Which courses does the CLAT take



ProGram-iK is a research project that is carried out jointly with the Institute for German as a Foreign Language Philology at Heidelberg University (IDF) and funded by the Klaus Tschira Foundation as part of the project “Use and development of multimedia programs to improve teaching at universities”. It complements the Heidelberg multimedia-based learning program ProGram (propaedeutic grammar).

Technical texts and computer learning programs

Foreign students who are studying German at the IDF and who have acquired the right to study in Germany with the DSH (German language test for university entrance) study at the IDF. However, there is a gap between the linguistic requirements of the DSH and those of a foreign-language philology degree. One of the greatest difficulties is the production of academic-language texts. In order to close this gap, a language propaedeutic course for freshmen was set up at the IDF, which includes targeted linguistic preparation for the specialist course. A computer tutorial with 6 SWS on autonomous learning is connected to this course. A number of computer learning programs will be used and evaluated as part of this event. The evaluation takes place on two levels. On the one hand, the performance of the users is evaluated by the programs; on the other hand, the users evaluate the learning programs with regard to learning content and form, user guidance and screen design.


The need for teaching and learning materials to impart study-relevant skills can only be met to a limited extent for first-year students. The development of teaching materials focuses exclusively on the beginners and intermediate levels. Commercial computer-aided learning materials usually offer forms of exercise that are limited to fill-in-the-blank or drag & drop exercises, i.e. it is seldom written but mainly clicked. There are hardly any productive exercises in which complete, complex sentences have to be written. The written competence at a high learning level cannot be improved sufficiently in this way.

This was the motivation for a learning program for very advanced GFL learners in the field of written text production: ProGram

In a first development step, the complex linguistic area of ​​nominalization in specialist texts (nominal style) was developed into the multimedia-based learning program ProGram (propaedeutic grammar) (www.idf.uni-heidelberg.de/forschung/multimedia/).

Text reception and text production are both practiced and consolidated. All exercises are integrated into a study-relevant context and include transformations at the sentence level. A special concern in the development of ProGram-iK was to provide the students with further helpful user comments if they could not solve the task in full. During the exercise, the anticipated answers are systematically commented on. Incorrect or incomplete answers lead via hyperlinks to the corresponding additional help files (reference grammar, glossary, etc.). The special achievement of the learning program lies in the possibility of comprehensively conveying and consolidating the very complex area of ​​nominalization through extensive didactic aids to further structural areas.

Use of the IAI tools for qualified response analysis: ProGram-iK

The use of ProGram in the computer tutorial of the language propaedeutic, in other practical language courses for the development of specialist texts and in teacher training resulted on the one hand in a very positive evaluation of the program in terms of structure, form and content. On the other hand, the amount of user comments was not rated well enough. Comments could only be helpful if the anticipated answers were given exactly as expected. That is, the form of 'pattern matching', the comparison between the expected response and user input, had not proven itself.

In order to provide the user with helpful feedback, the learning system must contain a “more intelligent” error correction. With the aim of connecting a correspondingly adapted correction system to ProGram, the linguistic analysis of the learner's responses and their intelligent comparison with the sample solutions are being worked out together with the IAI. At the end of the project, the foreign students, especially the philology, should have a computer-aided writing course that deals with the central areas of the scientific language German.

For this purpose, components are used that come from the tools for spelling and syntax checking, as they have been tried and tested in the Duden KORREKTOR for many years. Other parts come from the tools for terminology and style control in CLAT. The mechanism for the linguistically intelligent comparison of the learner's response with one or more sample solutions was specially developed for ProGram-iK, as was an additional grammar component, which particularly takes into account errors made by DaF learners. For this purpose, among other things, the Heringer error database was used, but it was systematized according to morphological and syntactic principles. The main groups of this error system are:

  1. Verb placement
  2. orthography
  3. punctuation
  4. prepositions
  5. Tense of the verb
  6. Congruence subject-verb
  7. Case errors after prepositions

The use of these tools and their further development were also funded in the EU project ALLES (Advanced Long-Distance Language Education System). This project focused on business terminology in four languages ​​(English, German, Spanish and Catalan). Here, too, the innovation of the project lies in the use of the most modern language technologies, which make it possible to generate intelligent answers on the basis of automatic interpretation of the input, thus guaranteeing independence from the human tutor. In particular, a content-related check is carried out here, i.e. the software checks for longer text problems whether important concepts are contained in the answer in the correct order.