Lewandowski, M. (2015). Creating virtual classrooms (using Google Hangouts) for improving language competency. Language Issues: The ESOL Journal, 26(1), 37–42.
This small scale research project was conducted in a community based learning centre in London, U.K. The study explored the usefulness of creating an online conversation class using Google Hangouts to support ESOL students to develop their vocabulary. Students were divided into three groups. In the first group students read or listened to a text prior to the online session and were given vocabulary lists which they were required to memorize as well as conversation questions for review., In the second group students read or listened to a text prior to the online session were given conversations questions for review but were not given the vocabulary list. Students in these groups also attended their regular face-to-face classes. In the third or “control group” students attended their class twice each week but no additional online activities were provided. Although the author cautions that the results of the study are not generalizable, given the relatively limited size of the project and its particular he concludes that the results clearly demonstrate the potential of video-conferencing tools such as Google Hangouts as a useful means to support students in developing and enhancing vocabulary. Furthermore, he states that, with careful planning and preparation, the combination of asynchronous and synchronous e-learning is critical for the “successful delivery” of online conversation classes.