The Open UniversitySkip to content

Enhancing interaction and communication in distance language learning by using new technologies [trans. by Junhong Xiao]

Hampel, Regine (2014). Enhancing interaction and communication in distance language learning by using new technologies [trans. by Junhong Xiao]. Distance Education in China, 5 pp. 11–19.

Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


This article considers the potential and challenges of using digital technologies that have been developed over the past 20 years for enhancing distance language education. It starts off by briefly exploring the changes from correspondence tuition to a more genuinely two-way model where learner interaction and communication is fundamental, before moving on to give an overview of different online environments and their functionalities and affordances for language learning. The author highlights the potential of new technologies for bridging the spatial and temporal distance between learners, for making various forms of interaction available with different learner constellations, and for offering specific benefits for language learners by providing contexts for language use and opportunities for focus on form and on meaning. However, using online technologies also poses certain challenges, and the article proceeds to present cognitive and socio-affective factors that can have an impact on online learning, implications for interaction and the discourse used, and issues that teachers face in online and distance settings. The author concludes that pedagogies need to be rethought and introduces the reader to three concepts that can counteract some of the challenges and help to realize the potential of online learning – the learner–context interface, online teaching skills, and the pedagogy of multiliteracies.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2013 Distance Education in China
ISSN: 1009-458X
Extra Information: Chinese translation by Junhong Xiao.
Keywords: distance education; online environments; technologies; language learning and teaching; interaction; computer-mediated communication; affordances
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
Research Group: Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET)
Language & Literacies
Related URLs:
Item ID: 38408
Depositing User: Regine Hampel
Date Deposited: 13 Sep 2013 14:54
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2018 10:18
Share this page:

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU