Life-Long Language Learning Strategies for a Brave New Digital World: Collaborative Design and Delivery of an Online Module

Life-Long Language Learning Strategies for a Brave New Digital World: Collaborative Design and Delivery of an Online Module

Marion Sadoux (University of Nottingham – Ningbo, China)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9618-9.ch033
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The focus of this case study is to report and reflect on the design, implementation and fine tuning of the Peer Supported Online Language Learning Exchange module, known more simply as OLLE (Online Language Learning Exchange) which was developed in 2013 and is delivered in collaboration with students at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China. This module seeks to give students in all three University Campuses (United Kingdom, China, and Malaysia) the opportunity to continue to learn a foreign language together, blending, where this is geographically possible, face to face learning opportunities with online learning. It strongly emphasizes language learning as a lifelong learning skill and seeks in particular to develop students' skills in learning to learn a language in digital realms and to develop a strong set of digital literacies for language learning.
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The Online Language Learning Exchange (Olle): Preliminary Considerations

Language Learning Strategies in a Brave New Digital World

The digital age has brought along a plethora of new exciting avenues to learn, teach and practice a foreign language: from the access to seemingly unlimited authentic multimedia resources in almost any target language, to the availability anywhere anytime, at the click of a button, of a native speaker with whom one may communicate for free, in writing or virtually face to face (or voice to voice). One could easily say that learning a foreign language has never been so easy, so accessible, so exciting, so enticing. Learning outside or without a classroom has also become a potentially much more feasible achievement from anywhere with an internet connection. Yet, no research points to a substantial improvement in foreign language competence, few teachers would say that learners today progress faster than they did some twenty five years ago - in truth as Rebecca Oxford points out, language learning effectiveness, off or online, rarely occurs by magic but rather as the result of a complex interplay of parameters, among which the development of relevant language learning strategies is an important contributor to success (O'Malley and Chamot 1990; Oxford 1990, 1996; Cohen and Macaro 2007; Griffiths 2008). Following on from the questions raised in language learning strategy research since the early 1980's, OLLE, the online course reviewed in this paper, seeks to explore how one could support learners in developing their panoply of personally relevant digital language learning strategies and in empowering themselves to make the most of the affordances of digital learning. Can an online platform with media rich instructional content and collaborative co-construction of knowledge be a successful and sustainable option?

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