Elsageyer, N. (2020) Learning Styles of Online Students in a Distance LINC Program. M.A. Thesis. University of Ottawa.
This thesis describes and provides the findings of a small scale study examining the characteristics and learning style preferences of 27 students enrolled in an online LINC program in Ontario. The study also examined the perspectives of their teachers in relation to the learning styles of their students.
Overall the student group identified their preferred learning styles as kinesthetic and auditory, whereas the teacher group perceived their students’ preferred learning styles as visual. The author suggests that the discrepancy between the student and teacher perceptions may result from the lack of a shared understanding of learning styles and students’ low level of awareness of their own learning styles and preferences.
Based on the findings of the study the author concludes that enhanced training and professional development for online LINC teachers in relation to learning style preferences; strategies to work with students to support them to identify their preferred learning styles, and how they can refine their instructional strategies to address a range of learning styles would be a useful contribution to an improvement in outcomes for online LINC students.
Zhang, R. (2020). Exploring blended learning experiences through the community of inquiry framework. Language Learning & Technology, 24(1), 38–53. https://doi.org/10125/44707
The two research questions for this study are:
The study looks at a group of graduate students at a Chinese technical university who attended an innovative blended learning course in English for Agriculture and Forestry. The course is based on a Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework. The report provides an introduction to a CoI framework and demonstrates how it can help in the design of effective blended learning processes. It goes on to report on aspects of teaching presence, social presence and cognitive presence in the course. There are examples of student interviews and analysis of activities. Instructor’s participation and facilitation is highlighted as one of the factors influencing social presence and creating and maintaining a community throughout the learning process.
Liang, L. (2018) Exploring Language Learning with Mobile Technology: A Qualitative Content Analysis of Vocabulary Learning Apps for ESL Learners in Canada. Electronic Thesis and Dissertation. Repository. 5763.
This Canadian study offers a comprehensive review and analysis of 3 vocabulary apps, Duolingo, Johnny Grammar Word Challenge and Anki App, to assess their appropriateness and usefulness to support learning both inside and outside of the ESL classroom.
The study includes a review and an extensive analysis and discussion of the exemplary features of ESL learning apps in relation to curriculum, pedagogy and design.
As part of the study the author developed an app evaluation checklist based on the in-depth analysis of the vocabulary apps and in the context of the Ontario ESL curriculum. This checklist could be a very helpful tool for instructors in adult settlement language as they review and evaluate learning apps for use by learners in the classroom and for independent learning.
Given the ever-increasing number of apps promoted as “learning apps”, the considerable investment of time required to review an app for use in teaching and learning, and the relative lack of research focused on the quality of language learning apps, this study provides a timely and accessible introduction to ESL learning app evaluation
How can instructors evaluate the quality and appropriateness of apps to support language learning? It can be a time-consuming and sometimes frustrating process.
TESL Ontario blogger John Allen may have the answer. In this brief blog post he describes the Padagogy Wheel, developed by Allan Carrington of Teach Thought and intended to help educators to evaluate apps based on the intended learning outcome. Underpinning the Padagogy Wheel is the understanding that pedagogy should drive the technology and not the other way around.
In this post the author outlines the process and describes his own experience in using the Padagogy Wheel to design a vocabulary lesson.
McLellan, G. Technology-mediated workplace language training: Developing and assessing a module for a blended curriculum for newcomers. A thesis submitted to the Faculty of Graduate and postdoctoral Affairs: Carleton University, Ottawa. (2019).
This report on a small-scale Canadian study of a module developed for a blended occupation-specific language class looks at providing online components of language support to language learners who are already in the workplace. The author includes a literature review and highlights the essential nature of needs analysis to determine both language needs and technology needs in the workplace. The developers used a Task-based language teaching approach in the module design. The learners who took part in the study had been assessed between Canadian Language Benchmarks 3 and 5 and were all working in the customer service sector. They all had mobile phones and were comfortable using them. The activities were developed in Moodle and were meant to be used on their phones. One of the potential advantages described was the ability to work on the activities in “dead time”, while commuting, waiting for an appointment, etc. The first module addressed the need for them to be able to greet customers and make requests. The module used video to illustrate greetings and requests in customer service settings. Many of the topics covered elsewhere in the bibliography, e.g., learner autonomy, attitudes towards learning with technology, mobile learning and the importance of teacher training are illustrated in the study.
