Telecollaboration for language learning

Learning a second language can bring many advantages, such as an increased likelihood of attaining further education, work and professional collaboration. The availability of free-to-use online communication tools has created new opportunities for authentic contexts for language learning and cultural learning, in the form of telecollaboration projects that connect learners in different locations. Telecollaboration enables a student to tutor another in their first language, while also learning their collaboration partner’s language as part of the same exchange. Such projects may be formally supported within an educational institution or informal. Telecollaboration has been found to improve learners’ communication skills, expand their vocabulary and grammar knowledge, and help them to appreciate other cultures and to use their second language accurately and appropriately. Records of telecollaboration may be useful for follow-up tuition or task improvement. The quality of the learning opportunities in telecollaboration is dependent on learners’ commitment and motivation, and learners and teachers may need to be trained in telecollaboration principles and strategies. Some learners have reported cross-cultural tensions when working on language tasks. Overall, telecollaboration can contribute to building a student-centred learning environment characterised by peer teaching, autonomous learning, and tailored learning based on learners’ personal interests and needs.

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