How to learn a language
How to learn a language

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How to learn a language

5 Evaluation activity

In the following activity you will evaluate an app used for language learning.

Activity 2 Evaluating a resource

Timing: Allow about an hour

If you have a smartphone or tablet, download a free app that offers language-learning courses, such as Duolingo or busuu from your app store (or check for something else you like the look of under the Education > Learn a new language category in your app store). Spend 20–30 minutes trying out the different features it provides and then consider the questions below. If you do not have access to a smartphone or tablet or would rather evaluate another resource, perhaps one that you use regularly or a free resource you’ve found online, then do so.

Score a mark from 0 to 5 for each question, or N/A if the criterion is not applicable to your resource

Language learning:

Score

(0 to 5 or N/A)

Name of the app
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Reading: does the resource provide texts in the target language?
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Listening: does the resource provide audio in the target language?
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Writing: does the resource offer opportunities to write in the target language?
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Speaking: does the resource offer opportunities to speak in the target language?
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Vocabulary: does the resource offer specific activities for vocabulary acquisition?
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Grammar: does the resource offer specific activities for grammar practice?
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Pronunciation and intonation: does the resource offer specific activities for pronunciation and intonation?
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Cultural information: does the resource include information about customs and traditions in the areas where the language is spoken?
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Use of visual content: are images and videos stereotypical or stock images? Do they represent the diversity of the areas where the language is spoken?
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Language varieties: does the resource include different regional or national varieties of the language?
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Pedagogy:
Description: does the resource description match what the resource does?
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Teaching: does the resource present, explain or model language or does it just test it?
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Progress: does the resource allow the user to track progress or see previous attempts?
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Scaffolding: do activities in the resource progress in difficulty in a way that supports the learner?
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Feedback: does the resource provide feedback? Is it just right/wrong or meaningful explanations?
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Quality of content: does the content have any errors/omissions?
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Use of media: does the resource make use of sound, images and video in a meaningful way?
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Differentiation: does the resource offer different levels depending on ability? Can these be accessed directly?
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Engagement: does the resource keep the user interested or are activities repetitive?
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User experience:
Interaction: does the resource allow users to interact with each other?
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Interactivity: is engagement with the resource content active or passive?
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Sharing: does the resource allow or encourage sharing content?
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Badging: does the resource provide recognition that can be shared on social media?
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Price: does the user need to pay to download the resource? Is there a trial version?
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Registration: does the resource require the user to register?
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Advertising: does the resource include pop-up ads? Are these distracting?
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Technology issues:
Interface: is the interface clear and uncluttered?
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Navigation: is the resource intuitive to navigate, with clear menus and options?
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Instructions: does the resource offer instructions on how to use it?
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Stability: does the resource freeze or crash?
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Gamification: does the resource have game-like features to increase engagement?
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Support: does the resource have a help section?
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Offline work: does the resource require an internet connection to work?
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Words: 0
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How did the resource score? Did going through the questions help you to think about what the resource offers and lacks? Spend 5 to 10 minutes writing a short reflection about how engaging with the questions may be useful or not when you next consider a resource.

Laura says:

One of the things I think is important when I choose an app is what criteria are the most important for me at the time, so which ones I will prioritise above others. For instance, the gamification aspect is fun, but the stability of the app is much more important.

LLL_1

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