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

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

Special Collection on Migrants, Education and Technologies

Jones, A., Kukulska-Hulme, A. & Brasher, A., (2017). Editorial Special Collection on Migrants, Education and Technologies. Journal of Interactive Media in Education. 2017(1), p.5. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/jime.441

This special collection of articles includes these themes:

  • Social integration and language learning
  • Contextually sensitive learning for migrants
  • Smart Cities’ support for migrants
  • Overcoming linguistic and cultural barriers
  • Informal learning
  • Learning in different contexts – inside and outside the classroom

The editorial heading up the special collection acknowledges that smartphones have saturated society, that they represent new possibilities as  mobile language learning tools, but also that the Internet can be expensive and isn’t always accessible. One of the featured reports looks at a project that supports language development in daily life – without access to the Internet as learners are on the move. You can also read the blog from this project: SALSA.

Other articles in the collection include refugee experiences learning language in Canada, Australia, England and Sweden.

https://www-jime.open.ac.uk/articles/10.5334/jime.441/

SALSA: Smart cities and language learning

The SALSA blog postings  from August 2014 to March 2017 on the site below describe a project involving a group of English language learners who used 27 beacons in their town to trigger different language learning scenarios. The results of the project are described in the post “Fitting in versus learning”.

The beacon activities were designed to motivate students and help them continue their learning between face to face classroom sessions.

Retrievable from: http://www.open.ac.uk/blogs/salsa/

A meta-analysis of effectiveness studies on computer technology-supported language learning.

Grgurovic, M. et al. (2013). A meta-analysis of effectiveness studies on computer technology-supported language learning. ReCALL, 25(2), 164–198.

This article answers the question policy makers and language teachers might ask about what research has shown about the comparison between classes in which CALL is used and those in which computer technology is not used for language learning. In summary, the results of 36 years of research show that computer-assisted language learning is not inferior to traditional classroom teaching. The authors looked at studies that compared the two methods between 1970 and 2006. The studies chosen were winnowed from three electronic databases, a manual search of six journals and an extensive set of criteria that excluded all but 37 of the 200 studies found. One of their findings is that the overwhelming majority of studies were conducted in a higher education setting, with English being the number one language studied. There is no mention of adult settlement language in the list of settings but there was one adult literacy study. This paper underscores the importance of research design and submitting research on topics like Blended Learning in adult settlement programs to databases and journals like the ones included here.

Available for Purchase (USD $30.00) at: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=8885216#

Enhancing the Autonomous Use of CALL – A new curriculum model in EFL.

Smith, K., & Craig, H. (2013). Enhancing the Autonomous Use of CALL – A new curriculum model in EFL. Calico Journal.l, 30(2), p-p 252-278.

This action research study evaluates the effectiveness of a CALL Learner Autonomy course in a blended EFL program at a Japanese university. The study looks at a number of reflective tools to help with learners’ motivational setbacks in a CALL environment due to a lack of computer skills or knowledge about how to use websites and software. These included tools to help learners with planning, organizing, tracking and evaluating their autonomous use of CALL resources.  The researchers found that regular and critical learner self-reflection through using these tools was a key factor contributing to a positive shift in study culture. It is included in the bibliography as an example of practices that have been examined to improve learner autonomy.

Retrievable From:

https://journals.equinoxpub.com/index.php/CALICO/article/viewFile/22957/18963