Posts By :

Princess Lanting

225 225 Princess Lanting

Evaluating The Impact Of EnglishCentral: New Research

research

EnglishCentral is constantly being evaluated by professionals in the field.  One recent study is by Shane Dixon of Arizona State University titled:”Evaluating the Impact of an Online English Language Tool’s Ability to Improve Users’ Speaking Proficiency under Learner- and Shared-control Conditions

Here is a brief summary of the research and findings.  

Download the full report

The study looked at EnglishCentral as used by 83 advanced level students in ASU’s AECP (American English and Culture Program) listening and speaking course.  All learners were given a pre and post test to measure their English language fluency using the Pearson Versant Test

There were 3 groups examined. 

1. Learner control.  EnglishCentral “free” study. Students chose the videos lessons or courses they would study on EnglishCentral

2. Shared control.   EnglishCentral controlled study. Experienced teachers selected video lessons and assigned them as a custom course for student study. Additionally, students could also select their own video lessons.

3. No treatment.  No EnglishCentral study but were given an equivalent amount of traditional homework as the 2 other control groups

Research Questions.

1.  In addition to the 168 hours of classroom instruction does the use of EnglishCentral (learner or shared) lead to gains in fluency vs the no treatment group?

The study found significant gains in fluency through the use of EnglishCentral as a study tool vs the no treatment group when in the shared control condition.

2. Is the shared-control or learner-control system in the EnglishCentral environment better at achieving learner gains in speaking proficiency?

Surprisingly, the shared-control group (which controlled for language level/appropriateness) had the more significant gains in speaking proficiency.

3. Is student attitude, operationalized as the combination of motivation, ease of use, and feelings about technology, affected by the learner control and shared control models? Do other variables such as age, gender, first language, and teacher effect learning outcomes?

Student attitude and motivation was a factor. Students with higher comfort using technology generally had higher achievement scores. Teacher attitude towards technology and EnglishCentral use in general was not a contributing factor towards student success (as measured by an additional survey).

The research raises many interesting questions which are described in the full paper.  

Is EnglishCentral better used during class time (as opposed to homework done outside of class, in the study)?

Why is EnglishCentral not as effective when students are given full control of the learning environment?

Read and find more research regarding EnglishCentral here and here.

 

236 267 Princess Lanting

Giving Students More Control: Learning 3.0

networkI call what Alan November advocates, “Learning 3.0”. (see the video below)

It is about giving students the space and tools to make their learning relevant to the world. REALLY relevant and actual. Make them active in the community, bring them alive to their potential.

THIS is schooling, learning, education and whatever sticker you want to place on it. Authentic material. Real problems = real learning. Purpose. Learning for the world, not for teachers or just the piece of paper or to get through the year. Knocking down the 4 walls of the classroom.

It is so important that we get off the assembly line and start really letting students venture/learn in and of their own motivation and volition.

This article – “How Teachers & Tech Can Let Students Take Control“, expounds more on the points Alan November makes in the video.  Technology is allowing schools and teachers to treat students less like children, to really make them into the self-correcting, autonomous, independent learners our society needs and our future demands.

We at EnglishCentral see what we’ve built as being central to this change in education. Making school less about babysitting students and more about giving them additional responsibility for their learning – letting them be the ones driving the “learning” bus.

Just an ordinary talk with an extraordinary meaning to those who really want to change things….  Students can add value to the world. It’s up to us teachers, administrators, publishers to let them have a go.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebJHzpEy4bE]

325 233 Princess Lanting

How is your language awareness?

lookingfordecision2Jack Richards is a big name in the world of English language learning and teaching. In the video below from Cambridge University Press (an EnglishCentral partner), he discusses a number of things that learners need to be able to do well so they continue to develop.

He reviews the research of Richard Schmidt who developed theories related to attention and noticing that have had a large impact in English language teaching. He supports the need for students to become more “language aware” and notice the differences between their own language and that of a native model. The precise thing that EnglishCentral provides so effectively.

Richards states:

“Many people (language learners) develop fossilization, they have learned English, used it for years but contain many fossilized errors, errors that are stuck. They (the learners) don’t seem to have moved beyond a certain stage of proficiency despite repeated opportunities to use English. And I think they are not aware of it because …. they haven’t noticed the common mistakes they are making, no one has ever pointed it out to them.”

Are you someone who is a “dinosaur” and your English just isn’t improving?  Well, according to Richards and Schmidt, you’d benefit from more language awareness, more “noticing the gap” between yourself and native speakers. (read more about noticing the gap – here).You’ll improve faster if you become aware of your own errors and what you can do to improve.

Schmidt even goes further and says (and this recent paper of his is a nice outline of his research):

What happens then within attentional space largely determines the course of language development, including the growth of knowledge (establishment of new representations) and the development of fluency (access to those representations). Evidence continues to accumulate that noticing has a strong impact on second and foreign language learning.

So how do you become more language aware by using EnglishCentral?  Here are a few pointers.

1.  Pay attention to your own speech and the native model. Click on lines you’ve spoken and listen to your own speech and then the speaker of the video. What are the differences?

2.  Listen with intention. The cloze listening activity (LEARN) should be done and learners need to listen for key language when listening. Intention is key to improving fluency and read more in this article.

3.  Use your pronunciation profile.  After you speak 100 lines on EC, you’ll get this in the top right corner in the progress bar. Click it and view what sounds you don’t pronounce well (red).  Become aware of these and practice the courses there to improve (click each sound).

4.  Go Live!  Right now in Korea and Japan, learners can take a free level test and also get one-on-one tutoring. We will be launching this service in other markets soon.

Your tutor is your coach and will help you become more aware of what you are doing wrong and ways to improve. This direct, immediate feedback from a professional is something invaluable and a proven best way to become fluent and become a more “aware” language learner.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_qMGCk7EjI]