A Problem Based Approach to Language Learning

Problem-based learning is one of the most important strategies when it comes to acquiring any type of skill. Thrust in such a situation, people are able to integrate abstract concepts and apply them in the real world.

While it may not look like it at first glance, problem-based approaches also work very well in language learning. Over the years, in fact, I have found many tools that use this particular strategy to help students acquire specific language abilities.

Check out any of the top language acquisition software and look at the set of exercises they task students to do. More often than not, those are based on a problem solving approach to learning. Using what you've learned from the previous lessons, you are provided specific challenges that you can overcome by applying them.

When using this approach, you go beyond taking in concepts and ideas. Instead of simply committing them to memory, you are put in a situation where you have to use them to arrive at a result. Compared to merely sitting down to listen to lectures or read lessons, employing them creatively makes for a more complete learning experience.

You can think of the problem-based strategy as a partial form of immersion. Just like finding yourself amidst a crowd of native speakers, forced to use the language to communicate, this approach puts you in a position where you will need to apply what you learned. There is less pressure involved, of course, but the result could be just as effective.

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