Significant Predictors for Effectiveness of Blended Learning In a Language Course

Wichadee, S. (2018) Significant predictors for effectiveness of blended learning in a language course. JALT Call Journal, Vol. 14, (1) 24-42.

Although this research study of 149 (90 female, 59 male) participants took place in an undergraduate university language course, the results are meaningful for adult learners who are in settlement language programs and for those who design blended programs for them as well. After highlighting the characteristics, rationale for and benefits of blended learning, the author goes on to explore satisfaction with the course being studied and participants’ learning performance.

The author identifies digital literacy, workload management, attitudes toward blended learning, online tool quality and face-to-face support to be among the factors identified in literature reviews as those that will have an impact on the effectiveness of blended learning.

The design of the course studied included a face-to-face orientation followed by alternating weeks of face-to-face classroom work and online self-study using online learning platforms. The knowledge gained in online weeks was checked in the face-to-face weeks.

One of the results of the study was that the more these students had positive attitudes towards blended learning, had digital literacy skills and received face-to-face support, the better their learning performance. In this study, workload management and quality of online tools did not affect learning scores. As far as satisfaction with the course, there were two factors that predicted satisfaction: face-to-face support and attitudes towards blended learning.

In the discussion at the end of the report the author provides additional background on how the course was modified for this study and details on students’ attitudes as he reviews how and why face-to-face support and attitudes toward blended learning were predictors of student satisfaction.

 

Retrievable from

The Cambridge Guide to Blended Learning for Language Teaching

The Cambridge Guide to Blended Learning for Language Teaching. Edited by Michael McCarthy. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge UK. 2016.

This book is divided into five sections: Connecting (including Second Language Acquisition) Theories and Blended Learning, Implications for Teaching, Rethinking Learner Interaction, Case Studies and the Future of Blended Learning.

One of the case studies describes a language teacher education program that gradually transitioned from a traditional format to a blended one and moved from a behaviourist model to a more constructivist one in the process.

Available for purchase ($70.00 CDN) from Cambridge University Press.

Free Digital Learning Opportunities for Migrants and Refugees

Elizabeth Colucci, Hanne Smidt, Axelle Devaux, Charalambos Vrasidas, Malaz Safarjalani and Jonatan Castaño Muñoz; Free Digital Learning Opportunities for Migrants and Refugees. An Analysis of Current Initiatives and Recommendations for their Further Use. Joint Research Centre (JRC)  Science for Policy Report. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, 2017.

This report contains a snapshot of the current (2016) field for free digital learning for migrant/refugee settlement in Europe with a few examples from the Middle East and the Southern Mediterranean. The study’s objective was to assess the extent to which free digital learning is an effective and efficient way to develop needed skills for migrants/refugees. The study includes a literature review, a searchable website, and a SWOT analysis based on interviews with key informants.

One of the findings of the study was that migrants/refugees believe that free digital learning should be a complement to face-to-face formal and informal/non-formal learning. Those who were interested in higher learning saw recognition of credits and degrees as important and were interested in blended learning that involved social interaction.

Retrievable from: https://ec.europa.eu/education/news/20170516-free-digital-learning-opportunities-migrants-and-refugees_en

Digital Literacies

Dudeney, Gavin, Nicky Hockly and Mark Pegrum. Digital Literacies. Harlow, England: Pearson, 2013.

This book is organized in four chapters:

  1. From research to implications – you’ll find a framework of digital literacies.
  2. From implications to application – you’ll find a digital activities grid, descriptions of activities and a number of worksheets. worksheets can slso be obtained online.
  3. From application to implementation – you’ll find information about how to integrate digital literacies in your teaching practice depending on your context and the syllabus you are working with.
  4. From implementation to research – you’ll find suggestions about how to continue your own learning about digital literacies as you work through challenges that arise. There is detailed description of building and maintaining a personal learning network (PLN).

 

NorthStar Digital Literacy Assessment

The NorthStar Digital Literacy Assessment was developed by the St. Paul Public Library and the St. Paul Community Literacy Consortium. Through a set of online and interactive assessments users can identify skill gaps in Basic Computer Use, Internet, Windows Operating System, Email, Word Processing/ Microsoft Word, Spreadsheets/ Excel, and Social Media.

The NorthStar Digital Literacy Assessment is widely used in the U.S.  and by some organizations in Canada and South Africa. As of March 2016, over 150,000 assessments had been completed.  Although the NorthStar Digital Literacy Assessment was developed for the adult basic education community it is appropriate for ESL learners – the developers note that, “A mid-level English-speaking ability is needed to complete the assessments.”

Retrievable from:  https://www.digitalliteracyassessment.org/

Integrating Digital Literacy Into English Language Instruction: Issue Brief

Harris, K. Integrating Digital Literacy Into English Language Instruction: Issue Brief [nd].

Digital Literacy, the ability to use digital devices and to participate in our digital world is now recognized as a fundamental skill in our increasingly digital world. This issue brief  from the U.S. is part of the LINCS ESL Pro suite of resources on Integrating Digital Literacy into English Language Instruction.

This short article provides an overview of digital literacy within the context of English language teaching and learning, highlighting its critical importance for students and providing a straightforward introduction to four aspects of digital literacy: (1) using basic digital skills, (2) creating and communicating information, (3) finding and evaluating information, and (4) solving problems in technology-rich environments. In addition the article provides practical advice on how digital literacy activities can be included in English language instruction.

Retrievable from: https://lincs.ed.gov/publications/pdf/ELL_Digital_Literacy_508.pdf

Exploring ESL Students’ Perceptions of Their Digital Reading Skills

Gilbert, J. (2014). Exploring ESL Students’ Perceptions of Their Digital Reading Skills. Ed.D. University of Nottingham.

