Learning processes in interactive CALL systems: Linking automatic feedback, system logs, and learning outcomes

Hui, B., Rudzewitz, B., & Meurers, D. (2023). Learning processes in interactive CALL systems: Linking automatic feedback, system logs, and learning outcomes. Language Learning &Technology, 27(1), 1–23.

The overall purpose of this research project was to demonstrate how the system logs that are available through online learning platforms can be used to better understand language learning processes and the association of those processes with learning conditions and outcomes. While instructors in settlement language classes in Ontario may not have access to a tutoring system like the one described in this research report, system logs are widely available to users with admin access and can provide information about users’ learning processes.

The authors contend that system logs are currently underused in Second Language Acquisition (SLA) research and that such research should include both learning products and learning processes to better understand what they describe as “… the complex relationship between learning conditions, processes, and outcomes.”

The authors make a distinction between learning products which focus on the results of a task, and the learning process which focuses on what happens during learning and teaching and how the learner achieves their goals over time.

The research project examined and analysed the detailed system logs of student interaction, including number of attempts by a student for each activity, the answers submitted and the systems feedback and other responses based on the following research questions:

  RQ1: To what extent can learning process variables, as extracted from system logs, directly account for learning outcomes?

  RQ2: Can we meaningfully distinguish clusters of learners based on the learning process variables?

  RQ3: To what extent does specific feedback relate to the learning process clusters?

The authors recommend further that SLA research focused on the analysis of system logs be used to identify and understand what happens in the learning process to support more productive interventions and improved system design.

Retrievable from: https://www.lltjournal.org/item/10125-73527/

Teaching in Covid-19 Times: Challenges, innovations, solutions, and opportunities

Cummings,J., Sturm,M., Lawrence,G., Avram, A. & McBride, R. (2021).
Teaching in Covid-19 Times: Challenges, innovations, solutions, and opportunities. TESL Contact, 47,1(2021):21-35

This article from TESL Ontario’s Contact Magazine discusses the issues language teachers have faced globally and in Canada because of school closures and lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than presenting only challenges, the authors report on innovations, solutions and opportunities that have arisen during this time. A case study of a LINC (Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada) educator showcases their principled approach to enhance student engagement in an online environment. The article ends with recommendations to leverage the benefits of teaching and learning online, including effective technology-mediated teacher education.

Retrievable from:


Microteaching in Isolation: Fostering Autonomy and Learner Engagement through VoiceThread

Bodis, A., Reed, M., Kharchenko,Y. (2020). Microteaching in Isolation: Fostering Autonomy and Learner Engagement through Voice Thread. International Journal of TESOL Studies, 2(3), 1-12 Foreign Language Annals, 53(2), 320-32.

The focus of this article is a TESOL training program at Macquarie University in Australia. Due to the restrictions imposed at the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis the program needed to move rapidly to an online environment.

 Online microteaching activities were developed, and a set of asynchronous tasks were developed using Voice Thread, an asynchronous communication platform whereby users can create and upload content, including text, and audio and video presentations. Voice Thread is interactive, enabling instructors and students to add comments and annotations in text, audio, and video.  The article includes a description of each of the two Voice Thread Tasks developed for the course.

The evaluation of the approach demonstrated that students were able to meet the unit learning outcomes.  Furthermore, the approach contributed to their overall learning in relation to feedback, the use of digital technologies for teaching and learning, and to the development of autonomy as students and teachers.  The authors conclude, “We, therefore, recommend the use of VT in a systematic way combined with enabling tasks and supportive teacher presence in and outside face-to-face classes.” (p.100).

Retrievable from:


Fostering Interaction in Synchronous Online Class Sessions with Foreign Language Learners

Gruber, A. & Bauer, E. (2020). Fostering Interaction in Synchronous Online Class Sessions with Foreign Language Learners. 175-178. (Uploaded to Research Gate by author, June 17th, 2020)

This short article outlines how, in the context of COVID-19 and the urgent need to move instruction online, a second language instructor created an online learning space to support learners in a beginner German language course.

Using Learning Apps, a web 2.0 application, (a review and description of the application is available HERE) that allows for the creation of small interactive learning modules, and Kahoot, a game-based application the instructor is able to quickly develop a fully online language learning environment that enable learner collaboration and interaction. These tools were chosen because they are both free, relatively easy to use and both have robust functionality.

The article also provides recommendations on how to support instructors during this crisis to develop teaching skills and strategies that support synchronous and interactive online language learning.

Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/342208277_Fostering_Interaction_in_Synchronous_Online_Class_Sessions_with_Foreign_Language_Learners

Nonverbal Communication in Text-Based, Asynchronous Online Education

Al Tawil, R. (2019). Nonverbal Communication in Text-Based, Asynchronous Online Education,International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 20 (1), 144-162.

This article describes the findings of a research project conducted to better understand the role of non-verbal communication in an online, asynchronous, text-based learning environment.  The article identifies four factors to be considered in relation to non-verbal communication in the online environment:

  1. Chromenics, that is the study of time in non-verbal communication.
  2. Use of 2D visuals to indicate social presence, e.g. emoticons, profile pictures, photographs, graphics.
  3. eSets, which the researcher describes as resembling paralanguage, and which include, writing style, tone, structure, layout and format.
  4. Lack of communication, i.e., if a student does not receive acknowledgment or response to a post s/he is feels ignored and this may decrease motivation and engagement.

Overall the research points to the critical importance of social presence in the online learning environment.

Retrievable from: http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/3705/4984

Building Relationships and Increasing Engagement in the Virtual Classroom

Martin. J. (2019). Building Relationships and Increasing Engagement in the Virtual Classroom. Journal of Educators Online, 16 (1), 232-238.

One of the challenges of teaching in an online environment is how to address the sense of disconnection and isolation that many online students report, and which tends to be de-motivating and to undermine engagement in learning.

How can instructors build relationships with students and foster a sense of community which supports student engagement in an online environment? This article provides quite simple and practical strategies using digital technology tools and simple videos to help to bridge the “social gap” in online learning environments.  The author describes how instructors can use screen recording, videoconferencing software and social media platforms to connect with students in a more personal and immediate way.  These tools can also be used to provide personalized feedback to encourage engagement and to enable students to connect with one another, to share photos, interests and ideas , and so reducing isolation and increasing engagement.

Retrievable from: https://www.thejeo.com/archive/2019_16_1/martin