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August 19, 2013

Breaking up is hard to do: the ‘atomisation’ of ELT content

EdTechAnother interesting article over at eltjam, which looks at the pros and cons of breaking course content, and language itself into "chunks" that can be parsed and manipulated to meet the needs of adaptive learning and ever-evolving digital production.

Is the linear ELT course on the way out? There’s a growing trend towards the provision of modular mix and match content, or even completely ‘atomised’ content. There are four key things driving this trend:

  • The need to make content development faster and more efficient
  • The potential for huge improvements in production efficiency
  • The rise of adaptive learning which relies in content being broken into small chunks
  • Demand from schools and teachers who want more flexibility in their materials without needing to do the slicing and dicing themselves

The problem of the linear ELT coursebook
The standard coursebook follows a carefully sequenced syllabus: units build and recycle language; students are carefully introduced to language which assumes they’ve covered and understood the language from earlier units; each lesson is designed to flow seamlessly from language input and presentation to practice to communicative tasks; when new grammar is presented, the presentation doesn’t use vocabulary not already covered in the course. Level 1 of the course leads nicely on to level 2. Each level is probably mapped to the CEFR. There are tests available which assume that students have reached unit 6 (or whatever). And a vast array of supplements – online resources, DVD-ROMs, class audio, video, and so on.

Read the full article from eltjam.

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