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Peer Review

Dictionary of English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions



Overall Numeric Rating:

4 stars
Content Quality: 4 stars
Effectiveness: 4 stars
Ease of Use: 4 stars
Reviewed: Dec 14, 2006 by World Languages Editorial Board
Overview: The learning object is a Website which provides a dictionary of common idioms in English, as well as many suggested by users.
Type of Material: Reference
Recommended Uses: Resource/reference
Technical Requirements: n/a
Identify Major Learning Goals: The intention of the material is to assist ESL students who understand basic English learn common combinations within the language which form new meaning (idioms.)
Target Student Population: The target population for this learning object is students that have a basic understanding of the English language, but may be confused by cultural idioms that are used throughout daily life.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: The learner should have a basic understanding of the English language, in order to assist in the reading of the definitions.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: The quality of the content is excellent; as not only is there a vast collection of idioms to select and learn, but registered users may suggest additional terms to be added to the site. The definitions themselves are short and easy to understand for an ESL or EFL learner. Not only can these learners read the definitions, they may also discuss them in the on-line forum for each idiom, or take an idiom quiz. Also of note is the fact that the idioms are divided into three cultural partitions, All, UK, and USA, giving the reader a hint of what may or may not be a useful idiom to learn based upon a given society.
Concerns: The categories can be inconsistent. For example, “All hat – No cattle” uses a clothing word, where it is categorized, but its description fully relates to “War and Conflict.” On the other hand, “Carpetbagger” is categorized as “political,” even though it contains no political words at all but is used to describe a politician.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: This object could be quite effective for ESL or EFL students wishing to learn idioms in the English language. The learner has a myriad of choices in learning these terms, such as reading the text, discussing the idiom, or being assessed on the content. This could quite easily be an effective reference tool or primary English speakers, as well, given that idioms can be just as much as mystery to native speakers.
Concerns: An example for each of the idioms would provide for a greater learning experience. For example, “He is always so animated and impulsive. He’s as mad as a March hare!”

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: The site is easy to navigate using a theme and layout that are clear. The idioms are categorized by the first letter of the first word, as well as the option to view them based upon a type of category. The “What’s New?” section allows frequent visitors to casually browse the most recent updates. There are very menus, but not so many to confuse the user – a ‘main menu’ at the top to navigate the complete site, some basic references on the left, and a menu to select which letter to begin the idiom search. “Show/Hide” definitions allowed for a greater user experience, based upon preference.
Concerns: There is a greater than average number of ads, which provided much less usable space and gets in the way at times.

Other Issues and Comments: n/a