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Features of quality language learning software are explained in alphabetical order.




Language Games and Trainer
Adaptivity Adaptivity means, that a program automatically adapts to the users knowledge, teaching him what he doesn't know by not bothering him with what he does know. For this easy and learned words are discarded, while words not guessed are repeated. An adaptive program (e.g. like vokki or the Foreign Language Game Collection) makes the language learning much more effective. Adaptivity requires a good Knowledge Assessment.
Autorepeat Automatically repeating words not guessed is a technique, which increases the learning effect during the testing. Instead of punishing an error (e.g. by negative statistic results) the Montessori principle is realized, that each task should end with 100% success.
Categorizing Categorizing is a mnemonic of learning words in context.
Clue Processing Clue Processing is a mnemonic, where lessons are linked with images.
Delimiting Delimiting is a mnemonic, where you remember as much as possible characteristics, which distinguish a word from a similar word.
Drag & Drop Lessons Instead of opening a lesson using the file dialog you can drag & drop lessons to the program.
Fonts Single byte fonts allow learning languages like Greek or Russian. For other languages like Chinese or Japanese special unicode fonts are needed, which so far are not supported by the presented programs.
Knowledge Assessment Some vocabulary trainer provide a statistic adding up the number of correct and false answers. Much more useful is a precise knowledge assessment, where each vocabulary item is listed according to its difficulty for the user. For scoring the difficulty the program should consider as many factors as possible, e.g. whether the answer was given by multiple choice or by text input, or whether there was a time limit. If the program has multi user support, it stores the knowledge state of a user in a user file. Knowledge assessment allows adapting to the users knowledge and learning advances and providing effective learning strategies for the vocabulary item selection.
Learning Strategies There are different ways to learn a lessen, for example you can walk through the lesson learning each item after another or you can focus on the hardest items. Language learning software should support different strategies. Strategy support is enabled by Knowledge Assessment and Adaptivity.
Lessons a la Carte The Lessons a la Carte function allows learning more than one lesson at the same time. You set up a list of lessons by adding or removing lessons as you like. When you go learning, the vocabulary items are drawn at random from all the lessons on the list.
Localisation Localized programs allow switching the language of the user interface. The user interface of the Foreign Language Game Collection e.g. can be switched to Catalan, Danish, English, German, Italian, Spanish and Swedish.
Multilanguage Multilanguage capability means that you can use a program for learning more than one language.
Multiuser Game A multiuser game allows playing together with friends solving vocabulary items alternately. Each player can learn an other language, and if the game is adaptive it adapts to the knowledge of each individual.
Multiuser Support Multiuser suppurt allows more than one person using a program by storing knowledge states and settings in a user file. This allows a multiuser game, where player alternate their turn. Multiuser support is important for using language software in schools and universities.
Morphology Vocabulary items are split into prefix, main part, suffix and comment. This allows for example scoring an user intput correct, even if the user leaves out or adds an article.
Stages Stages with increasing tempo and difficulty fight boredom with variety.
Statistics Some vocabulary trainer provide statistics adding up the number of correct and false answers while a precise Knowledge Assessment would make much more sense.
Search Machines
Lesson Browser
Vocabulary items can be searched, sorted an learned via attributes like type, language, theme or knowledge state. Database applications like VDB are best suited for this purpose and allow the user defining their own attributes. Other applications can provide a lesson browser, which gives reduced features.
Synonyms Lessons containing synonyms enable a program accepting more than one correct solution via text input. If a synonym is not stored in the lesson, the user can complete the lesson via immediate synonym extension. During a game, the user input is backdated to be a correct solution after adding the synonym. Some programs (vokki) allow learning synonyms and antonyms directly like learning translations.
Typing Error Tolerance A program tolerant against typing errors corrects small errors automatically, requests the user when detecting a medium error and assumes the user not to know the solution if he really typed an other word only. The threshold between typing error and wrong answer is continuously adjustable. Some programs allow substitutes, e.g. using an a for an .
Lesson Editors
Compacting Compacting is a function of a lesson editor, which removes all double entries of a lesson and combines their synonym lists.
Concatenation A lesson editor can concatenate two lessons.
Mirror Capability of a lesson editor to mirror the languages of a lesson.
Replace Language Replace Language is a feature, which allows making a lesson english - spanish out of a lesson german - english and a lesson german - spanish on the precondition that the vocabulary of the lessons overlaps.