Online and mobile applications and resources for autonomous language learning: technological and methodological approaches

Vialleton, Elodie (2013). Online and mobile applications and resources for autonomous language learning: technological and methodological approaches. In: CALRG Annual Conference 2013, 11-12 Jun 2013, Milton Keynes.

Abstract

Historically, the evolution of modern languages teaching methodologies has taken place in parallel to an evolution of technologies available to support teaching and learning. In particular, new tools have been repeatedly developed or exploited to support the teaching of skills related to the spoken language: the perception of sounds and intonation, listening comprehension, pronunciation and speaking skills. For example, as methodologies evolved from traditional approaches based on grammar and translation to current task-based approaches applying the principles advocated by the Common European Framework of Reference for languages, records and gramophones were gradually introduced and then replaced by tapes, by increasingly sophisticated language labs, and now by digital online and mobile technologies. This paper examines whether the online and mobile tools that are currently available for language learning offer or reflect approaches which are consistent with the language learning and teaching methodologies which are currently prevalent, at least in the UK and in the rest of Europe.

Based on the observation of a selection of online and mobile resources for autonomous language learning, with a particular focus on the French language, this paper first proposes a typology of the tools and technologies currently available to language learners. It then investigates discussions posted by students enrolled on the Open University L192 Beginners' French module on the students' forum which are related to the use of technology and of applications and resources beyond the module which students have discussed and recommended to each other. By examining the feedback received and the comments posted the paper finally investigates whether lessons can be learnt from this information to inform the design of future languages modules.

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