The ingredients of learning: interaction, immersion and instruction
A white paper which illustrates in detail the key pedagogical learning principles of Velawoods English can be downloaded here . A brief summary of this document follows.
The syllabus of Velawoods English is tried, tested and built on objectives linked to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. The vocabulary syllabus was informed by English Vocabulary Profile, a major research project mapping how learners learn vocabulary at different CEFR levels. The language you learn in Velawoods English is manageable, useful, logically sequenced and appropriate for your level.
Second language acquisition theory
Academics such as Krashen (1982) have highlighted conditions that are of central importance in order to successfully learn a second language. Based on these conditions, Velawoods English ensures that the learner:
- understands most of the language in the learning environment, but is challenged by an appropriate amount of new language,
- is well supported in using his or her own knowledge and skills to understand the meaning of new vocabulary and structures,
- feels comfortable and relaxed so that there are no barriers to the effective acquisition of new language.
A communicative approach
Velawoods English enables you to experience and actively notice new language in its natural everyday setting. You are guided to understand the meaning of this new language via a series of level-appropriate activities, before later using it in conversation. A successful communicative approach
- emphasises the communication of meaningو
- focuses on grammatical forms where necessary to clarify meaningو
- uses the power of context to make linguistic input simple and comprehensible.
Moreover, Velawoods English ensures that all four language skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) are developed and integrated through the achievement of communicative goals, as they are in real life (Nunan, 1989).
Interaction, immersion and instruction
Research shows that successful learning is often collaborative and operates within a social context; you can learn more with the support of others around you than you can on your own. This social context is central to the language-learning process (Kaufman, 2004).
Velawoods English provides such a stimulating social context. Its immersive environment offers a genuine, immediate need to learn the language and encourages motivation and progress. You experience this combination of immersion and instruction through interaction with a range of virtual characters and through the guidance of a virtual tutor. This tutor supportively explains new language and enables you to use it in real-life situations.
Feedback and assessment
As you progress through Velawoods English, you receive Achievement Awards. These detail your progress in all language areas and direct you to tailored recycling activities where necessary. There is a short test after each Scenario, a skills-based assessment at the end of each Course, and a full test at the end of each level. The Scenario and end-of-course tests have been vetted by Cambridge English Language Assessment, and the end-of-level tests have been created and validated by Cambridge English Language Assessment.