Tips For Creating Lessons

Variation over repetition

It is much easier to assimilate information if we see it and use it in multiple contexts. Publishers should attempt to provide different examples of what they are teaching. It is much better to repeat three different sentences that demonstrate a new word 4 times each over 1 year than to repeat one sentence 12 times in the year. The extra variation will help to keep the user engaged. Sometimes we can review a piece of information many times but it just refuses to lodge itself into our memory no matter how many times we see it. Then, we might stumble upon the same information in a slightly different context, and it all becomes clear to us and, from then on, we are able to recall it easily.

Avoid too many translation exercises

Translation exercises have their place but they can get the user in a pattern of thinking in his own language rather than thinking and responding in the target language. When a student is learning a language, he should spend as much time as possible with his target language rather than his native language. If each exercise has a sentence in his or her target language and a translation in his native language, he will be spending a fair percentage of his time studying being exposed to a language that he already knows. This time may be better spent being exposed to his target language.

Utilize interesting content

Learning a language requires a lot of time. Students are much more likely to stick with it if it’s enjoyable, amusing, or interesting. Publishers should attempt to use materials that won’t bore the user. Of course, this is not possible all the time but, the more enjoyable your content is, the more likely users will stay with it. There are many ways to make your content interesting such as:

  1. Include real movie or audio clips.
  2. Use stories and novels as a basis for lessons.
  3. Take real sentences or content from real stories, headlines, or movies.
  4. Teach interesting facts in the target language.
  5. Use interesting dialogs with multiple people. Make sure the voice actors speak in a realistic and engaging manner.
  6. Include some humor.

Ensure content is not too difficult

If a student finds the lessons too hard, they will give up quickly and won’t have a very favorable impression of your content. You need to draw a balance between content that is so easy that the students learn little and content which is too hard and causes students to give up.

Teach in context

People learn much more effectively if the context for the new information is provided. So ensure that you provide new information in full sentences or dialogs. This is not to say that there is no room for exercises that isolate words. I believe isolation exercises can be used effectively in conjunction with context-rich exercises. Some words are more suited to be taught in isolation such as simple nouns in certain languages. Make an effort to use sentences that help the user understand the exact meaning of the word. Here is a good example of the word ambivalent. “I'm ambivalent as to whether we should invite Ralph to the party; he is a great storyteller, but sometimes he drinks too much.”

Comprehension versus speaking

Not everyone likes to learn in the same way. Some people prefer to become proficient in understanding and comprehending a language before they put much effort into formulating sentences themselves. Others may want to start speaking right from the get go. When creating your content, you want to consider the balance of productive exercises versus receptive exercises.

Consider using a variety of exercise types

It is easier to absorb a language if we experience it from multiple angles such as listening to it, reading it, comprehending it, speaking it, writing it, and even translating it. So consider creating multiple exercise types to teach new information.

Explain new concepts and vocabulary

A note can be added to each fact. New vocabulary and grammatical structures should be explained in the notes section. The student can read these notes when they are first learning the facts and hide them as they become more familiar with the information. Users can always use the right click menu to look up words as a backup.

Recycling content

Consider reusing the new vocabulary you have taught. This will give users extra practice with these words without needing to do extra reviews.

Don’t teach similar sounding words at the same time

Students can easily get confused if they are taught similar sounding words at the same time, so try to avoid doing this.

Use a broad range of vocabulary

It may be easy to use the same basic nouns over and over when introducing new vocabulary but, in order to expose the learners to as much of the language as possible, avoid using the same simple nouns to create new example sentences.

Consistency in level of difficulty

Aim to create a consistent level of difficulty. The exception to this is if you break your deck up into sections.

Be creative

HighSpeedLanguage gives the student great flexibility in teaching, so try out new things on yourself and other students.

Incremental learning

Rather than having ever repetition exactly the same it is a good idea to create facts that change with each repetition. There are a couple ways to do this. The first is with the label controller. Using the label controller you can specify that a percentage of the label should be hidden. You can also set the label so that it hides more and more as the number of reviews increase. You can also do this with the order vocab controller using the rep multiplier setting. Using these features ensures that the learner will always be pushed to use his brain and think rather than simply parrot of a phrase.

Using hints

You can use a label control to give the user a hint as to what the answer is. With the rep multiplier setting you can make the hint harder with each review.