Chen, Aide, “ESL Teachers’ Self-efficacy toward Pedagogical Use of Digital Technologies: An Exploratory Case Study in the Ontario Context” (2019). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 6422. https://ir.lib.uwo.ca/etd/6422
A small-scale study exploring how some EAP instructors in Ontario perceive their own abilities in using digital technologies in daily life and in their teaching practice and how such perceptions influence their use of technology in the classroom. Using surveys and semi-structured interviews, the researcher focused on the role of teacher self-efficacy, defined as, “people’s beliefs of the extent to which they are able to accomplish certain behaviors”(p.14) to explore why and how these instructors were actually using technology in their classroom and the challenges they encountered, both in using technological tools and in effectively integrating technology in teaching.
Based on the findings the researcher proposes the need for further research on the role of teacher self-efficacy, and on professional development which focuses on combining training on specific technology tools with pedagogy. As participants in the study noted, “teachers should have backup plans, even for presentations. It requires abilities to improvise. It may be unfair to say that technology itself poses this challenge. The actualized technology use is dependent on how flexible we are. You need to be able to develop your skills and make wise use of it.” (p.43) and, “we need to carefully plan technology-enhanced teaching practices rather than just using them for the sake of being fashionable” (p.52).
This article describes the experiences of four language instructors who have created their own personal learning network using Twitter. Social media and particularly this platform has allowed these practitioners to bridge distances and to reduce the sense of isolation often experienced by educators. This personal learning network has become an important component of their continuing professional development. Each describes her experiences in connecting with peers through Twitter and reflects on the benefits of such connections for their professional learning and teaching .practice. As they put it,
Kukulska-Hulme, A. (2019). Intelligent assistants in language learning: friends or foes?. In Proceedings of World Conference on Mobile and Contextual Learning 2019 (pp. 127-131).
This brief glimpse into the future by Agnes Kukulska-Hulme, a leading thinker and research in the field of Mobile Assisted Language Learning (MALL), provides an up to the minute overview of an emerging learning landscape in which the potential of Intelligent Assistants ( for example Siri, Alexa and Cortana) have the potential to support informal language learning both inside and outside the classroom. The author reminds us that many language learners now have ready access to Intelligent Assistants on their smartphones and wearable devices. She discusses the implications, both positive and negative, and the challenges resulting from the increasing use of these tools particularly in relation to teacher roles and pedagogy. Finally she points to the need for the mobile language research community to examine the complex issues that may well arise as this technology develops and becomes widely available.
Barrientos, M. (2019). Research on Mobile Learning in the English Classroom. Revista de Lenguas Modernas, (30) 2019, pp 251-266.
The author provides a literature review focused on the following four areas of mobile learning in English language classrooms to explore not only the feasibility and implications of integrating mobile learning in secondary EFL classrooms in Costa Rica, but advantages and disadvantages in these areas:
The report concludes with a number of research questions for further exploration. Although this review looks at the questions for high school EFL language planning in Costa Rica, the same questions could be asked about planning for adult settlement language classes in Canada.
Goria, C., Konstantinidis, A., Kilvinski, B., & Dogan. B. E. (2019). Personal learning environments and personal learning networks for language teachers’ professional development. In C. N. Giannikas, E. Kakoulli Constantinou & S. Papadima-Sophocleous (Eds), Professional development in CALL: a selection of papers(pp. 87-99). Research-publishing.net. https://doi.org/10.14705/rpnet.2019.28.872
This collection of papers looks at the rise in encouragement to use technology tools in language teaching despite a lack of teacher training and support to integrate these tools in this language classroom. This annotation focuses on Chapter 6, Personal learning environments and personal learning networks for language teachers’ professional development. The specific context for the collection is foreign-language training, but is nonetheless relevant to the settlement language context.