A doctoral thesis exploring ESL students’ understandings of their own digital reading skills.  The study included  three sources of data: reading workshops created for the participants; interviews with participants; discussions with participants and analysis of participants’ reading journals. The study concludes that while the participants had the capacity to randomly search the internet they lack the information literacy skills to productively research and evaluate information online.  The study also found that the participants’ reading strategies varied when engaging with print and web-based text. Finally the research points to the need to consider teaching digital literacy skills in tandem with language instruction and to provide instructors and instructors-in-training with the means to develop robust digital skills to enable them to support students to develop these skills alongside their language learning.

Retrievable from: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/14080/1/Gilbert_Re-formated_Thesis_Draft.pdf

 

 

 

 

Enhancing the Digital Skills of English Language Learners Studying at a Distance

Vanek J.  & Johnston, J. (2015).  Enhancing the Digital Skills of English Language Learners Studying at a Distance. AEIS Newsletter March 2015.

Based on interviews with instructors  who work within the IDEAL consortium the article  outlines the components of a successful distance learning program for second language learners.  The authors argue that given the ubiquity of digital technologies and the multiple demands on learners to use digital technology in the workplace, distance learning instruction should not be limited to the academic content typically found in online distance learning curricula. Rather, learners need to have access and exposure to a range of digital technologies for learning and problem solving facilitated by an instructor.

Retrievable from: http://newsmanager.commpartners.com/tesolaeis/issues/2015-03-04/5.html

 

Digital Literacies in Foreign and Second Language Education

CALICO Monograph Series Volume 12. (2014). Digital Literacies in Foreign and Second Language Education.

This volume from CALICO is made up of 12 chapters that look at digital literacy in language learning from many different perspectives. Among others, there is a challenge to Prensky’s characterization of Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants, a description of a survey-driven study of the use of digital tools for language teaching and learning, a framework that proposes how to close the digital divide, and an exploration of the affordances of digital social reading using the example of an open source tool called eComma. In this last example, in chapter 9, author Carl Blyth looks at some of the ways that e-readers can enable users to annotate a text and share their annotations with others. This new practice, called digital social reading, is similar to the way that readers of print text can write in the margins or meet as a book club to share their thoughts. Blyth presents and then addresses some of the opposition to this practice using examples from four case studies.

Retrievable from: https://calico.org/bookfiles/pdfs/DigitalLiteracies.pdf

Defining Essential Digital Skills in the Canadian Workplace

Chinien, Chris, and France Boutin. (2011). Defining Essential Digital Skills in the Canadian Workplace: Final Report. Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.

This study reports on a proposed digital skill framework for Canadian workers. The proposed framework includes four skills clusters, three of which are foundational skills, technical digital skills and digital information processing skills. This report is of interest because it provides information about the types of skills adult learners who attend settlement language training will be expected to be able to demonstrate in the workplace. The report points out that prosperity from the digital economy will not depend only on specialists and advanced users of digital technology, but on general workers as well. This has resulted in an increased interest for all workers to possess essential digital skills for both technical systems skills and for everyday tasks so that they can work efficiently and effectively. At the time of the writing of the report, there was no consensus on a definition of digital literacy, as indicated in a chart of definitions of concepts, but attempts were being made to standardize, these while maintaining some adaptability to reflect emerging technologies, in the EU, Australia, New Zealand, the U.S and through UNESCO’s member states. The report provides short reviews of the digital literacy frameworks in each of these jurisdictions and goes on to propose such a framework for Canada.

Retrievable from:

http://apskills.ilo.org/resources/defining-essential-digital-skills-in-the-canadian-workplace-final-report

 

 

Digital Literacy: An Essential Skill for ESL Literacy Learners

Bow Valley College. (2015). Digital Literacy: An Essential Skill for ESL literacy Learners.

A short and lively  account of an innovative “Laptop Lending” program in the Bridge Program for  ESL learners  (ages 19-24) at Bow Valley College in Calgary. Through this program learners are each given a laptop to use while registered in the program and are encouraged and supported to use the laptops to develop digital literacy skills and to pursue their language learning using the online platform, Desire2Learn.

Instructors in the Bridge program are committed to helping learners to develop essential digital literacy skills to  increase their chances of success in further education and in the world of work. As one of the instructors says,  “Being able to read and write also means being able to read and write online, there’s a lot more involved in it than just simply pen and paper.”  

In this article the instructors provide an overview of the background to the laptop lending program, their  experiences with the program and they share some of the successes they have witnessed as a result of the program.

Retrievable from: https://centre.bowvalleycollege.ca/blog/english-language-learning/digital-literacy-essential-skill-esl-literacy-learners

Teaching Critical, Ethical, and Safe Use of ICT to Teachers.

Shin, S.-K. (2015). Teaching Critical, Ethical, and Safe Use of ICT to Teachers. Language Learning & Technology, 19(1), 181–197.

This article reports on a research project conducted with pre-service ESOL teachers in Korea which focused on the often neglected issues of digital literacy, ethical and fair use and e-safety when selecting and using online materials and learning activities in language teaching and learning. Although the authors caution that the relatively small-scale of this research which was limited to a small group of pre-service teachers, does not support broad generalization, it nevertheless raises important questions and awareness for second-language instructors who are using online materials and activities and points to the necessity to consider their own attitudes and practices in relation to digital literacy, fair use, and e-safety in order to model responsible behaviours for students, and also to consider how to include these important issues in instruction.
Retrievable from: http://llt.msu.edu/issues/february2015/shin.pdf