What would your requirements for a perfect language course be? I have spent a lot of thoughts on this question. If I could dream completely free from the constraints of existing books and audio courses, here’s what I would value:
- Highly interactive: rather than just listening or reading, I want to use the language myself
- Frequent feedback, so that mistakes won’t become fossilized
- Audio for everything, especially if the pronunciation of the language is very different from what I’m used to
- Useful vocabulary, not a single word that I couldn’t see myself using/needing, illustrated with example sentences
- Regular recurrence of vocabulary, so that it stays in memory – too many courses teach a lot of words and then never use them a second time
- Grammar when useful, for example too many students of German are forced to memorize declension tables when they still make many worse mistakes; the perfect language course would always consider what the biggest obstacle to comprehension is
- Plenty of exercises, because it’s always possible to skip some if I have mastered the topic, not possible to conjure new exercises if I’m still struggling to understand
- Clear goals and measurable progress towards them. Seeing progress motivates me.
When I was creating language lessons for GermanPod101, Myngle and other sites, I tried to incorporate these points as much as possible. I couldn’t change the format of the lessons though, so a lot of these issues remained.
Now I had the chance to design a language course from scratch, design a method from scratch. For the past year, I have been working on the language course of my dreams, the one that I wished I had had when I started out learning Chinese. Because it will Chinese. Chinese is generally taught so inefficiently, without regard to modern research on language acquisition, that I decided that improving the situation of Chinese learners would be the most worthwhile cause.
I am now ready to unveil my course to the world for the first time and I need your support to take it further.
Please have a look at LearnYu – the Automagic Chinese Course and then tweet about it and write about it on Facebook if you like the idea.
Here are some pictures to whet your appetite:
Please help me develop more lessons for LearnYu!