Hampel, Regine and de los Arcos, Beatriz
Interacting at a distance: a critical review of the role of ICT in developing the learner–context interface in a university language programme.
Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 7(2) pp. 158–178.
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This article examines the introduction of new online technologies to support distance language learning in a higher education institution in the UK, charting the development from using telephone conferencing in the 1990s to the implementation of Moodle and videoconferencing more recently. It uses the sociocultural concept of the learner–context interface (White 2003) to emphasize the centrality of both learners and context in the design and delivery of technology-supported language courses rather than making the development of computer-mediated learning opportunities the main focus. Building on research and evaluation work carried out over more than 15 years, the authors of this article analyze the issues that have arisen and that have affected change regarding technology and pedagogy. Central areas of investigation in terms of the learners were found to be interaction, learning communities, metacognition, literacy, affect and learner support; in terms of context they include task design, teacher roles and teacher skills. In the conclusion, limitations of the research and new developments are outlined.
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