Russian Into eLearning

In the Summer of 2018 I travelled from Melbourne to Moscow and St. Petersburg for the FIFA World Cup. My partner is Russian and I was meeting her father for the first time and I thought it would be nice if I could say a few basic words in Russian and converse a little.

I started downloading a few apps and came across an elearning app Duolingo. It was by far the best and the most interactive. Basically it’s fun and interesting without being overly complex at the same time. There are basic gamification elements like a score board. You achieve bars at each level as you complete a skill and move through the levels as you become progressively proficient, with a little green owl as your virtual coach.

Suffice to say I didn’t understand how difficult the Russian alphabet would be to learn. Together with the Cyrillic alphabet and Visa restrictions, it was a real struggle to say the least. My dreams of conversing with my partner’s father proved futile (although, google translate proved useful), I resorted to writing a letter in English and getting my partner to translate it.

By recognising and understanding your own elearning styles, you can use techniques better suited to you. This improves the speed and quality of your learning. But, I digress…

We Are Family

The app Duolingo has a many different functions and includes a nifty little sister app called TinyCards. Tiny cards basically follows the same Russian learning course but allows the user to learn with nothing but turn cards. There is something primitive and elementary about simply using cards and pictures to display information and assess learning. But for some reason it works.

The old ‘Flash cards’ use the technique of ‘active recall’, remembering a concept from scratch. Because they facilitate repetition they are the best way to create multiple memory-enhancing recall events and boost confidence using this repetitive approach. The act of self reflection, known as metacognition ingrains the memories deeper into your knowledge.

The brain is trained to think and learn this way. It’s the repetition and the sounds that help make the activity worthwhile. Tiny Cards is an interactive learning experience. It’s how learning should be.

Humans learn best when they are actively involved in the learning process, experiential and ‘hands on’.

Every Application Has An Equal And Opposite Action

One of the five key principles of adult learning is Application and Action. Adult learners are busy, practical, and learn by doing.  They learn best when – There is immediate application for the learning; – They participate actively in the learning process; They can practice new skills or test new knowledge before leaving a learning session. In other words, they positively search out new ideas and take the first opportunity to experiment with applications.

We need to design learning experiences that move from traditional, teacher-centered instruction towards more brain-based, learner-centered instruction.
Learning cards have no age limit. Adults can use them to learn foreign languages, high school students can use them to memorise in preparation for exams, they can teach very young kids to read and count.

So how do we introduce concepts like Learning Cards into modern learning without having to build an app like Duolingo?

Octivo has introduced this concept into their eLearning authoring tool. We have designed a component that is a fun and interactive learning card. Learning cards coupled with 8 other interactive learning assets help the learner be immersed in the elearning and is reshaping the way learners are interacting with the learning content.

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Lenny is the founder and creator of a new age learning agency. He also is co-building a modern LMS system through his new platform TMRW.