Use and effect of ICT-tools in language learning environments
01 / 2008 - 12 / 2009
Education has shifted from traditional, behaviourist approaches towards more constructivist ones. These days, the prevalent view is that learning has to be authentic, realistic, user-initiated, and that learners have to be able to work independently from their teacher, who is a coach rather than an instructor. The complexity and open nature of such task-based, holistic, student-initiated activities present practical problems for defining specific language learning goals, for effective support in the learning process, and for a flexible assessment and evaluation of the knowledge and skills of the students. Nevertheless, overall flexibility is required, because individual differences between learners, such as language proficiency, learning style and educational background, present problems for one-size-fits-all tasks and/or task components. Automated learning guidance (e.g., support in text structuring, online dictionaries), assessment (e.g., cloze tasks, peer evaluation) and adaptive behaviour based on these guidance and assessment (e.g., collaborative learning, comparing key words and summaries), could be a solution to these problems. The project aims at finding effective methods for structuring the learning process using various resources in Educational Technology and Computer Aided Language Learning (CALL) software, to determine their usefulness for a specific learner in a specific task. Research Questions: 1. What are the possibilities for (semi-)automated selection of learning contents (special domain words, technical language, scientific jargon, text structuring words) and what is the use and effect of noticing these in various reading texts? 2. What are the possibilities for (semi-)automated learning guidance tools, such as online dictionaries, text structuring schemas, diagrams, key words matching, peer evaluation, and what is the use and effect of applying these in (language) learning contexts? Method Various small scale experiments within school contexts will be carried out, in primary, secondary and higher education.