Creative Ways to Use FSI

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Re: Creative Ways to Use FSI

Postby hulk___smash » Sat Apr 23, 2016 10:08 pm

Hi Paul,

I agree, the courses can be very boring.

Once I have them digitized in my system, I can do pretty much what I want with them. I can turn them into games or quizzes, or just look for ways in which to improve the way we interact with the material. I could make it more social, or gamify it like Duolingo has done.

I'm constantly thinking of better ways to play with this material and kindly invite ideas from this forum's members.
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Re: Creative Ways to Use FSI

Postby Stefan » Sat Jul 30, 2016 7:44 am

How's this project coming along Darren?

One "simple" thing you could do to improve the course is to break it down by sections and not only units. I need to go through the drills multiple times but don't want the notes on pronunciation more than once. But since it's on the same tape as the drills, I have to listen through or jump to the right location. By having a link to "substitution drill", "translation drill", "dialog", etc. - it would get rid of some frustration.

Create repetition: After we complete part of a course and move on, we tend to forget what we've previously learned. By using flashcards (rate 1 to 3) with all the previous drills, you can repeat without having to go through all the units again. If possible, it would be great with some kind of user system that remembers the questions you had problem with and repeat them more often. Something like spaced repetition. I would also love some stats and graphs on how many of them you know by heart.

Don't force the user to go through all the units step by step. A lot of people are practicing by their own and might want to jump in on unit 12-13 without having to go through all the previous units again. Maybe some kind of setting in the user profile where you can mark off all the units you've previously done. Then you're also increasing the chance of "pdf students" jumping in and digitalising one of the last units if they can use the system (flashcards) to repeat what they learned on their own.

Digitalisation: Wouldn't it be possible to crowdsource this? I've participated in translation projects where selected members could log in and translate as many sentences as they wanted. Since people are going through the course anyway, it's not unreasonable to think that every person could copy-paste one unit from the pdf to the site if you've got a good input system. It's in their own interest, so to say, if they want to continue to practice on the site instead of using mp3 and pdf. Your main obstacle is to actually make it worthwhile or they might as well spend the time adding the drills to Anki or something similar.
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Re: Creative Ways to Use FSI

Postby luke » Thu Apr 22, 2021 7:39 pm

Most familiar with FSI Basic Spanish...

Pulling out just the dialogues creates a "track" to get an overview of the vocabulary and story.

Pulling out a certain type of drill, like "replacement" drills could be useful if the student is ready for the "easier" type of drills that a grammar point uses.

The Spanish course also has a set of narratives/dialogues besides the main one for the unit. These give additional detail to the story. Would be neat if these were woven in to make more of a straight story, rather than the telenovela where the student has to keep coming back to the next unit to get the next part of the story.

There is an Anki deck for FSI Basic Spanish volumes 1-4 on the ankiweb site:

I think the deck is very helpful. Doesn't include everything, such as the dialogs, but it is fun to use.
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Re: Creative Ways to Use FSI

Postby RyanSmallwood » Thu Apr 29, 2021 1:03 pm

I saw some earlier mentions of using Truncate Silence in audacity to go through drills quicker as well others reformatting course dialogs to be used more like Assimil, but a specific modification I've found really helpful is truncating the silences so there's no pauses and using both the dialogs and the drills as a pure stream of input for comprehension. Especially when learning more distant languages it really helps grammatical structures click more intuitively, and I find that a lot of comprehensible courses like Assimil just don't come anywhere close to the amount of beginner-level input you need for efficient learning.

Of course you can still do the drills if you want to test yourself, though iirc some studies have shown that over-drilling is not the most effective way to learn, so doing some passive waves to absorb the grammar first might help learn whether you're just trying to understand or also work on output. This method has bumped FSI way up to one of my favorite learning resources. Of course if you can more modern materials that are extensive and compelling, those will be more fun. But FSI is still a really strong backup option whenever you get stuck, and I also find the phonology drills included in most courses to be really unique and valuable regardless of the language.
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