The chapter presents background for, and two case studies that illustrate, the Personal Learning Environment (PLE) and Personal Learning Network (PLN). The chapter describes describes the impact of the PLE and PLN on the work of participating teachers, their practice and their students’ learning and autonomy. In the first case study, the teacher seamlessly integrates good language teaching practice with mobile phones and instant messaging in the early stages of the learners’ PLEs. This case study also describes other changes that occurred during the evolution of these activities. Both case studies demonstrate how teachers continued to expand and enhance their learning beyond the teacher training program that introduced the PLE and PLN to them.
Chang,Y., Wang, L. & Eagle, J. (2019). Empowering English Language Learners through Digital Literacies: Research, Complexities, and Implications. Media and Communication. Vol 7(2).128-136.
This article provides an accessible overview of issues related to the digital literacies of English Language Learners (ELLs) in the U.S. The article highlights issues that are of increasing importance for adult settlement language learning in Canada and includes a description of evolving definitions of digital literacies and fluency and a short review of literature focusing on language teaching practices that support the development of digital literacies.
The authors argue that digital literacies and digital fluency can support language learner autonomy and provide authentic language learning experiences that meaningfully reflect the daily lives of the learners. The inclusion of digital literacies as part of the language learning process in the language classroom not only provides opportunities for authentic learning in the classroom but also supports learners to extend their language learning beyond the classroom. Furthermore, in an increasingly digitized society, digital literacies are essential for employment and ongoing learning and communication in day-to-day life. In order to effectively incorporate digital literacies as part of language teaching practice the authors highlight the need to support language instructors to engage in ongoing professional development in relation to the use of digital tools for teaching and learning.
Kukulska-Hulme, A. (2019). Mobile Language Learning Innovation Inspired by Migrants. Journal of Learning for Development, 6 (2).
This exploratory article looks at the uses and potential uses of mobile technologies in language learning in the context of migrant language learning. The author, an expert in the area of mobile technologies in language learning, describes the article as follows, “This paper seeks a productive synergy between migrants’ educational requirements with respect to learning the language of their host society; their valuable and unique human experiences and talents; and innovative learning designs that harness the ubiquity of smartphones and other mobile technologies.”
The article provides a review of the language learning needs and practices of migrant populations as they arrive and settle in their destinations and an exploration of innovative mobile learning initiatives in Europe, Australia and Canada. The article offers a thought-provoking discussion of the ways in which innovations and adaptations in the area of mobile language learning are being driven by the lived experiences and the actual learning needs and practices of migrant language learners.
While this may well present challenges to established thinking about how language teaching and learning happens, such innovative ideas and practices in relation to mobile language learning can ultimately provide valuable innovations that could be of benefit to other language learning populations. Finally, a focused recognition of the actual mobile learning practices of migrants, and an effort to work collaboratively with migrants to incorporate their experiences in learning, will contribute to and could be of benefit both to migrants and host societies in supporting the goals of equity and social inclusion.
Cummins, J. & Jia, L. (2019). Effect of using texting on vocabulary instruction for English learners. Language Learning & Technology, 23(2),43-64.
This small-scale research study conducted at a Canadian university focused on how the use of text messaging can support English language learners in developing and enhancing academic vocabulary acquisition. Using a random control trial design, the researchers compared the student’s target vocabulary learning gains with and without the text messaging intervention. Results indicated that with the intervention students learned more target words, (direct effect) however there was no difference noted in more general academic vocabulary learning (transfer effect). Although this research was based in an academic setting it has interesting implications for vocabulary learning in all ESL settings, pointing to the potential for the use of text messaging as a useful tool to support and enhance vocabulary acquisition.
