Introduction to the 2016 Edition

This updated bibliography builds on the resources that we collected and assembled into a print document in 2014. We selected the blog format for the new items in order to be responsive to new materials coming online through various feeds as well as to simplify the process for readers to access the items, other than books or reports that require payment.

Since this isn’t a print document, you won’t find the items separated into categories, but the items have been tagged and categorized to help you find what you’re looking for.

When the new period of research began, we intended to update the existing 2014 categories with new reports, research, and articles. We have done that to some extent, but as with everything that happens online, there have been some blurring of lines, development of new and interesting categories and some areas that have diminished in importance.

  • The notion of “affordances” recognizes that technical products and services have been developed without any thought of using them for learning of any kind let along language learning. Despite this, if instructors see the possibilities, or the affordances, voice recorders can be used for speaking and listening activities, phone cameras can be used for story-telling activities, Google docs can enable peer editing and a process writing environment, email can be used for writing and reading activities and students can be kept up to date about course activities via text messages.
  • Although we saw a lot of enthusiasm for and predictions for an uptick in the use of mobile technologies in language learning, we often read that most language training is still taking place face-to-face. We did collect reports about the opportunities and challenges of the use of these technologies in language learning and teaching.
  • Researchers have examined how learner isolation in an online learning environment can be addressed and how active participation and learner motivation can be encouraged and supported to create and sustain a successful learning experience.
  • Researchers have looked at instructors in more complex ways than what we presented in 2014. Instead of a steady focus on instructors’ readiness or willingness to adapt a blended learning/teaching approach, we found a wider range of research that considers the importance of instructor presence, instructor immediacy and instructor visibility; and their impact on reducing learner dropout and establishing positive learning environments online. You’ll read about how instructors use technology in their personal lives and how that translates to their working use.
  • The importance of instructional design and careful instructional planning to achieve success working with technology appeared in reports having to do with achieving learner outcomes. Researchers have also explored the notion of re-conceptualizing existing learning materials, to ensure that they transfer effectively and appropriately to an online learning environment.
  • There is a growing recognition that e-safety and security, the ethical use of online materials and the costs of data plans are issues that must be addressed in planning and implementing a blended learning approach.

In the 2014 report, we noted that our findings went outside the adult settlement language training field. That continues with the additional entries we have made in the bibliography in 2016. We see even more clearly now, that the foundations and essentials of a blended learning/teaching approach, including  the importance of instructional design and planning, the crucial role of the instructor, the significance of instructor presence and visibility online,  and the creation of a productive learning community span EFL, ESL, ESOL, higher education, secondary education and adult settlement language training