Back to "addled"…

While Barbara was back and addled, I was in Oklahoma, with little to no time and less Internet access, but enough to read the post, only to have to sit and let it seethe until I could get back and react (after the dust of the new semester settled a bit).

Frankly, Tim looks like he has repackaged a tired and quite old model of learning, which has its roots in an instructional design model in which complex tasks are “reduced” (deconstructed, whatever) into simple elements. I wouldn’t even call this “learn but not master”, because this “method” actually makes the performance of complex tasks harder if not impossible. To paraphrase Grellet: the system of references, tasks and supportive information as well as the discourse indicators one relies on are often removed or at least significantly altered.

Now, Pete’s idea resonates with an idea I have come to love, which is Merriënboer’s 4C/ID model:


Practicing whole tasks based on real life competencies with an aim at integration and scaffolding (not chunking) of components. THIS is called learning a language, isn’t it?

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Doug Canfield has been running an "other-minded" language center down in the Tennessee Hills for about 8 years. A lapsed (recovering?) medievalist and French teacher, his passion now involves emerging research paradigms for exploring language instruction and learning, especially in virtual worlds. His goals include fostering the use of technology for instruction, communication, collaboration, and recreation. His alter ego sometimes blogs elsewhere.

1 Comment

  1. Barbara · January 16, 2008 Reply

    You rock Doug…

    I am floored by the positive comments Mr Ferriss continues to get on his blog… the latest asks whether he has considered patenting his process and another told him Chomsky would be so proud of him.

    The downside of blogging is that unless someone comments and tells you otherwise, you live with the illusion that what you say is undeniably brilliant (and this gent has enough idle and idol worshippers to let it go to his head).

    It is mindsets such as his which bring us students and parents of students who don’t understand the complexity/intricacy of language learning, the nuance, the importance of scaffolding as you so eloquently state here.

    My fave (I get one of these requests monthly): “Surely they must be a CD-Rom program or an audio CD I could listen to in my car where I could learn all this stuff? I mean,” continues the frustrated and hyper-busy monolinguist, “How hard could learning a language really be?”

    Thanks for posting Doug!

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