Self-paced language learning

Philip J. Kerr, Adaptive Learning in ELT, Mar 28, 2017
Commentary by Stephen Downes

The point of departure for this post is self-paced language learning using Duolingo, but it quickly moves into a fascinating history of self-paced learning generally. Efforts began in the 1800s with the massification of learning, and very quickly self-paced was associated with personalized learning as designers attempted to adapt their designs to the different abilities of students. Another early feature of self-paced learning was the student-teacher learning contract. Self-paced learning flourished in the 1970s with programmed learning, an offshoot of behaviourism, and the cycle began again. For all that work, the results have been less than impressive. "Over forty years ago, a review of self-paced learning concluded that the evidence on its benefits was inconclusive (Allison, 1975: 5). Nothing has changed since."

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