German Language Courseware Development Needs Analysis

I. Needs Analysis

A. Goals of the system

  1. Learners will be able to comprehend written and spoken German. (standard)
  2. Learners will be able to express basic needs in German.
  3. Learners will be able to describe general characteristics of:
      1. people and things
      2. directions
      3. time, currency, number (cardinal and ordinal)

4. Learners will comprehend and master essential structures of grammar:

    1. word order
    2. case and gender agreement
    3. subject and verb agreement.

B. Determination of how well goals are already being achieved.

  1. Government census figures show how many people speak more than one language and which languages are spoken.
  2. Survey of enrolled students shows which have had prior language learning experience.
  3. Placement tests determine enrollment level.
C. Gaps between 'what is' and 'what should be'.
  1. American citizens are largely monolingual. Citizens of most other countries are not. Monolingualism is not an asset.
  2. Although the presence of Spanish is increasingly altering facets of #l, the German language is becoming one of the less commonly learned second languages in the United States.
  3. While English has always been considered the most commonly learned second language, that is true only for the western hemisphere. German is actually the most common second language leamed in the eastern hemisphere.
  4. The countries of the former East Bloc use German as the current primary language of trade, much in the way English has been the language of business for western nations.
  5. Since WWII, German has been the language used for diplomacy in countries of the former East Bloc. (Including Hungary and Yugoslavia).
  6. American students should be encouraged to increase their linguistic abilities in terms of second language skills in general.
  7. American students should not remain at a communicative disadvantage in the global fields of business and diplomacy.

D. Prioritize gaps according to agreed-upon criteria.

E. Gaps which represent instructional needs.

  1. (#1) Instruction can counter monolingualism by imparting the means and the methods for deciphering the German language.
  2. (#6) Instruction can encourage learners' efforts to increase linguistic abilities.
  3. (#7) Specific language instruction can provide means to achieve communicative advantages in the fields of business and diplomacy.  

II. Analyzing the Learning Environment.

A. Who are the teachers?

  1. In one scenario, the teachers are either native speakers or near native speakers of the German language who are also trained in foreign language pedagogy and methodology
  2. In a second scenario, the teachers speak little or no German but they are trained in general foreign language pedagogy and are trained as facilitators of serf-scheduled learning. (eg. CALL, Intemet, serf-study, etc.)
  3. In a third scenario, there are no teachers, only self-directed learners.
B. How does proposed intruction fit into existing curricula?
  1. Existing curricula already contain course outlines and materials specific to the teaching of German: grammar and communicative proficiency.
  2. Mode and mandate (see 1996 FCC Telecommunications Act) have begun to outfit centers of learning with technological advancements that bolster the need for sound technology based instructional systems.
  3. Home based personal computing systems are rapidly creating a commercial market for foreign language courseware - logic demands that at least some of this commercial courseware be based upon sound instructional design.
C. Media requirements of the learning environment.
    1. Communicative based classrooms benefit from supplemental grammar instruction - imparted, illustrated and drilled through multi-media.
    2. High technology language labs funded by special grants and allotments must be accompanied by appropriate, quality software to prevent such expenditures from going the way of "the lastest trick down the pike".
    3. Home based self-study language programs offer the most effecient learning experiences when full multi-media are employed. Video and audio provide realistic input and interactivity provides practice and negotiation of meaning.
    4. Other technological features provide extraordinary advantages for language leaming that were previously possible only through prolonged exposure to the target language in the setting of complete immersion.

D. What hardware / software is available?

    1. Video (eg. scenes of dialogue situated "on location")
    2. Audio (eg. dialect and accent samples, aurally enhanced text)
    3. Graphics (eg. scanned realia)
    4. Animations (eg. illustrations of grammatical principles)
    5. Interactivity (eg. learner participation in video-taped dialogues)
    6. Telecommunications (eg. keypals, collaborative on-line storywriting)
    7. Intemet (eg. exercises involving websites of German language origin)
    8. File storage (eg. complex continuing collaborative projects)

E. Facilities available for delivery?

    1. Up-to-date language lab equiped to handle the requirements of current edition software, licensed for a class of 30.
    2. Single computer and LCD overhead.
    3. Single computer and Internet access.
    4. Colored chalk.
    5. White chalk
    6. Student owned home-based personal computers with Internet access.
    7. On Campus access to PC/Mac w/Internet access.
    8. Licenses to use pre-existing software for German language instruction.

F. How will proposed instruction be received by the people involved?

  1. Generally with excitement and high expectations.
  2. Temporarily with trepidation by those who are inexperienced.

III. Assessing the Target Audience

A. Cognitive Characteristics: Aptitude:

    1. Widely varied.
    2. Reading level: moderate to high
    3. Visual literacy: ?
    4. Prior Knowledge: low to none, (other L2 possible)

B. Physiological Characteristics:

    1. Health: 5 senses operational
    2. Age: 18 + (most considerations are applicable to learners as young as 6 years old.)
    3. Gender: yes

C. Affective Characteristics:

    1. Interests: Widely varied, typically business, communications, musicology, art history, political science.
    2. Motivation: Ranging from personal positive to mandatory negative.
    3. Anxiety: Ranging from intensly fearful, through medium shyness to eager extroversion.
    4. Attitude toward learning: From obstinant to exhuberant.

D. Social Characteristics:

    1. Racial / Ethnic: predominately southern
    2. Relation to peers: cooperative
    3. Feelings toward authority: moderate to respectful

E. Design Implications of Target Audience Assessment:

    1. Attain and hold student interest to maintain maximum motivation.
    2. Provide ample opportunities for feelings of accomplishment.
    3. Offer as wide a range as possible of teaching styles to address variable learning styles and language aptitudes.

IV. Objectives:

  1. (A) Leamers will be able to comprehend and (B) respond to natural conversations (C) practiced in the target language spontaneously and in (D) formal assessment situations.
  2. Learners will comprehend and develop an intrinsic knowledge of the nature of German syntax, case, tense and morphology.
  3. Learners will be able to apply idiomtic structures and grammatical principles to novel elements in order to form correct and logical language.
  4. Leamers will progress toward a lower barrier to listening comprehension of foreign languages in general and to German in particular.
  5. Learners will develop enough of a knowledge base and confidence level to attempt conversation with native speakers of German in actual, non-academic situations.  
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