources: Rosetta Stone, Duolingo, Memrise, or even our own Linguisticator. Other common answers include taking traditional classes or moving to another country. These are non-answers, because all beg a very important question and assume we all know and agree on what it means to learn a language.
Guest post from Aaron Ralby of online language learning provider, Linguisticator.
Frustration, anger, confusion, boredom and repetition are all hallmarks of bad user experience (UX); unfortunately, they’re often hallmarks of language learning too, especially when it takes place digitally. But bad UX is not the only reason digital language learning products fail – sometimes it’s the content, sometimes it’s the pedagogy, sometimes it’s the lack of human interaction. Bad UX alone fails to address the complexities of language learning. We need to start talking about bad learner experience (LX). Bad LX could be defined in a number of ways, but at its most basic it’s this: not only did you fail to learn something; you had a horrible time trying.
Having been invited to recommend ‘the best ELT journals…, maybe a top 5 list’, Florentina Taylor explains why the following are, in her opinion, great resources for ELT professionals. Such a list will always be a subjective compilation dependent on personal preference, work context, accessibility and the reasons for accessing (and recommending) the respective journals. She’s hoping this will, nevertheless, answer the question. You can find an objective journal ranking tool at the end of this post.
Social learning is a term that is increasingly being used by ELT practitioners. But what is it, and what’s all the fuss about? In this post, Shaun Crowley explains the concept and the mechanics behind it in ELT and non-ELT apps – arguing that social learning has the potential to enhance EFL blended learning.
Last week’s Innovate ELT conference in Barcelona owed much of its success to the incredible delegates so naturally we turned to them for a write up. Keen blogger Adam Beale reflects on his experience for us.