Progress (Beta)

July 31, 2010, 08:17 PM posted in General Discussion

In an idle moment I clicked on the progress tab and found the table below:

Newbie: 6/50 Lessons 12% of recommended number
Elementary: 27/80 Lessons 33.8% of recommended number
Intermediate: 255/120 Lessons 212.5% of recommended number
Upper Intermediate: 191/160 Lessons 119.4% of recommended number
Advanced: 217/120 Lessons 180.8% of recommended number
Media: 18/80 Lessons 22.5% of recommended number

It raises a number of questions.  Some trivial and others related to what is the philosophy for how Cpod should be used?

Trivial: Why don't the numbers match what is in my archive?  How are they being recorded?

Cpod philosophy of usage: What is it suggesting that I do?  Should I focus on Media lessons until I get to 80 and then stop using Cpod?   Should I top up on newbie lessons?  ;=)  Once I have studied the recommended number of lessons at a given level, what proficiency should I expect to have?

[I can converse well enough for routine daily activities, but still get quickly lost in more abstract discussions.]


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August 01, 2010, 02:43 AM

FWIW, I didn't raise all your good questions around the beta, but I and a couple of others had thoughts around the lesson progress beta.  I suggested making some changes so that it would make modifying the lesson progress tool easier. I think either Catherine or Suxiaoya responded by saying that cpod Cpod is rethinking this entire lesson beta.

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August 03, 2010, 03:31 AM

I just returned home from four weeks in Beijing.  Weekday mornings, I had classes in Chinese.  The rest of the time, I went site seeing and tried to interact with locals and our hosts as much as possible.  My goal was to see if four weeks of emersion in Chinese would lead to a break-through in my Chinese, or would improve my fluency.  Here-to-fore, I have relied on Cpod and digital media to simulate a Chinese environment.

My tentative conclusion is that, for someone who actually wants to become fluent, the digital world isn't quite up to snuff, yet.

This is appropos of my questions about the "Progress(Beta)", because I want to know Cpod's usage recommendation for someone who wants to get from, say upper intermediate, to completely fluent.  Is Cpod a supplement?  Can it be a mainstay?  Is it intended to support that goal?  Is it time to move on to other sources?


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I think the point of the beta was to get enough live feedback from users to calibrate the tool against real world results. So far, there hasn't been enough user feedback to address this IMHO. But some of the feedback that has been provided to Cpod hasn't been incorporated. I don't know where Cpod is on actually acting on feedback that's been provided.

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To my mind, the progress tab was a representation by Cpod staff of how they conceptualize a user's progress through Cpod. As such, it suffers some lack of clear articulation. However, I also want to dig into how they think about how far along the path to fluency they hope to be able to take us.

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How did you get along with your Chinese? I'd be interested to hear a bit more.

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I don't have as much time for Chinese as before but as a minimum I try to follow the CPod lessons. I don't expect any source to bring me to full fluency - only a 360-degree-immersion can do that.

I recently experienced at several occations how real-life interacting in Chinese brings back all sorts of chunks from already forgotten CPod lessons.

The Cpod material fills a giant attic in the back of my brain where all sorts of tools are stored. Since I didn't clean it up regularly it is sometimes hard to instantly find the tool of choice though. And some tools have gotten a little rusty.

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My linguistics lecturer told me the break through usually happens after 3 months of immersion, so maybe see if it's possible to stay longer next time. And apparently comfortable fluency takes around 3 years.

From my experience, I find that going to the country that speaks the language you are learning helps bring back words that you never thought you would remember. I studied a little bit of Chinese in 2005 from my friend's Mum for about 6 months and then didn't think about Chinese at all until I went to Beijing in 2008. I found myself remembering all this vocabulary that I never ever would have thought that I would remember.

To me, Chinsepod gives me the words and structures that will hopefully slot into place next time I travel to China. It also gives you the little nitty gritty vocabulary that would never think of learning, but is important to know.

My Chinese teacher came to New Zealand in 2001 and she said she was really quiet for the first few years. One day her English just suddenly clicked and it just slotted into true fluency and now her English is really good. I've also experience these breakthroughs with instrument learning as well.

I hope these few examples explain my view point haha. It just goes to show that learning a language is a long process but very rewarding and also that good things take time.

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I thought one month in China was productive in regard to my study of Chinese. ( I also enjoyed the experience immensely.) I don't think I expanded my vocabulary or grammar much, but the constant practice made me consolidate what I already knew. The result is I am pretty comfortable conversing in Chinese now, where before there was a lot more think time about what words to use, etc.