LearnLanguageswith Us!Start Learning!
“Reduce by as much as half, the time required for language instruction in the classroom.” At the 2005 dedication of the Center for Advanced Study of Language (CASL), founder Dick Brecht set that goal.
Who actually remembers what people say at dedications? Well, the language community noticed Dick’s statement. CASL was created at the University of Maryland to be America’s leading national research laboratory for language, and it seemed to some that its leadership was setting up an outrageous and unattainable goal right from the start.
A famous rule of thumb in the technology world, Moore’s Law, predicts that the cost of computer memory will be cut in half every eighteen months or so. The technological world is accustomed to rapid improvement.
But the formal teaching and learning of foreign languages in classroom-type settings has been going on for thousands of years. One would guess that anything tweakable was tweaked long ago, and the rate at which human minds absorb information is not likely to double anytime soon.
So, where did this goal of a fifty percent reduction in required instruction time come from? Imagine a 2005-era language training program that takes, let’s say, 20 weeks of full-time training to get students to a given level of language proficiency or performance. What would a 2013-era program do to cut those 20 weeks “by as much as half?”
Turns out, it comes partially from a given program doing old things better, and partially from using technology to do things that were not possible until recently.
Do Old Things Better
Exploit New Research and Technology
Nice call, Dick.
– Michael Quinlan, CEO, Transparent Language, Inc.