Valuing diversity and the development of every individual – through language education and culture exchange – is essential for human evolution.
We can achieve our personal and social evolutionary goals through successful education design. This means essentially creating a learning plan and implementing a means of evaluating it, making adjustments, and assuring success. In practical terms, we need to construct new curriculum plans, create a bank of teaching services, and a sequencing of impactful learning materials. Doing these three things well rarely happens by accident. What is required is effective listening and professional educational services.
When I am involved in an education project, I ask three basic questions:
First is motivation. Why are we doing this? What is the inherent drive in the learner? What keeps the user engaged?
Second is substance. What do we need to satisfy the learner? In the case of language education, this is primarily linguistic content — but it is also thought and emotion content! The content must be rich, deep, personally meaningful. The content must also be accessible. This involves knowing the “field” of available content intimately, and selecting — or creating — the most appropriate content.
Third is mechanics. How are we going to get there from here? Mechanics refers to the underlying brain science that describes engaged learning, and the human interaction systems that engage the educational relationship. Make no mistake about it: Successful learning involves attention from a teacher – a learning expert, someone who authentically cares about the learner.
We need to really do a deep dive on all three to be successful!
WHAT WE BRING TO EVERY PROJECT
I’m Michael Rost, the founder of Lateral Communications. I personally take responsibility for every project that Lateral takes on. I work with a range of top professionals: language professionals — researchers, teachers, authors, editors, publishers, media producers, artists, performers, designers, social media groups, institutional administrators. Our teams are constituted from brilliant people all around the world. We pride ourselves on having diverse teams — because this is how you achieve success in educational enterprises! We collaborate to develop and distribute cutting edge classes and courses, as well as top-notch learning products We aim to establish a unique identity for every project, a brand that really means something!
In each project I draw upon my experiences both in academics (here is a link to my academic publications on Google Scholar) and in the publishing business (here is a link to my Linked In business page).
I guarantee my personal involvement ih every project from conception through development, throughout production, into the launch the promotion. I realize the importance of working with customer support — and improving how the product or service is being used and experienced.
I like to stay involved with every project from conception through development, throughout production, into the launch the promotion. I especially enjoy working with customer support – and improving how the product or service is being used and experienced.
03 Depth of Understanding
As I work with education and educational publishing, I realize there is always more to learn, more to understand. This is more true today than ever – with the continual advances of technology, artificial intelligence, social media, and global interdependence. I have learned that it is more important to “seek to understand” than anything else. Before diving into any project, I try first to establish a deep base of understanding of the issues and the stakeholders involved.
Whenever I start on a new project — a book, a series, a course, a game, an app — I always ask every member of my team, “What hasn’t been done before?” I always get a lot of creative answers — and if we can act on just a few of these ideas, we’re likely to be involved in an innovative project. If a project has a vibrant innovative energy, it’s likely to bring out the best in everybody involved. I feel that my job as a project manager or series editor is to nurture and manage that innovative energy.
Passion is the fuel that drives human activity. This is true in education and especially language education, in which the personal stakes are very high. When I work with teachers on the implementation of a project, I start by helping them identify their passion for teaching and learning. (And yes, teachers are the key to the success of any educational endeavor — all learners need the attention of a learning expert, a mentor, a guide.) Once we are able to kindle — or reignite — their passion, we bring a lightness and a collaboration to the project.
Every project — course production, research white paper, or teacher development — starts with observation. Clear observation — in meetings, focus groups, onsite visits, report generation — is an essential element of success throughout the execution of the project. I invest a lot in “focus groups” throughout a project — now almost always done via Zoom conferences — in order to develop a “calm mind” throughout a project. This comes from listening to users.
Understanding the role of listening in language development has been a major theme in my career. All of the language courses I design feature listening as the central component – out of which, speaking, interaction, reading, and writing can grow. Listening is the foundation of successful communication and learning.
Ultimately, whether a product or service is delivered successfully is a matter of efficacy. At the end of the day, what is delivered has to be elegant, efficient, and cost-effective.