Retrievable from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/333815117_Effect_of_using_texting_on_vocabulary_instruction_for_English_learners
Charernsuk,J.,Surasin,J.,Kewara,P. The Use of Dictionary Applications on Smartphones as a Tool to Enhance English Vocabulary Learning Skills. HRD Journal, 10 (1),8-21
This study explored the use of dictionary applications on smartphones to support vocabulary acquisition. Using both quantitative (pre-and post- testing) and qualitative (researcher observation and semi-structured interviews with student participants) the researchers report that the use of dictionary applications by students did result in enhanced vocabulary acquisition and in helping students to improve their English pronunciation skills. The researchers also noted that although students were initially uncertain about how to use the applications, with experience they became quite comfortable in their use, and that their willingness to engage in more autonomous language learning increased. Based on their observations the researchers recommend that instructors wishing to introduce dictionary applications on smartphones devote some time to thoroughly reviewing the applications for appropriateness to avoid initial confusion. Although this study was conducted in a Gr. 9 English language class in Thailand, given the ubiquity of smartphones and the availability of a range of dictionary applications, this study demonstrates the usefulness of this tool in vocabulary acquisition and points to the potential of using dictionary applications that will be of interest for instructors at all levels of English language teaching and learning.
Retrievable from: http://hrdjournal.buu.ac.th/public/backend/upload/onlinejournal/file/14062019_156049645556314400.pdf
M.W. Marek and W-C.V. Wu, (2018). “Creating a Technology-Rich English Learning Environment” In Second Handbook of English Language Teaching. Edited by Xuesong Gao. Springer International Publishing, 2019.
After presenting a theoretical framework about the potential of technology use in language classrooms, this chapter provides a step by step approach to making decisions about which technology resources to use within the language learning context. It addresses the need for teachers to have a starting point in their course development and demonstrates how to ensure that using more technology is not an end in itself, but rather that the use of technology surrounds students, enhances active learning experiences and enables students to achieve learning outcomes.
Within this chapter, the authors address a number of issues that need to be considered during the planning stage: familiarity with a tool rather than the novelty of a tool; the importance of activities using technology to be essential to the curriculum; the areas within the learning environment the teacher has control over and those s/he doesn’t; and the impact of relevant technology on learner motivation, confidence and achievement.
Retrievable from: https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/978-3-319-58542-0_39-1.pdf
Second Handbook of English Language Teaching is retrievable from: https://link.springer.com/referencework/10.1007/978-3-319-58542-0?page=1#toc
John, C.,(2018). The Evolution and Impact of Technology in Language Education. In Technology and the Curriculum: Summer 2018. Edited by Rob Power. Toronto: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE).
This short chapter provides a very accessible review of the history and development of Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL). Included is a fairly comprehensive overview of the technologies used and the second language acquisition theoretical background and teaching approaches that have shaped CALL over the years,as well as a brief look at some of the inherent opportunities and challenges.
The chapter also discusses two very recent developments in this area, Mobile-Assisted Language Learning (MALL) and Robot-Assisted Language Learning (RALL) and provides examples of how particular technologies are currently used in language teaching and learning.
Retrievable from: Technology and the Curriculum: Summer 2018
Yoon, S. J., & Gruba, P., (2019) Evaluating normalisation: An argument-based approach, System, May 2019.
Normalisation, the idea that technology would “grow and disappear” in the language learning curriculum, was articulated in the seminal work of Prof. Stephen Bax in his articles: CALL—Past, Present and Future (2003) and Normalisation Revisited: The Effective Use of Technology in Language Education (2011)
This article, drawing on the work of Prof. Bax, reports on the process and results of an evaluation of the level of normalisation achieved in blended language courses at the University of Melbourne. The researchers found that minimal normalization had been achieved in these courses, and go on to discuss several factors that may inhibit its full achievement. The research points to the importance of addressing the digital literacy needs of both instructors and students, the need to move away from an over-emphasis on technology tools to a focus on technology for pedagogical purposes. Such a re-focus would support instructors to enhance their ability to apply pedagogical principles in planning for and in implementing technology in their teaching practice.
Available for purchase ($19.95) USD at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0346251X18305414
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:
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
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