Language learning drop outs

language learning

I had lunch the other day with a college language professor. He told me that the dropout rate for students of Asian languages at his university was very high. Most students who start a first-year program give it up in the first year. Apparently this is not unusual. The attrition rates for online language learning and high school language learning are also not very encouraging. It appears that no one gets very far in language learning, no matter where or how they study.

In Canada it cost an average of about $5,000 a year to attend a university. The true cost of the University is closer to five or six times that amount per student. The rest is covered by the taxpayer. Since most students in a liberal arts program take five courses per year, one language course costs about $5,000. It seems tremendously wasteful to me that students are allowed to take a language course and then abandon it, in other words throw away $5,000. At the very least, in situations where the tax-payer is paying, the learner should have to demonstrate sufficient motivation to study independently , before being allowed to take a language course.

Let’s assume students were given the choice between studying at LingQ for a year for one hundred dollars, or paying $5,000 for a university language course, both out of their own pockets. Most learners likely abandon their studies before the end of the year in either case. However, the  few motivated learners would do well in both programs.

Using LingQ would make a lot of economic sense. A lot of money could be saved. The survivors could then be entitled to a government subsidized college language course in the second year.


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