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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

(Language) Learning is Mainly About Engagement.

A recent response about my current feelings about (language) learning and purposeful engagement...

Let me start by saying that I have not seen Lingua.ly in action, and am only commenting on the post made in EDUKWEST.

I guess that I am a little surprised to see that the three key trends seen by EDUKWEST are personalized, effective, and efficient learning. I get effective and efficient learning, but it seems that personalized learning is practically inherent in any open, online experience. One trend that I am surprised not to hear much about is engagement.

The main problem that Lingua.ly addresses is the difficulty in using authentic content based on research that supports the notion that learning must be organized in order for it to be efficient (and I don't doubt that such research exists). But is systematic learning through authentic and purposeful engagement realistic?

If language learners want systematic language learning experiences they can go to school for that. Perhaps more startups should focus on the authentic (and purposeful) engagement piece more and the value of learning an additional language much in the same way one learns the mother tongue. If they get the engagement right, the effectiveness, efficiencies, and personalization (which have more to do with the individual learner) will fall into place.

Looking at learning in general, the trends favor engagement (how we communicate with each other and for what reasons) over effectiveness, efficiencies, and personalization. I would argue that language learning is no different.