What is a "skill" in Stackz?
To learn a foreign language is a tough job. Several skills are necessary to build up the proficiency. For example, the translation direction is essential - translating a word from one's native language to the foreign language is very different from translating it in the other direction. Speaking the foreign language is also a very different skill than passive understanding. Further, orthography is added when it comes to textual representation of the language.
With Asian languages such as Japanese and Chinese the difference between the skills is quite dramatic: Proficiency in written text has little to do with mastering spoken conversation, writing Japanese text is much more difficult than reading it, and so on. Although the skills are fundamentally different, they nevertheless mutually help each other to progress. The overall situation is rather complex and there is no step-by-step proceeding that optimizes the learning progress.
To cope with these difficulties, the Test- and LearnDialog of Stackz can be configured to focus on the current skill of interest by choosing the attributes to be displayed along with their appearance order. The attributes that are less relevant for the current task are not presented, and the apparance order of the important ones emphasizes the current skill.
The skills can be conveniently switched during testing or learning with the dropdown menu.
So if the focus of the student is to progress the skill of grasping the kanji meaning without caring too much about the pronunciation, he would pick the 'Kanji meaning skill'. Then only the two attributes 'kanji' and 'translation' are presented, in this order. Likewise, to improve the speaking abilities, the student might select 'Japanese speaking skill', which only presents the two attributes 'translation' and 'reading', in this order. Anything else is not necessary for speaking the language!
The skills are stored in the document, along with the proficiency statistics. They can be freely changed and renamed. The predefined default skills are displayed in the table below.
|Attribute Appearance Order
|1) Kanji + Comment
|This is the normal Stackz skill, interpreting the 4th attribute as comment which is displayed at the beginning.
|Same as Standard test, but not showing the 4th attribute, which is the comment by default.
|Familiarize with Entry
2) Reading + Translation + Comment
|Useful for initial exposure to new words
|Kanji meaning skill
|Check if the meaning of a kanji is mastered, ignoring the pronunciation.
|Kanji reading skill
|Check if the pronunciaton of a kanji is mastered, ignoring the meaning.
|Kanji writing skill
|1) Reading + Translation
|Check if the kanji can be written correctly. Best used with pencil in the right hand, trying to write the kanji on paper, and controlling the tool with the left hand on the keyboard.
|Japanese speaking skill
|Check if the word can be translated into Japanese. Ideal to train conversation situations.
|Check if the meaning of a certain word is known if only the pronunciation is available.
Stackz allows to select the skill for the TestDialog and the LearnDialog individually. The menu command
File|File Options... opens the file options dialog with the specific tabs. The correct tab can be opened directly with the FileOptions toolbar button in the test and learn dialog.