Language as a bridge connecting formal and informal language learning through mobile devices

Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes (2015). Language as a bridge connecting formal and informal language learning through mobile devices. In: Wong, Lung-Hsiang; Milrad, Marcelo and Specht, Marcus eds. Seamless Learning in the Age of Mobile Connectivity. Singapore: Springer, pp. 281–294.




Informal learning plays an important role in language learning and mobile device ownership fuels its growth, thanks to the availability of educational apps, massive scale services delivered by network operators, and emerging designs for situated learning in authentic communication contexts beyond the traditional classroom. The chapter shows how connections between formal and informal language learning may be made through use of mobile technologies and it explores the mutual influence of these spheres, with particular reference to the role of language. Language is the focus of learning but also the means by which learning happens, which gives it a unique mediating and facilitative role. The potential for conversational language to act as a new bridge between formal and informal settings is explored. Motivations for language learning are changing and they will have an influence over what types of learning appeal to new generations of language learners of all ages. Faced with an abundance of resources on the internet and on their mobile phones, learners will often look for more structured environments and some degree of guidance. The opportunity is there to create learning environments and designs that incorporate effective use of mobile technologies but that also consider how new social contexts influence the language that is being used and learnt. An example of this is described with reference to the MASELTOV project which is creating innovative context-aware smartphone services for migrants and provides a fertile ground for imagining the future of language learning.

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