Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Love Chocolate Love Learning Vocabulary !

Learning Chocolate is a free vocabulary learning platform which makes learning vocabulary as enjoyable as eating a bar of chocolate! 

  • How does it work?
Firstly, when you open the web page of Learning Chocolate, the vocabulary learning journey can be started by choosing the language you prefer to use when learning the target language.

 Learning Chocolate categorises the vocabulay into different groups according to the word meaning. You can choose any of them by a simple click, and then there will appear the list of new words with picture demonstration and the pronunciation aids. They are just working as online word cards.

In addition, the website provides the learners with various learning activites for practice and review, such as match up (matching up the pronunciation and the spelling; matching up the spelling and the picture; matching up the pronunciation and the picture), fill in (spelling activities with picture cues), and dictation.

  • The reasons for choosing Learning Chocolate
1)  Choosing language:
     The learners are provided the opportunities to choose their instrumental language (either their mother tongue or the target language itself) when learning the vocabulary. It is obviously rather practical and effective for the beginners to use the language they have acquired to learn a new language. On the other hand, for the learners who have already get some knowledge of the target language, it is very beneficial to expose them to the target language and get the input as much as possible.

2)  Learning the vocabulary in groups
     From the cognitive perspective, categorising the vocabulary in certain groups can improve the efficiency of the memorisation and acquisition. To be specific, the words within a group are associated with each other in terms of the lexical  meaning as well as the using context, thus the words put together are sensible enough to the learners and easier to memorise.

     Also, by grouping the vocabuary, Learning Chocolate is showing a possible example of 'word cards' for the learners themselves to make their own word cards or word notebooks  .

3)  Easy access to the word pronunciation
     The learners can constanctly check the pronunciation of the word, if they like, by simply clicking the speaker button. It is efficient and good for the accuracy of learning.

4)  Visual aids
     Generally, the whole website of Learning Chocolate is colorful and attractive. It boosts the learners' motivation of using this website and learning the vocabulary with it, especially for those young learners.

      More importantly, the vocabulary is demonstrated with nice pictures, which is undoubtedly one of the most effective ways to explain the meaning of a word.

5) Various follow-up activities for practice and revision
    It is far from enough of just showing and illustrating the vocabulary to learners to achieve the final acquisition. Learning Chocolate's learning activities involve the learners to practise the new words frequently with aspects of spelling, pronunciation and word meaning. By this means, the learners' understanding and memorisation of the words are reinforced.

    In terms of learning autonomy, the follow-up activities can serve as the self-test materials for the learners, which is also a good way to monitor their own learning of new words.

  • Limitations ?
    Despite that the website is free for use, it has some advertisement on the pages, which could be confusing and distractive sometimes.

      The rang of the listed vocabulary is limited. To be clear, the vocabuary that suitable for visual demanstration tend to me concrete things in the world rather than those conveying abstract meanings, since they hardly have physical referents in real world.
  • Suggestions for Teachers
      The teachers are advised to use Learning Chocolate  as a suplement when teaching vocabulary.

      In the class, the teacher can use it as a warming-up activity to review the vocabulary that has been covered in the previous class. Also, it is brilliant to use it to introduce the new vocabulary.

      In addition, the teacher can recommend the students to use this website as voluntary homework in case some students want to learn and practise more after the class.

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