Tag Archives: English

Creating e-Learning for English Second-Language Learners

This article has been contributed by FUEL, a member of ADESSA.

Fuel logo red 002 1

At FUEL, we specialise in creating engaging e-Learning lessons for English second-language learners. Most of our learners speak English as their second language. This means that we have to be especially sensitive to their ability to understand the language. This includes every element of the e-Learning experience, from the writing of the narrative all the way through to the user interface design. In this article, we are going to share some of our most valued guidelines for creating awesome e-Learning lessons for our English second-language learners

Use the simplest language possible

Language use not only includes the words you use but also how you structure your sentences. We follow a basic rule: if you can think of a shorter word or sentence than what is being used – use it. If there is a simpler way of saying something, then say it that way.

If we’re using more technical terminology or jargon in your lesson, we use a specific example to illustrate exactly what you mean. Sometimes, we use a glossary section where we define these terms and explain what they are used for.

Fuel 2
Make navigation easy

There is nothing more frustrating than not knowing where to tap or click or how to continue with a lesson. For this reason, the navigation and user interface need to be as simple as it is instructive. Don’t leave anything up to chance. If there is the slightest chance of confusion, fix it.

Here, we think about what we want the learner to do at every step of the journey. When describing an action, we use a verb that the learner will relate to. For example, if we need our learners to select something to enter an answer, we make the wording for the relevant field something along the lines of: ‘Enter answer’. On top of this, we give the button a distinct colour that just screams action, like green or red.

Don’t introduce any elements that are distracting – ever. Here, we believe that our only goal is to help our learner understand something. If there is anything that distracts the learner’s attention from what matters – remove it.

Don’t only tell the learner – show them

We don’t expect our learners to rely on textual or verbal explanations only. We believe that the best way to explain how to do something is to show it. That’s why we love using video, and lots of simple images and easy-to-understand animations, for our learners.

Video can bridge gaps in language and ensure that if the learner doesn’t understand the wording, they can fall back onto the visuals. It’s simple, if you’re discussing an object, show it. If you’re trying to explain a difficult process, use flow charts and infographics to represent it visually.

These are just some of the guidelines that we use every day to ensure that any lessons we create are well positioned to ensure our learners keep learning. The bottom line is that for any e-Learning solution to be successful, it has to be based on knowing our learners. That’s why we strongly believe that every lesson begins with the question: ‘Who is my learner?’

Exercising English for Generation Z

Remote teaching has pushed teachers out of their comfort zones and while keeping learners engaged might seem tricky, Exercising English for Generation Z provides you with an effortless solution to continue to:

  • teach remotely
  • assess learners remotely
  • engage learners remotely
  • integrate in-person teaching with remote learning

This unique English language and grammar series offered by Macmillan Education includes core exercise books for Grades 7 to 12 and access to an online component to enhance remote learning.

To learn more, click here.

Macmillan 10 June 2020 2

The Oxford English Dictionary is 90 years old

Contributed by the Oxford English Dictionary team.

Be part of our celebrations, starting with a new word appeal: ‘Words Where You Are’

Over the next twelve months, we will be marking the Oxford English Dictionary’s 90th birthday with a host of exciting initiatives.  A wealth of information celebrating the past, present, and future of one of the largest dictionaries in the world can be found at our OED90 website.

Oxford English Dictionary word appeal – Words Where You Are

For state capture, tenderpreneur and expropriation without compensation to pop up in conversation, you probably need to have frequented the South African political landscape of the recent past. South Africa’s rich cultural diversity has, however, birthed a long history of amalgamations and borrowed words from all 11 official languages, and then some.

Where else but in our beloved country would tsotsis who hide out in dongas and smoke dagga make you sommer deurmekaar, would you be served sosaties and boerewors at a braai, or stop at a robot on your way to get your papsak from the local shebeen to help swallow your walkie talkies and slap chips? Lekker, bru.

It’s likely all of us can recall a moment when a word we’ve known and have been using for years at home turns out to be completely baffling to people from another English-speaking region.  While many such words are common in speech, some are rarely written down and therefore can easily escape the attention of dictionary editors.

The OED is trying to create the most comprehensive, accurate, and up to date picture of how and where these words are used, and we need your help.  So, wherever you are, we want to hear about words and expressions that are distinctive to where you live or where you are from.  Send them to our website or join the conversation on Twitter at #wordswhereyouare.

Michael Proffitt, Chief Editor of the OED, says “The OED’s comprehensive record of the English language is also an index of sorts to people’s tireless creativity and diversity over many centuries. Regional words are among the most distinctive, inventive, and evocative in the language. They can create a sense of belonging – of childhood, family, or home – or a sense of difference.  Because many regional words occur in speech more than in writing, they don’t always get the recognition they deserve in dictionaries.

“Tell us about the words you think are specific to your part of the world, and help us improve the dictionary’s description of English where you are.”

Phillip Louw, Dictionary Content Development Manager at OUP South Africa said that through detailed analysis of large text collections, “Oxford’s dictionary-makers have kept an eagle eye on South African English as it’s used in a variety of genres – fiction, non-fiction, newspapers, magazines, blogs, etc. The OED’s initiative gives us a chance to find those hidden gems that are part of everyday conversations: from braais, to lekgotlas, to after (tears) parties. It’s a chance for South Africans to showcase the wit and linguistic innovation we use to make sense of our shared reality.”