Assessment Across Online Language Education - Stephanie Link

Assessment Across Online Language Education - Stephanie Link

10. The Lingo of Language Learning Startups: Congruency Between Claims, Affordances, and SLA Theory

Assessment Across Online Language Education - Stephanie Link

Gabriel A Guillen [+-]
Middlebury Institute of International Studies
Gabriel Guillen is an Assistant Professor in Spanish at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS) in Monterey. At MIIS he teaches content-based language courses such as Social Entrepreneurship in the Hispanic World and Spanish in the Community, connecting his Spanish students with English learners in the county of Monterey. His dissertation focused on online intercultural exchanges and the use of language learning social networks in the context of hybrid language education.
Thor Sawin [+-]
Middlebury Institute of International Studies
Thor Sawin is an Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS) in Monterey with a background in second language learning and linguistic anthropology. His research in language learning among cross-cultural workers on the front lines of globalization sparked his interest in mobile devices as a low-cost and low-barrier means of connecting autonomous learners with authentic language in diverse and superdiverse environments.
Sarah E. Springer [+-]
Middlebury Institute of International Studies
Sarah Springer works at the intersection of design, research, teaching, and technology as senior staff and adjunct faculty member at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS) at Monterey. Based in the San Francisco Bay area, she leads workshops, creates materials, and facilitates experiences that integrate human-centered design practices within projects and organizations. Her increasing engagement with the world of entrepreneurship is driven by a recognition that, as with teaching, a deep understanding of human needs, motivations, and behaviors is at its core.

Description

The presence of 541 language learning startups on AngelList evidences the industry’s momentum. While language learners may welcome this proliferation of options, the authors hypothesized that some claims made by these startups reflect ignorance about the findings of Second Language Acquisition (SLA). Thus, learners may find these startups unable to deliver on their bold claims and give up on language learning altogether. To determine the effects of this, we analyzed the congruence between the claims of six archetypical startups (Memrise, Verbling, BliuBliu, Duolingo, Elsa, and ChattingCat), the actual affordances of their platforms, and recommendations from the field of instructed language acquisition. Commonly-held language fallacies (the minimal effort myth, a preference for native speakers, or a focus on simplistic conceptions of language as isolated easily-translatable words) were found, together with more realistic promises. Companies truly after measurable social impact should start by using more honest, transparent, and accurate language in their marketing literature.

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Citation

Guillen, Gabriel; Sawin, Thor; Springer, Sarah. 10. The Lingo of Language Learning Startups: Congruency Between Claims, Affordances, and SLA Theory. Assessment Across Online Language Education. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 198-218 Feb 2018. ISBN 9781781797013. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=34394. Date accessed: 24 Oct 2019 doi: 10.1558/equinox.34394. Feb 2018

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