Mohsen Mahdavi-Hezaveh, Duke University
In this paper I discuss the methodology, design, and development of an intermediary computer courseware package on CD-ROM for a right to left language (Persian). The WinCALIS system (authoring and viewer software plus CALIS language) is employed in developing this product. The product takes advantage of all features of the WinCALIS system to present an easy to use, mouse driven, navigational, multimedia, interactive courseware in the Microsoft Windows 3.1 environment. A demonstration of this courseware is provided with the CD-ROM version of this paper.
Performance Oriented Training (POT) places the student in the active role of learning by doing. It requires that s/he meet the training standards with 100% accuracy.
When determining the best (or combination) of methods of instruction, one has to consider how students learn, the nature of the subject of matter, student ability and background, instructor ability, and background and resources (time, facilities, etc.).
Performance Oriented Training (POT) is the best method to use when tasking psychomotor (hands on) skills are required of the trainee.
The stringent criteria of performance training can only be met through the diligent application on the part of the instructor on the following Principles of Performance Training:
Performance Oriented training is conducted in four phases: Prepare, Present, Practice, Perform.
In the Prepare phase, the instructor prepares the class by stating the objective (task, condition, standard, the reasons [why he is learning the task], any cautions [personnel and equipment safety]), and offers a pretest.
The Present phase consists of three distinct steps: demonstration, walk through, and talk through. The demonstration is less than 60 seconds long. It is done at normal speed without talking during the demonstration. The instructor also may opt to only show the finished product. During the walk through, the instructor tells the students what the task step is, shows them how to do it, and then has them do the same step. This continues step by step until the task is complete. The only difference between a talk through and a walk through is that the visual stimulus (showing how) is removed while conducting a talk through. Remember, coaching is required throughout these three steps. When conducting a walk through, use the following principles:
During the Practice phase, the student is given time to practice the task at his own pace. This allows them to build confidence in their ability to accomplish the task. Remember to coach when necessary, and if you must correct student performance, have them redo the step to show you that they can do the step themselves.
The final phase is the Perform phase. Here the student is tested to determine if he can perform the task to standard under the specified conditions. This is accomplished by following these guidelines:
Ensure the equipment and materials are set up or arranged as specified in the testing and are in the required testing location.
Always read the instructions to each student in the same way and in the same tone of voice. Be sure each student understands the instructions.
Figure 1 illustrates the described methodology.
The lessons in this project have been designed with the above mentioned methodology in mind. If we assign the levels 0 to 5 to no language knowledge to very good, then these lessons have been designed to improve the language knowledge of the students from 2+ to 3 and 3+. There are one or two lessons whose levels reach 4 and is intended to be used at the end of this computer courseware.
The lessons have been designed in such a way that students with levels 1 or 1+ also can benefit from parts of each lessons. For this purpose they have to follow the directions provided in the introduction. Since the emphasis of this courseware is on listening comprehension, the design of the lessons does not involve student in too much reading or writing. The subjects of the videos which are the same as the lesson subjects are all varieties of topics which familiarize the student with different situations and present them with the vocabulary and phrases needed for those situations.
The subjects have been chosen from the news reports on TV and the selections are done in such a way to cover timeless contents and texts so that the materials presented will be relevant in the future and the courseware would be useful in years to come. The subjects cover:
Since an important part of learning a language is a knowledge of the culture of the people speaking the language, many cultural aspects of the country are presented in branches and are accompanied by music, scenery, painting, and poetry.
Sometimes these features instead of being in a branch, are presented parallel to the lesson in buttons that the student can click. These features are all options and are left to student curiosity and his/her pleasure of the discovery. Overall the package is a very attractive and appealing adventure and the student will not be bored by going to a dry lesson. Since the project is listening comprehension, in the cultural parts many music icons are available to sharpen the ears of the student and put him/her in mood of the people speaking the language.
The elements contained in a screen presenting a task for student or providing just plain information to the student can be any of the following items:
The text element is a Unicode text in any language of the world. In this presentation English (left to right), Persian (right to left), and occasionally Arabic (right to left) is demonstrated.
Graphics can be included in variety of modes either as plain graphics for presenting some visual information or as a hot spots leading to very different actions. The actions in this project usually are the following:
The third element is a plain audio clip that can be heard while entering the task screen which controlled by an MCI control bar or it could be on the screen through the intermediary of any of the hot spot icons described in Figure 3 or the buttons.
The fourth element on the screen can be a video clip that can be presented to the user while entering the task screen and it is controlled by an MCI control bar or it could be on the screen through the intermediary of any of the hot spot icon branches described in Figure 3 or the buttons.
