We believe that language is not just an academic subject but also a performing art – something that must be actively practiced in order to master. A learner can watch people speak a new language, memorize all of the grammar rules, and talk about the language ad nauseam. But to truly speak a language, a learner must actually try it out with a partner. Real conversational fluency takes good instruction, a dose of courage, and a lot of real-life practice.
Our methodology is structured around the Whole-Part-Whole learning model. Whole-Part-Whole is a proven structure that allows learners to observe, learn, and then practice new language concepts. Consistently used in skills training with excellent results, Whole-Part-Whole breaks down learning situations into three parts:
- Demonstration: The learner watches and/or listens to native speakers engage in a conversation. The situation includes new language skills and is presented to learners in a complete real-life setting that helps with the construction of a mental model. For example, the learner may watch a video of people ordering coffee at a café and then complete a short exercise to gauge their own comprehension.
- Deconstruction: The situation represented in the conversation is broken down into its vocabulary and grammar parts. This allows learners to fully understand the components of the new situation and to learn how those components can be applied to other situations as well.
- Practice: Finally, the components are reassembled and the learner is given the opportunity to practice via a series of interactive activities. These activities focus on written and spoken production and all involve interaction with and feedback from real native speakers of the language.
Activity Sets: A Basic Building Block
Livemocha’s learning materials are all made up of Activity Sets. The building blocks of each course framework, one Activity Set represents a single Whole-Part-Whole deconstruction of a concept or scenario. Activity Sets can be combined into Sequences that, when completed, allow the learner to do a specific task. Sequences are then combined into Courses, which deliver a specific learning outcome tied to the proficiency level a learner will achieve upon completion – for example, English Mastery for Business. Each Course is created to meet the needs of a particular Persona – the target learner for the Course, who has an assumed set of competencies including knowledge, age, skills, etc.