Language learning defined by time and place: A framework for next generation designs

Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes (2012). Language learning defined by time and place: A framework for next generation designs. In: Díaz-Vera, Javier E. ed. Left to My Own Devices: Learner Autonomy and Mobile Assisted Language Learning. Innovation and Leadership in English Language Teaching, 6. Bingley, UK: Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 1–13.




Language learning is changing in a mobile technology-rich landscape and under the influence of new learner practices stemming from personal perspectives on the best places for learning and from evolving uses of available time. The key aim of this chapter is to conceptualize the relation between the focus of language learning and the dimensions of time and place. What if language learning were to be defined by time and place? What would change? The chapter aims to assess what effect this might have on language learning in terms of curriculum or the design of learning activities. It draws on a series of studies led by the author, investigating how university students and other learners use mobile technologies to support their learning, and particularly on interview data from the most recent project which has focused on learners’ experiences with the use of mobile devices to support language learning. Learning activities undertaken by the interviewees were wide-ranging, with evidence of the importance of both easy learning and challenge. Specific findings relating to time and place of learning are reported. As mobile technology developments and the availability of mobile services and applications accelerate, educators and researchers need conceptual frameworks to enable them to interpret emerging learner practices. New language learning activities and services can be designed on the basis of this understanding. By reviewing individual learner experiences in learner-determined contexts, researchers and the language teaching community can work together to build up a picture of emergent practices and formulate the implications for the design of language teaching and learning now and in the future.

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