One of the things that i have been pondering for a very long time is the mechanics of Rosetta Stone. I have Rosetta Stone spanish and have to say that it is one of the most amazing things that i have seen. I myself have a great memory and have never had much of a problem learning languages, but the way in which i learn is very boring and repetitive. I will write the same thing over and over and over again until i remember it, then i will translate it back and forth multiple times until it sticks. This has allowed me to get as far as i have.
Then i got Rosetta Stone and tried it out myself. It was so much easier and more enjoyable than me staring blankly into a text book. And in many cases it was a lot more powerful. The basic structure of the learning is very similar to what i am doing myself, repetition. However Rosetta stone beats me in that it asks you to read it, write it, say it and hear it. These are not things that i could afford to do on my own. Having a language partner is great but a language partner also means that you need to have a conversation. This is where Rosetta Stone is handy. However that is not the part that amazes me. If it was only those aspects, then most foreign language programs would be much more successful. What was most interesting was the process of deductive learning. In learning spanish i was never taught in english, the entire process of teaching happens in spanish which is already a beautiful level of immersion. But even then, you are never told what something is but rather you deduce it. You are shown a picture of a boy and the computer reads to you “el nino”, then you are shown a picture of a girl and you are read “la nina”. In both those cases i was never told the words boy and girl rather i deduced it from what i felt was the obvious, i knew that was a picture of a boy and that was a picture of a girl. This caused me to trust my own judgment and make a decision based off of my own life experience. Then i am shown a picture of a boy drinking and i am read “el nino bebe”, then i am shown a picture of a girl eating and am told “la nina come”. The following picture is a boy eating and it says “El nino come” and then a girl drinking and it says “La nina bebe” From having these four pictures side by side i understand the words eat and drink for many reasons, the first is because i already know boy and girl, the next is because i can then deduce what the word for drink is and what the word for eat is by looking at the actions of the boys and girls in the pictures.
This kind of learning, which is a kind that is making me teach myself through my own natural process of deduction is both engaging as well as challenging. Add in to all of this Rosettas stones consistent repetition and lack of harsh penalization for wrong answers, takes away a fear of failure which encourages me to learn from my mistakes, something that is missing in most standardized education systems.Read More