Keys-by-TEARN mobile platform
Diary of a passionate, tech Dad
from TEARN i.e. teach to learn


Jan 8, 2011

Rhymes - the Holistic System for Learning Using Phonics and Rhythm

This new series of five apps supplies over 500 words. The goal is two fold: 1) to help adults learn English as a second language, and 2) for children to remember simple words.

Explicit Versus Holistic Learning

Modern education in the United States has moved toward explicit instructions for every step of learning. This makes no sense - as evidenced by the higher costs for education and lower achievements when compared to world standards over the past 40 years. The public school goal of learning 10 to 20 words in six weeks of elementary school is just one symptom of the problem. Explicit instructions complicate without measured benefits to the learner. Have we become so focused on the teaching metrics - at the huge cost to true learning?
  • Explicit instructions require users to read complex rules and memorize them. If you're still learning the words, isn't this an example of the recursion problem?
  • English rules are full of exceptions to the exceptions. Why do kids feel dumb at such an early age?
The holistic approach emphasizes the natural ability of human minds to identify patterns, create implicit rules, and remember hundreds of words - without reading and memorizing the rules. Remember that children can pronounce and memorize 500 Pokemon names - even when most of the words are multi-syllabic. This applies to both children and learning a second language as an adult.

The positive attitude toward learning becomes a life-time goal.

Rhyming Goals

The Rhymes Apps has been designed to aid spelling, pronunciation, and memorization of basic words.
  • The core of the English language is 5 vowels: a, e, i, o, u.
  • Each vowel has a long and short sound.
  • Hundreds of exceptions complicate learning.
Our holistic approach groups words by vowel and rhyme. We depend on users recognizing one or two words in a group to naturally learn the spelling, pronunciation, and exception handling for each list of words. Thus, users learn without memorizing hundreds of explicit rules.

I'm always amazed that children can remember the lyrics of a song, so easily. It is our belief that the rhymes aid memorization.

Instructions for Learners

Students should be shown the following aspects of using Keys:
  • Tapping a button to select an activity.
  • Tapping the left flow-selector (ie green arrow) to select words.
  • Flipping the page using sideways flicks.
For explicit instructions to these intuitive steps, tap here. ;-)

Try the apps. Enjoy!

Here is our collection of the English series:

One Million Downloads

PS: It's official. This week, we broke over one million downloads. We expect to gain the second million in Q1. Thank you.

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