Monday, February 24, 2020

2020 #DTA: #VWEDU: Vocabulary learning from the beginning: Can the DTA evaluate beginner performance? How?

Vocabulary learning from the beginning:
Can the DTA evaluate beginner performance?  

Immediate feedback is needed for optimal learning conditions.  A computer is limited in what it can evaluate.  But in a scene under its control, it can give feedback to support vocabulary learning and well up into the more advanced language skills. 
The Empty Classroom
Off to learn a language

Can DTA evaluate beginner performance?

  • The DTA can present interactive scenes to give context for learning concrete vocabulary words,
  • It can record and file learner responses. 
  • It can best support learning if it can evaluate the responses and give immediate feedback.
  • Or if it can arrange for others to give the feedback.
  • Conveniently, this feedback is only to support learning.
  • It does not have to be recorded.  It just has to happen.  Indirect evaluation.

How the DTA can evaluate vocabulary learning

  • For a vocabulary of concrete items: 
  • Task 1:DTA names an object in text and the learner to clicks on a digital representation of it. The digital object is scripted: it gives its name and a token telling what was clicked..
  • Giving the name is immediate feedback to the learner and the token tells the DTA.
  • Task 2:  Like task 1, except that the name is given in voice.  Evaluation is the same.
  • Task 3:  The DTA  presents an object, learner types a name.  DTA can test for match.  If desired, DTA can apply tests for approximate match.
  • Task 4The DTA  presents an object, learner speaks a name.  DTA feeds the audio into a speech-to-text engine for the target language and evaluates the result.      

Beyond vocabulary learning

  • Direct evaluation
  • Indirect evaluation (social only)

Assessment of reading comprehension (direct evaluation)

Search Results

Oral comprehension (direct evaluation)

  • Apprentice level: The DTA gives audio instructions that the learners follow.
  • The audio is recorded from native speakers.
  • The DTA evaluates the actions as indicating comprehension.
  • Journeyman level: Evaluation not available solo. 
  • Evaluated in conversation with experienced speakers.  Indirect evaluation 


  • Apprentice level: Use a digital writing assistant like Grammarly
  • Journeyman level:  Indirect evaluation: learner writes instructions to others in target language. 


  • Direct evaluation by speech-to-text engine.  The resulting text can be evaluated.
  • Indirect evaluation: learner speaks instructions to others in the target language

Indirect evaluation

  • Create circumstances that cause other people to give feedback.
  • That only works in the social mode.  But language is inherently in the social mode.
  • For specific suggestions, start here: Social gaming

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