Task design for audiographic conferencing: promoting beginner oral interaction in distance language learning.
Computer Assisted Language Learning, 18(5),
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This paper presents the challenges involved in designing a full set of online tutorial materials for a beginners' Spanish course for distance language learners utilising an online audiographic conferencing VLE for synchronous oral interaction. Although much has been written about task design and task-based learning and teaching (TBLT) in language learning (Johnson, 2003; Klapper, 2003; Ellis, 2000; Nunan, 1989, among others), the shift to an audiographic Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) medium presents a number of challenges to task design which are only just beginning to be documented (Hampel 2003, Hampel & Baber 2003, Hampel & Hauck 2004). Here we will discuss what the challenges are for the design and implementation of activities suited to the development of oral skills in a foreign language in such an environment in the light of current theories of SLA (Skehan, 2003; Doughty & Long, 2003; Doughty, 2000; Long, 1996), task design, and CALL (Warschauer, 1997; Chapelle 1998) and how those challenges were met for the production of a full set of materials for a beginners' Spanish distance learning course at the Open University using a tool that had been deemed unsuitable for that level (KÃ¶tter, 2001). We will also present the findings of the developmental testing of a sample of these activities and recommend a model for tasks in an audiographic VLE to promote oral interaction at beginner level.
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