Mobile and Personal Learning for Newcomers to a City

Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes (2020). Mobile and Personal Learning for Newcomers to a City. Electronic Journal of Foreign Language Teaching, 17(1) pp. 93–103.



Growing numbers of newcomers arrive in cities across the globe as temporary visitors or for longer periods of time. They often face communication challenges and need to learn a new language or improve their knowledge quickly. The article considers the domain of language learning for social integration and inclusion, what it means to be a newcomer to a city, and the role of mobile technologies in advancing a more personal approach to language learning. Mobile learning research explores innovative and practical solutions to the specific challenges faced by newcomers, and it revives, develops or reinterprets pedagogical methods and underlying learning theories. To illustrate this, three research projects conducted at The Open University, UK, focusing on migrants’ learning with mobile apps, are presented and reflected upon. Mobile learning experiences deliberately designed for newcomers to a city can support them in everyday language learning and in their efforts to explore their new environment. The article includes suggestions as to what seems to be missing from current apps for newcomers. It considers relevant issues and future directions for the design of mobile apps and services for this diverse target group.

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