The following are three examples of three screens containing the above mentioned elements with their sub elements. Figure 2 shows the elements and the subelements of an screen. Note that any of the subelements in Figure 1 can lead to a new screen with similar hierarchy of the screen in the figure.
Figure 3 shows a typical screen containing the elements Unicode text, Digitized Video, Graphics of different types (one for clicking to answer the question, two hot spot icons for transition to next or previous tasks, another one being an audio icon leading to a branch and new screens, a multimedia MCI Control Bar, a button containing a map accompanied by music and text).
Figure 4 shows another typical screen containing the elements Unicode text (right to left Persian text being hot spots for mouse clicking), Digitized Video, Graphics of different types (two hot spot icons for transition to next or previous tasks, another one being an audio icon leading to a branch and new screens, a multimedia MCI Control Bar, a button containing the translation of the text into English).
Figure 5 shows another typical screen from one on the branches in the main lesson containing the elements Unicode text in Persian and (right to left Persian text being hot spots for mouse clicking containing audio with explanatory text in Persian and English), Graphics of different types (two hot spot icons for transition to next or previous tasks, another one being an audio icon exiting from the branch to the main lesson, two buttons containing the translation of the text into English and the audio of the Persian text shown on the screen.).
Figure 6 shows another typical screen from one on the branches in the main lesson containing the elements Unicode text (mixed left to right and right to left text) and (right to left Persian text being hot spots for mouse clicking containing audio with explanatory text in Persian and English and one is shown with the word Friday written on what in WinCALIS viewer terminology is called a feedback window.), Graphics of different types (two hot spot icons for transition to next or previous tasks, another one being an audio icon exiting from the branch to the main lesson).
This multimedia computer courseware has been developed using the WinCALIS system. The WinCALIS system consists of three components: The WinCALIS Author, CALIS language, and WinCALIS Viewer.
This component of the WinCALIS system is used by authors or teachers to create lessons or course materials or any other material in any field for presentation in a computer environment or electronic form. It is a powerful authorware, built with a Unicode text editor as its foundation and has editing and processing capabilities for all the languages of the world. The WinCALIS Author automatically inserts all the elements of multimedia such as graphics, audio, and video inside the script for the user to use. It has a multimedia editor and a Unicode multilingual printer (for both true type and bitmap fonts) as its back bone components.
The WinCALIS Author is a user friendly system with the ability to generate a variety of tasks automatically using a script written in CALIS (Computer Assisted Language Instruction System) authoring language. Most of the features and tools needed by users are automatized and the advanced user can use the CALIS language commands in the Author to enhance and refine his/her creation and shape it into a professional, powerful application or courseware, in our case. The product of the WinCALIS Author is a script that is viewed by student or a general user using WinCALIS Viewer (or interpreter). The script can also be further modified manually in the editor for more complex and sophisticated products. In our implementation of this project we have developed 95% of the work using the Author and for the remaining 5% we have employed the second component of our system which is the CALIS language.
CALIS (Computer Assisted Language Instruction System) language is a high level computer language designed for teaching languages in an easy to grasp program for teachers who don't have any computer background. They only need an editor to type with a basic knowledge of how the commands are interpreted into a nice final product. They need only visualize their ideas to screen format with some utilities especially designed for techniques of teaching and learning languages in mind. The scripts written in this language are interpreted and viewed using the WinCALIS Viewer (interpreter).
WinCALIS Viewer (interpreter) is the third component of the WinCALIS system. It is a user friendly piece of software designed to interpret the CALIS script and create the visual effects (including multimedia effects: audio, video, graphics, text, etc.) and language processing tricks that have been conceived in the CALIS language. This system also utilizes a Unicode editor for its text processing in all languages of the world.
All the above components have been developed at Duke University and have been ongoing projects developed for different software and hardware environments of PCs for over ten years. They are also open ended evolving projects and have absorbed many common techniques and expertise in various disciplines and will include more features and techniques in authoring, viewing, and other visual effects.
The 15 lessons on the CD-ROM have been regarded as an appealing and attractive package by the people who have been viewing them during the development and those who have reviewed the final package. This is a promising way of producing computer courseware comprising all the media known (hardware and software) in computer technology so far, and it has its own comfortable and fitting role in the age of the information superhighway.
Mohsen Mahdavi-Hezaveh (M.S., Electrical Engineering; M.A. Computer Science) is Associate in Research at the Humanities Computing Facility at Duke University.
c/o Humanities Computing Laboratory
E-mail: Mohsen Mahdavi-Hezaveh c/o firstname.lastname@example.org