This is a summary of the article titled ‘Criteria for the Assessment of Foreign Language Instructional Software and Web Sites‘.
This article develops standards ‘for assessing language-learning software and Web sites’. It gives examples of assessments using these standards of all the note worth language packages/websites for the learning of Russian.
A note on general language acquisition:
research in second language acquisition shows us that learners need to have good, authentic input—listening to and reading comprehensible texts—and many opportunities to practice speaking by using the language to negotiate meaning in situations that resemble culturally authentic communicative contexts.
Three criteria for effective learning software are stated to be:
- More of the students will reach higher proficiency levels in one or another modality in the same amount of time. (This is a cognitive goal.)
- More of the students will be sufficiently engaged and energized in the learning process to want to continue for a longer period of time. Students will thus attain higher proficiency levels in one or more modalities than they would have if they had stopped the learning process earlier. (This is an affective goal leading indirectly to a cognitive goal.)
- More of the students will be able to organize their studies and thus achieve better learning outcomes. (This is a metacognitive goal leading indirectly to a cognitive goal. Software and Web sites that meet this criterion usually put at the learners’ disposal resources that might otherwise not be available or as accessible, such as online dictionaries and strategy tutorials.)
Also stipulated are:
five characteristics of pedagogical design for multimedia applications or classroom lessons:
- Learners must know what they are expected to do and what goals they are expected to achieve by completing the task.
- Learners must be adequately prepared to begin the task.
- Learners must be adequately trained to complete the task.
- Learners must be adequately tested to assess their completion of the task.
- Learners must be given opportunities to expand their learning beyond the task.
Finally he offers ‘two caveats’ for software designers in addition to the above which are:
- the integration of image and sound
- the power, given to the learner, to move back and forth through the lesson as he or she sees fit.