Blended learning materials for language acquisition

Tomlinson, B. (2023). Blended learning materials for language acquisition. Journal of English Language Teaching Innovations and Materials (Jeltim),5 (1) 1-16.

This article provides a comprehensive overview of the development of materials to support language acquisition in a blended language learning environment.

The author defines materials development as “the design, production, and utilisation of anything intended to facilitate language acquisition. This could be a story, a listening activity, a debate, a photo, a video, a board game, a communication task, a blog, a discovery task, an advertisement, an e-mail or even a sequence of questions.”

He identifies four important principles of language acquisition and offers a brief discussion and description of each of these principles.

These are:

  • A pre-requisite for language acquisition is that the learners experience language in use that is rich, recycled, meaningful, embodied, and comprehensible.
  • Learners need to be affectively engaged in their language experience.
  • Use experiential approaches in which the learners first of all experience the language in use and then move gradually from apprehension to comprehension (Kolb & Kolb, 2017), to a personal response, to reflection, to analysis.
  • Learners need opportunities to use the language for contextualised and purposeful communication.

For each of these principles the author provides a discussion of the elements and procedures for materials development in a blended learning environment, and examples of learning activities for both face-to-face and online learning. Essentially, he recommends that learning opportunities that rely on oral interactions take place face-to-face while those that can best  be provided remotely are delivered online.

He argues that  the elements of blended language learning courses, including materials development should be fully connected and integrated to  optimise the potential of in-person and online teaching  to provide an effective blended learning experience.

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