The real challenge of language learning is long term, not short term, retention.In other words, the real test of whether learners can understand or produce a new expression does not come in the form of a quiz ten minutes after memorizing the expression, but at random times in the future when they happen to encounter or want to use that word or phrase.
In order to retain a new vocabulary word in the long term, the average person requires around seven to ten encounters with that word over a period of time.Each of these encounters must reinforce a connection between the word's written or spoken form and its meaning.
Thus, quality review of previously studied material, while less appealing than engagement in new content, is essential to success in learning English or other foreign languages.
How much review is the right amount?
The minimum amount necessary to ensure long-term retention.
How is that amount calculated by Nulu?Nulu uses an algorithm that takes into account how many times each flashcard has been viewed and the user's ratings of flashcard difficulty.The system then sorts the flashcard deck into an order that optimizes the effectiveness of review.
Should the review material and schedule be the same for different users?
Absolutely not.No two learners have exactly the same understanding of the target language, so no two learners should have the same set of "difficult" words or review schedule.
Items entered into Nulu's review system are chosen personally by each individual based on what he or she wants to review.Those items are then prioritized according to the user's difficulty ratings and viewing history of those items.The result?Maximal retention in minimal time.
Is context an important element of review?
Absolutely.Studying lists of words is not only boring but also ineffective.Just as playing a musical piece in isolated notes fails to convey the overall effect of a melody, studying words out of context fails to convey the intended meaning.A complete idea is communicated at the sentence level, not lower, and the purpose of the words in each sentence is to collectively convey that idea.
Familiar context also plays the important role of controlling the balance between new and review.If new words are introduced in too great a proportion to ones that were recently learned, learners know that they've seen some of those words but are not clear about what they mean.
Failure to achieve clarity of understanding keeps English and other foreign language learners in the vast space of "intermediate" proficiency, which often causes them to abandon their language learning goals altogether.Nulu's well-managed system of review, which not only controls the encounter schedule for words but also restricts the introduction of new items to new news stories, overcomes all of the aforementioned roadblocks and brings users learning English and other foreign languages long-lasting clarity and true proficiency.
Is language acquisition only a long term challenge?
No.The greatest challenge is indeed long term learning, but the initial test is short term.
Learners who study a list of ten words and definitions should be able to understand and correctly produce those words immediately after studying them, but the true test of word knowledge is if the student remembers its meaning at random times and long after the word has supposedly been "learned."
Thus, even if learners pass short-term vocabulary tests, that does not prove true acquisition of such vocabulary, unless they can recall those words after not seeing them for an extended period of time.
Nulu satisfies all of these necessities by testing English and other foreign language learners on both short-term and long-term recognition and production.
When users engage in a news story, they use first-language (L1) translations as often as necessary in order to make a firm and accurate connection between target language (L2) words and their meanings.
They test their recognition of those items by reading and listening to the story in the L2 without L1 support.
They then test their comprehension by answering questions about the story.Incorrectly answered questions are presented to the learners again until answered correctly.
Students further encounter and use the newly-learned vocabulary in the story discussion.
When reviewing words from that story at a later date, students are challenged to produce the target word and sentence from memory.If they cannot recall the appropriate words, they can quickly confirm recognition of the meanings of those words by reading and listening to the answer in the L2.
Thus, Nulu provides extensive opportunities for recall and recognition of words and phrases to ensure perfect understanding of target language words encountered in the short term and long term.