Blended Learning in English Teaching and Learning: A Review of the Current Literature

Albiladi, W., & Alshareef, K. (2019). Blended learning in English Teaching and Learning: A Review of the Current Literature. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 10 (2), 232-238.

This paper provides a review of research related to the use of blended learning in English as a second/foreign language context. As part of the review, the authors cite two studies that identify sets of challenges to using a blended learning approach. The studies will be of interest to language professionals despite not being language-related. In Bonk and Graham’s Handbook of Blended Learning, they include cultural adaptation as an issue. They relate this to the materials that are used in the mode of delivery and also their relation to the students’ culture.

Riel, J., Lawless, K. A., & Brown, S. W. (2016)’s Listening to the teachers: Using weekly online teacher logs for ROPD to identify teachers’ persistent challenges when implementing a blended learning curriculum reports on Responsive online professional development for well-supported middle school teachers implementing a social studies curriculum. The issues identified in the teachers’ learning logs are also relevant to instructors working in settlement language programs as is the notion of providing responsive professional development. This report provides insight into the importance of teachers’ understanding of the pedagogy embedded in learning tools and the knowledge and confidence to implement and use them in their classrooms.

 

 

 

http://academypublication.com/ojs/index.php/jltr/article/viewFile/jltr1002232238/1831

Task-based language teaching online: A guide for teachers

Baralt, M., & Morcillo Gómez, J. (2017). Task-based language teaching online: A guide for teachers. Language Learning & Technology, 21(3), 28–43.

This article provides a guide for teachers who do task based teaching using real time video, recognizing that online language courses should not simply be face-to-face courses moved online. It discusses how the authors have adapted Willis’ (1996, 2012) task-based methodology framework to address modifications needed for an online context. The authors review the criteria for language-teaching activities to be considered tasks and also how to implement them successfully. They provide a teacher’s plan to illustrate the framework to implement a task along with video examples. The authors conclude by considering aspects of online teaching that are unique, e.g., potential problems with connectivity and how to foster an online community.  They also emphasize the value of online classes in providing language learning opportunities regardless of geographic location and its contribution to developing digital literacy skills.

 

Retrievable from: http://www.lltjournal.org/item/3008

Blended Learning Adoption in an ESL Context: Obstacles and Guidelines

Shebansky, W. (2018). Blended Learning Adoption in an ESL Context: Obstacles and Guidelines. TESL Canada Journal, 35(1), 52 – 77.

This report looks at the factors that influence adult ESL instructor opinions about implementation and use of blended learning in a federally-funded Canadian LINC program(Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada) (24 instructors), in an ESL program in a mid-sized Canadian community college (5 instructors) and in an EFL program in a large Korean university (19 instructors).

The author acknowledges that digital tools are available and accessible, but are not being widely used to implement Blended Learning.

He references several conceptual frameworks and extends two that are used in higher education to a part-time LINC context to inform and guide his investigation into the low rate of technology adoption at his LINC program.

The research study asks these questions:

  1. Do participants in the study use BL? How is use different across different ESL settings?
  2. What institutional strategy (design-related issues), structure (issues related to facilitation of the BL environment) and support (faculty implementation and maintenance of its BL design) factors most influence whether instructors will adopt BL? Is this different across ESL settings?
  3. Why do those factors affect adoption of BL in a LINC context?

He reports on these factors that influence instructors’ decision whether to adopt blended learning:

  • Ability to quickly upload and download materials
  • Availability of professional development in a face-to-face group or one-on-one
  • Availability of technical support
  • Availability of pedagogical support

He then reports on these findings to explain why this list of factors influenced instructors’ decisions.

Retrievable from

https://teslcanadajournal.ca/index.php/tesl/article/view/1295

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

“I do which the question”: Students’ innovative use of technology resources in the language classroom

Dooly, M. (2018). “I do which the question”: Students’ innovative use of technology resources in the language classroom. Language Learning & Technology, 22(1), 184–217.

Although this study isn’t about adults in settlement language programs, it contains a number of examples in the Discussion section that are  relevant to any learning situation in which adults are working in groups with technology to learn and practise their communication skills. This study of two middle school classes in Spain and Sweden working together on English language projects using technology provides some good analysis  of what can lead to students branching out on their own instead of following task instructions, not working in the collaborative way the teacher intended because of top-down task instructions, seating arrangements and classroom setup that are frustrating for group work and discussion, being able to wait for others to finish and then copy their answers, and a lack of student accountability for the assignments. The detailed descriptions of the technology used, the project questions asked, the student responses are a fascinating look at a classroom using technology. in addition, the author describes how the students managed to engage in genuine communication between the two classrooms using tools that were outside what were assigned to them.

