We are increasingly talking about the use of big data and artificial intelligence in education, but how exactly do these concepts materialize in the design of language courses adapted to the individual needs of each student?
How can a good teacher and the reinforcement of an algorithm help us to accelerate the learning process, respecting each person’s individual characteristics?
To answer these two questions, let us once again recall how we learn a language and what we can do to help learners speak the target language better, faster and with greater motivation. It will help us to understand which elements are involved in the development of pedagogical content for language learning and how big data algorithms are embedded in the teaching and learning process.
Without going into complex linguistic analysis, let's look at some fundamental concepts that occur when learning a language and what levers we use when teaching.
Human beings possess the inherent ability to learn languages and this will happen sooner or later if the person has sufficient exposure to the target language.
The role of the teacher, far from being irrelevant because of this fact, is of the utmost importance as he or she can provide that valuable assistance which brings quality, motivation and acceleration to the learning process.
A well-prepared teacher, using powerful tools to store the individual progress of each learner, is able to guide better, to reinforce only what is needed, to direct and to order the knowledge of his or her students.
Without such a tool, and only with a textbook, we will be doomed to perpetuate models that lead to poor results and unsatisfactory student experience.
By increasing exposure to the target language, however chaotic it may be, we achieve that qualitative leap which leads to better and faster results. Better listening comprehension, better pronunciation, increased ability to discern different accents and regional variations, richer vocabulary and idiomatic expressions. This, therefore, has to be the advice par excellence that every language teacher can give his or her students, over and above investing in grammar books and textbooks.
Whatever you enjoy doing, do it in the target language you are learning.
A class guided by a teacher remains the mainstay of education, however capable we may be of learning on our own. The difference is in the type of practice or experience the teacher offers.
The teacher is the quality exposure every student needs to accelerate the learning process, if he or she has the right tools to do so. Contrary to the belief that a good textbook helps, we believe that a good system supported by a variety of strategically structured activities helps best.
With an accurate tool for recording learners’ inputs and generating personalized content, in 30 minutes of quality practice with a teacher we achieve much more than in an hour of class with more orthodox methods.
The quality exposure, impersonated by an excellently prepared and empowered teacher with a system that provides the information and material students need, manages to offer the right help at the right time.
No matter how organised a teacher may be and how strictly he or she keeps track of what his or her students have or haven’t acquired yet, in practice it is difficult to be well prepared without the support of a system that complements and provides the teacher with content selected on the basis of previous input criteria. This is where we use big data or digital storage of everything that has been marked as content achieved and consolidated and content not yet acquired.
A learning system that uses big data offers the teacher in each class what content to reinforce and practice to ensure personalized progress for each student.
When interacting in any language, three interconnected mechanisms are activated that allow us to formulate a coherent idea verbally. We need to dress our thoughts in words (vocabulary), in an organised manner (grammatical structures) for a communicative purpose (idea or topic we want to express).
Following this trichotomy, a language class has to incorporate these three aspects, represented by structure and vocabulary activities that activate correction when speaking and topic activities based on current affairs that activate fluency.
If in each class these three mechanisms are activated through enjoyable activities and dynamic pace, we manage to improve linguistic competence and language production faster.
The theory of applied linguistics pays little or no attention to this key element of the class. Rhythm in the language class, as in a performance of a musical work, directly affects the receiver's harmonic perception.
A dynamic pace of activity execution allows the student to have a rich and memorable experience in each class, without any hint of boredom or lack of motivation.
Any good system has to be able to remove the non-communicative elements out of the class format, such as gap-filling exercises, reading long texts losing the thread of the story, copying words that we never remember to revise, etc.
Instead, we have to ensure content activation with a dynamic pace and a class format based on learners stimulated to practice the class elements.
Although modern theories rule out the use of the mother tongue in the classroom, many teachers still resort to explaining in it or translating for the sake of what is faster.
However, we will agree that these two experiences, that of a class taught entirely in the target language and a class taught half in the target language, obtain quite different results.
Every language can be learned with the mechanisms of the target language itself and every language can be taught without the need to resort to translation or explanation in the mother tongue.
It depends on the teacher’s skills, experience and expertise to ensure that this is achieved smoothly and gradually, but it is also something that a teacher can master with the right training and with the help of a system that provides all the steps he or she needs to take.
These seven levers have been encapsulated in an application so that teachers and students have the best ally in the common goal of accelerating learning. Oxinity offers each language teacher and student its system which, by incorporating big data, achieves spectacular results in a short time and with a high level of satisfaction from the teaching experience.