The MP 3 revolution

MP3 files and the portable MP3 player represent a revolution in language learning and learning generally. This is not yet fully understood.

The best investment any learner can make is in an MP3 player. This makes it possible to accumulate lots of content for regular listening whenever and wherever you want. The range of content that is available is constantly expanding. Some universities are now posting courses on web sites for download by students.

So far much of the effort towards MP3 learning seems directed towards combining audio and video. I believe this is wrong. The advantage of MP3 players is their portability. You can listen while doing other things. You can multi-task. You do not need to look at a professor on a small screen to understand what he/she is saying. If you do look at a video you are stuck. You cannot jog and watch a video, wash dishes and watch a video, drive a car and watch a video. You are stuck! You might as well be in a classroom.

The advantage of the MP3 player is that it takes you out of the classroom. The logical complement to the MP3 player is e-text, not video. With e-text you can search for explanations, connect to dictionnaries, connect to forums of other learners, build up personal databases of words, phrases, concepts and contexts, and much more. You can also print when you want. Then you just go back o listening, typically more than once.

That is the core concept of The Linguist. Flexibility, portability, intensity, learner responsibility; these are the keys to life-long learning in the 21st century. Long live the MP3 revolution and watch it grow!

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