Retrievable from:  http://www.lltjournal.org/item/3024

Twitter: A Professional Development and Community of Practice Tool for Teachers

Rosell-Aguilar, F., (2018). Twitter: A Professional Development and Community of Practice Tool for Teachers. Journal of Interactive Media in Education. 2018(1), p.6.

This research report begins with a literature review of Twitter for Education, Twitter as a learning environment for teachers and teacher use of hashtags for professional and community development.

The research questions explore who uses a specific hashtag (#MFLtwitterati), whether there is evidence that using Twitter can contribute to Continuous Professional Development and whether the hashtag can be described as a community of practice. The author looked at this specific hashtag, but also mentions  language learning hashtags which may be of more interest to instructors in settlement language learning programs. Language learners use Twitter because they encounter authentic language in tweets, can practise language skills and access resources such as text, audio and video in the target language.

The author concludes with a discussion of the results and notes that the study brought the under-researched issue of mobile learning among teachers to the forefront and demonstrates how teachers are using up to the minute tools like Twitter to take charge of their professional development in the absence of funding for PD in their institutions.

Retrievable from

https://jime.open.ac.uk/article/10.5334/jime.452/

Pre-Service and In-Service English as a Second Language Teachers’ Beliefs about the Use of Digital Technology in the Classroom

 

Kartchava, E. Chung, S. Studies in English Language Teaching. Vol 3, No 4, 2015.

This Canadian study includes a literature review of research on beliefs regarding technology and learning using three interrelated influences of previous learning experiences, professional development and teaching context. The study identifies age as an additional influence. It then describes a study in Ontario of pre-service and in-service ESL teachers. The study gathered participants’ background information, used open-ended prompts at the beginning of the study to discern their actual use of digital technology and their views on ideal ways to use it in the classroom and followed these with closed questions. These are included in the report, categorized by Experience/Importance, Expertise and Context. Researchers collected additional information through follow up interviews.  There is a discussion of the benefits, limitations, concerns and possibilities that were identified for teacher educators, administrators and teachers themselves at the end of the report.

Retrievable from: http://www.scholink.org/ojs/index.php/selt/article/view/405/389

 

Technology, teachers, and training: Combining theory with Macedonia’s experience

Hosman, L. Cvetanoska, M. International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology (IJEDICT), 2013, Vol 9. Issue 3, pp.28-49.

This article looks at the importance of teachers as stakeholder-change agents in the adoption of innovation in schools. It offers recommendations for improvements to address teacher concerns in programs like the computers-in-the-schools program described in Macedonia. It presents and uses a theoretical framework for adoption of innovation that looks at the stages of concerns experienced by teachers about their teaching skills and abilities.

Retrievable from: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1071378.pdf

Teacher Training and Professional Development in Mobile Pedagogy for English Language Teaching

 

Norris, L., & Kukulska-Hulme, A. (2017). Teacher training and professional development in mobile pedagogy for English language teaching. In R. Power,  M. Ally, D. Cristol, & A. Palalas (Eds.), IAmLearning: Mobilizing and supporting educator practice. [e-Book]. International Association for Mobile Learning. https://iamlearning.pressbooks.com/part/ch-4-teacher-training-and-pd-in-mobile-pedagogy-for-english-language-teaching/

The chapter describes the four pillars of the authors’ Pedagogical Framework and how they highlight the teacher’s role using mobile devices for language teaching and learning. The Framework considers teacher wisdom, device features, learner mobilities and language dynamics. The authors describe using the Framework in professional development workshops in Europe for teachers from several countries. They faced both resistance and enthusiasm from participants and they describe the anxiety teachers felt as they used technology in the workshops.

Retrievable from: http://oro.open.ac.uk/52264/7/52264.pdf

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.

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).

 

Using action research to explore technology in language teaching: international perspectives

Burns, A. & Kurtoğlu-Hooton, N. Using action research to explore technology in language teaching: international perspectives. British Council. (2016).

This publication is an extensive report of a virtual action research project undertaken by the British Council in 2015-16. The project was designed to introduce international language teachers to action research, to investigate the teachers’ experience of an action research approach, and to collect and disseminate insights for the effective use of technology based on the action research projects undertaken by the teachers.
In all, 12 English language teachers, with the support of academic researchers conducted small action research projects examining the use of specific technology tools in their programs and classrooms. Each of the participants produced research summaries outlining their experiences. These are included in the report.
Although the focus of this project is English language teaching internationally, it provides an interesting model for virtual action research on technology use for language teaching that could be applied in settlement language programs. Such a virtual action research project could support valuable collaborative learning and information sharing for language instructors.

Retrievable from: https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/sites/teacheng/files/28313%20ELTRA%20Report%20WEB.PDF

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

Becoming Blended: A case study in teacher identity

Renteria Navarro, Victoria. Becoming Blended: A case study in teacher identity. Plymouth St Mark and St John University. British Council ELT Master’s Dissertation Awards: Commendation. (2015-16).

This case study is set in an English Blended Program in Mexico. The author’s aim was to discover how a teacher’s educational and cultural background as well as their experience and knowledge play a role to promote or hinder agency, their capacity to critically shape their responses to problematic situations, such as those they would encounter teaching in a blended language learning program.

The study takes as a given that the internet and web applications have provided options and responsibilities that have seriously influenced teachers’ outlooks, encouraging them to change their practice. This will impact the institutions that provide professional development for teachers. One of the elements the author suggests will help to guide them is teacher identity.

The author provides evidence that experiences in one’s own educational past will have an impact on one’s approach to teaching, e.g., how to be successful teaching in a new blended language learning program with little technological support, how to cope with constantly changing technology, how to work with dependent students, whether to take on a formal or informal guise in the online component, etc.  The author also describes the teachers’ professional development and examines how it has helped each of them to evolve or change their preferred practices in the blended environment. The examples of each teacher’s Moodle pages provide further insight about this dynamic relationship.

Retrievable from: http://englishagenda.britishcouncil.org/sites/default/files/attachments/dissertation_for_publication_2016_st_mark_and_st_john_plymouth.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

 

English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Blended Learning Project Report

National Adult Literacy Agency.(2014). English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Blended Learning Project Report.

The report describes the findings from a research project carried out in Ireland in 2013 over a ten-week period with 41 learners. Learners in the ESOL program used a web site www.writeon.ie in conjunction with face to face classes. The study documents how they used this blended approach. The report provides a description of the two learning methods, a profile of the learners involved, and highlights the benefits to the various stakeholders of a blended approach for adult ESOL learners. The Write On site is open and accessible to users.

NALA acknowledges that there is not one agreed-upon definition of blended learning and sets out the one they have adopted: “Blended learning is about facilitating learning using a variety of approaches, best determined by the needs of the learner and the capability of the provider. It may or may not involve computers. It is simply a way of creatively matching different approaches to learners, content and contexts.”

Retrievable from: https://www.nala.ie/resources/english-speakers-other-languages-esol-blended-learning-project-report

Keystone Concepts: Guiding Principles and Components of Program Planning

Toronto Catholic District School Board. Keystone Concepts: Guiding Principles and Components of Program Planning. (2015).

The Keystone Concepts document lays out the foundation of the Curriculum Guidelines for the Ontario Adult Non-Credit Language Training Program. The Curriculum Guidelines are delivered through Quartz, an interactive web-based planning application for language training programs. Quartz aims to assist French as a Second Language and English as a Second Language instructors in planning courses, lessons, units and assessments based on the Canadian Language Benchmarks. The Concepts document lays out the browse and build components of Quartz. Quartz requires an authorized log in to access. Key Concepts sets out a framework for program design and delivery by identifying and describing eight guiding principles and four key components. These guidelines are significant for the bibliography because they highlight the importance of a principled approach to program planning, rather than an ad hoc approach that might be used to add online activities to a program. All of the guiding principles set out here also apply to determining how to incorporate online and face to face activities to create a blended approach to instruction.

Retrievable from: https://www.quartzon.ca/documents/keystoneConcepts-Nov27.pdf

 

 

IDEAL Distance Education and Blended Learning Handbook

IDEAL Distance Education and Blended Learning Handbook, IDEAL Consortium (2016).

The 5th edition of the IDEAL Distance and Blended Learning Handbook is intended as practical guide for educators to support the delivery of distance education, including blended learning. Each of the six chapters of the Handbook focuses on a single aspect of planning and delivering distance education:

  1. Recruitment: Identifying and Recruiting Students
  2. Screen: Determining Who is Ready for Distance and Blended Learning
  3. Orientation: Setting Up Learners for Success
  4. Instruction: Models and Strategies Supporting Involved Instruction and Communication
  5. Assessment: Student Participation and Progress
  6. Administrative Issues: Getting Started with Distance Education

Informed by current research and the work of educators and administrators in the IDEAL program in the U.S. since 2002 this handbook is an invaluable resource to support planning and delivering effective distance and blended learning programs

 

Retrievable from: http://ideal.worlded.org/pdf/IDEAL_Handbook.pdf

 

 

 

LearnIT2teach: Free CALL PD for LINC and ESL Professionals.

McBride, R., Fahy, P., Edgar, J., O’Brien, K., Allan, J., Sturm, M., & Gillespie, M.E. (2011). LearnIT2teach: Free CALL PD for LINC and ESL Professionals. Contact, 37(3), 30–32.

This article describes the LearnIT2Teach project, supported by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Since 2010 the project has developed and offered tools and training to LINC and ESL instructors to support them in integrating CALL in their instruction. The project includes a web portal, learner courseware, a learning object repository and four stages of mentored instructor training.

Retrievable from: http://www.teslontario.net/uploads/publications/contact/ContactFall2011final.pdf