applying_the_pareto_principle_in_elt_minimal_viable_products__2_

8 Comments

  1. I somehow missed Nick’s original post so thanks for leading me back to that. Both the post and this infographic are really worth thinking about.

  2. We were not talking about the learner getting to 80% to his or her goal. We were talking about whether we could reach 80% of our goal by investing our time in just 20% of the content.

  3. Hi Tim
    I think you raised a good question, and I like the ‘Why?’ from Michael. I am wondering if 80/20 in ELT is a little different from education in general? If we look at the goal as communication in English, then perhaps achieving this goal with 80% accuracy is a lot?
    To continue your idea about this principle in ELT, would like to add about the 20%: content, time, effort, materials used?

  4. Perhaps, but why?

    The goal of most study is mastery not 80%. If mastery is your goal 80% of your way to the goal would be a failure condition. In other words the Pareto principle is accepting of “almost”; education rarely is. From the individual point of view “almost” is like birth control that is 80% effective. A disaster in other words.

    1. I strongly disagree with the suggestion that the goal of most study is mastery, eespecially when it comes to language learning.

    2. I don’t think most language learners are really aiming for 100% mastery – in fact, many would consider that an impossible goal. 80% of the way there would be a great achievement, and surely better than most people manage. But, of course 80% will mean different things to different people.

      I think those who study for years at get stuck at intermediate level are applying the 20/80 rule.

    3. Every student I’ve ever taught would probably have been happy if they could have even managed to reach 80%. An achievable 80% would be infinitely preferable to sticking at A2 – B1, failing CAE and feeling fluency will elude you forever. Aiming for 80, the students might be motivated to achieve the other 20 alone, assuming anyone can say what the 100 looks or feels like!

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