Language Learning Landscapes

The applications of educational technology to language learning are long-established and deep-rooted, as acronyms such as CALL (Computer-Assisted Language Learning) TELL (Technology Enhanced Language Learning) and MALL (Mobile-Assisted Language Learning) all testify.

Active cross-faculty collaboration in these areas is exemplified by the Erasmus- funded Evaluate project, where researchers from the OU’s Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Systems and Learning and Teaching Innovationare working with European colleagues to measure the benefits of virtual exchange for studying foreign languages and cultures. OpenTEL researchers’ interests also embrace mobile learning and the evaluation of language learning apps, as well as the application of  MOOCs and Open Educational Resources to language and intercultural learning.

Widespread use of social media, mobile apps and participation in open online courses are changing how people learn languages and how they acquire and exchange cultural knowledge. This new reality expands, supplements, and sometimes poses a challenge to formal language learning. Research in this theme considers how communication and learning take place in diverse and dynamic networks and communities, using multiple digital resources, across a wide range of media. These approaches can widen access for populations in need of rapid language learning such as migrants, refugees, mobile workers and international students.

Other developing threads of interest include the use of analytics and eye-tracking, to study online language learner behaviour. Finally, multimodal transcription and analysis are used to explore meaning-making in visual and virtual online environments.

Key people