Co-training and pairing

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Under developing.

Summary Table

  • Node Title: Learning to read Chinese: Co-training in human (Study 2)
  • Researchers: Ying Liu, Charles Perfetti, Susan Dunlap, Suemei Wu, Tom Mitchell
  • PIs: Ying Liu, Charles Perfetti, Tom Mitchell
  • Others who have contributed 160 hours or more:
  • Graduate Students: Derek Chan, Susan Dunlap
  • Study Start Date Sep 1, 2006
  • Study End Date Dec 31, 2006
  • LearnLab Site and Courses , CMU Chinese Online
  • Number of Students: 20
  • Total Participant Hours for the study: 20
  • Data in the Data Shop: Yes


The present study continued to explore how native English speakers learn to speak and read Chinese in a cotraining environment. The experiment consisted of two parts. The first part was training, which was used to teach the input (Chinese fonts and sounds) to output (English translations) mapping of 16 Chinese characters. four training methods were applied in a two by two crossed design. The two factors are labeled pairing and unlabeled pairing. Every subject received all four methods in a counter balanced order. The second part was posttest, in which students produced the English translation when they saw the Chinese fonts or hear the Chinese sounds one by one. The accuracy of translation was recorded.


2. A glossary that defines terms used elsewhere in this node but not defined in the nodes that are parents, grandparents, etc. of this node;

labeling; source pairing; source correlation.

Research question

How native English speakers learn to speak and read Chinese under various coordinative learning conditions.


In machine learning research, it has been found that multiple-strategies and multiple modalities facilitate learning (Blum and Mitchell, 1998). However, the effectiveness of the properties of “co-training” theory have not been tested in human learners yet. We carried out this study as a follow-up study to understand the pairs effect. We have to know whether it is restricted to or larger for unlabeled trials.

Dependent variables

Normal post-test: Accuracy of producing the English word under reading and/or listening situation.

Independent variables

Labeling Pairing Variation Correlation


Pairing of visual font and auditory sound of Chinese characters should enhance learning more than the unpaired condition, but the benefit is more obvious when the trials are unlabeled.



As shown in above figure, the two paired unlabeled conditions had higher accuracies than the two unpaired unlabeled conditions. However, it did not reach statistical significance: the labeled pairing effect was not significant (F(1,6)=0.176, p=0.689), the unlabeled pairing effect was not significant (F(1,6)=2.077, p=0.2), and their interaction was not significant either (F(1,6)=1, p=0.356).


Even though the pairing effect was not statistical significant, the effect showed the pattern as the hypothesis predicted. Pairing of visual and auditory modality is more helpful than any single modality because the visual-auditory connection can be build during the learning process. However, when a label (English translation) is provided, modality pairing does not lead to any benefit because there has already been visual-lexical and auditory-lexical connections for a human learner to process. It might be better for a human learner to focus on one connection at a time due to the working memory load.



Further information