E-learning, language education and the role of writing : a case study

Marzocco, Nadia (2012). E-learning, language education and the role of writing : a case study. EdD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000bfd6


This case study of a Swiss adult-learning institution investigates changing literacy practices and skills in adult foreign language education with relation to e-Iearning and with reference to the role of writing. Aspects concerning autonomous learning, teaching presence, and factors influencing the e-learning adoption-innovation process including access, pedagogical and policy-making implications were examined. The study uses both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies. It is underpinned by thinking in the New literacy Studies tradition and hopes to fill an existing gap in research, as much of the available literature seems to focus on children or higher education. The main results indicate that currently there is a mix of, on the one hand, low digitally skilled and reluctant teacher-adopters and, on the other, highly enthusiastic an~ digitally motivated ones, There is also an indication that access to simple infrastructure, with a relatively small investment, could produce good results in helping practitioners move along the path from innovation to adoption. Digital literacies and changes in literacy practices tend to put writing at the centre of communication. Writing is intended both as a subject area and as a means of communicating digitally, The results also reveal that the role of writing is closely linked to whether practitioners and learners alike consider the communicative value of writing to be on par with communication using the spoken word, i.e, whether collaborative writing in particular can be considered 'talk', The data points to a joint need by policy-makers and practitioners to acknowledge new digital literacy practices and to include them in a holistic way in local contexts and curricula, It also points to the need for institutions to take responsibility for providing links between research and practice and to provide integrated training in the field of e-learning and blended learning.

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