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Language Acquisition is rooted in Blended Learning

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Marilyn Gould

on 25 February 2014

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Transcript of Language Acquisition is rooted in Blended Learning

Besides the general benefits of blended learning, Language acquisition is also supported by (Marsh, 2012)
an extended space to practice the target language
less stressful than the classroom environment
flexibility adjusted to the language learners needs
Asynchronous review of content provide students with time to prepare and learn on their own pace and schedule and allows collaboration
students can also develop listening and reading skills in their own time.
Practical Inquiry
Blended learning is framed by an inquiry approach to learning, which is problem or question driven learning. An inquiry approach involves critical discourse, self-direction, research methods, and reflection throughout the learning experience, and actively engages students in responsible learning activities. The practical inquiry model provides a frame for discussing facilitation strategies in blended learning.

This model consists of four phases:
1. Triggering Event:
Inciting curiosity and defining key question or issues
2. Exploration:
Exchanging and exploring perspectives
3. Integration:
Connecting ideas through reflection
4. Resolution/Application:
Applying new ideas and/or defending solutions

Garrison and Vaughn (2008) suggest educators consider including four phases in the learning process that reflect the practical inquiry model. These phases will be discussed in the following slides.

Blended Learning Benefits for Language Learners
Technology tools drive curriculum- Inquiry communities support language learning through content
Thoughtful integration of technology tools with classroom activities drives curriculum
Discussion boards make learning more equitable for language learners (Swan, 2005)
Discussion boards provide the "social presence" to build a Community of Inquiry (Swan, 2005)
"Social Presence" is "the degree to which a person is perceived as 'real' in communication" (Gunawardena & Zittle, 1997)
e-learning allows students to digest information at their own pace
Technology can be used as an effective teaching tool for language learners
Computer-assisted instruction (CAI) has been shown in a range of studies to facilitate language learning by increasing verbal interaction, reading ability and writing ability, and by promoting long-term recall of vocabulary (Ybara & Green, 2003)
Technology helps teachers support (English as a second language/English as a foreign language) students who may be at risk in large classes (Ybara & Green, 2003)
To improve verbal interaction, teachers should give language learners a language-rich environment where students are constantly engaged in language activities (Liaw, 1997)
Technology can facilitate this language-rich environment by acting as a tool to increase verbal exchanges
English language learner (ELL) students need to "hear, write, speak and read language", and technology provides the supplemental teaching tools to enhance classroom lessons (Ybara & Green, 2003)
Computer-assisted instruction can also be used to teach vocabulary by
According to Kang & Dennis (1995), "Any attempt to treat vocabulary learning as learning of isolated facts certainly will not promote real vocabulary knowledge"
Why Invest in Blended Learning?
Case, A. (2011, January 11). Amber Case: We are all cyborgs now. Retrieved from
The Benefits of Blended Learning on Language Acquisition
2. Face-to-Face Session
We are all Cyborgs Now
In her TED talk, Amber Case argues humans have evolved into a new species of cyborgs due to the influence and usefulness of modern technology such as computers, tablets and mobile phones. We experience “ambient intimacy” with the communication devices we use and feel great distress when those devices are lost. She points out people are connected like never before, and the devices we use have become extensions of our mental selves. She sees the relationship between humans and technology not as distractions from the real world, but rather as way to increase our “humanness and our ability to connect with each other, regardless of geography” (2011). This new context for humanity demands a new way of thinking about teaching and learning that carefully blends both the real and the virtual worlds. Garrison and Vaughn describe blended learning as “the thoughtful fusion of face-to-face and online learning experiences,” and state that blending the strengths of both the face-to-face and online learning demands, “a fundamental redesign that transforms the structure of, and approach to, teaching and learning” (2008). If done correctly, blended learning increases both teacher and student satisfaction (Albrecht, 2006) promotes student engagement (Vaughan & Garrison, 2006), and is more effective than classroom-based teaching alone (Marquis, 2004). This poster presents a framework, principles and guidelines that can be used to redesign courses to take full advantage of the potential of blended learning. It then explores the effects blended learning on second language acquisition.
Blended Learning
Language Acquisition Developments
1. Before a Face-to-Face Session
3. Between Face-to-Face Session
4. Preparation for the Next Face-to-Face Session
Blended Learning Defined
Albrecht, B. (2006). Enriching student experience through blended learning. Research bulletin, 12, EDUCAUSE Center for applied research. http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ecar_so/erb/ERB0612.pdf
Case, A. (2011, January 11). Amber Case: We are all cyborgs now. Retrieved from
Garrison, D. R. & Vaughan, N. D. (2008). Blended learning in higher education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Gunawardena, C. (1995). Social presence as a predictor of satisfaction within a computer mediated conferencing environment. American Journal of Distance Education 11(3): 8-26.
Hinkelman, D. 2005. Blended Learning: Issues driving an end to Laboratorybased call JALT Hokkaido 9: 17-31.
Kang, S. H. & Dennis, J. R. (1995). The effects of computer-enhanced vocabulary lessons on achievement of ESL grade school children. Computers in the Schools, 11(3), 25-35.
Kennedy, T. J. (2006). Language learning and its impact on the brain: Connecting language learning with the mind through content- based instruction. Foreign Language Annals, 39, 471–486.
Liaw, M. L. (1997). An analysis of ESL children's verbal interaction during computer book reading. Computers in the Schools, 13 (3/4), 55-73.
Lyster, R. (2007). Learning and teaching languages through content: A counterbalanced approach. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Pub.
Marquis, C. (2004). WebCT survey discovers a blend of online learing and classroom-based teaching is the most effective form of learning today. WebCB.com. Retrieved April 7, 2004, from http://www.webct.com/service/ViewContent?contentID=19295938
Marsh, D. (2012). Blended Learning: Creating Learning Opportunities for Language Learners. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from: http://www.cambridge.org/other_files/downloads/esl/booklets/Blended-Learning-Combined.pdf
Owen, Hazel. (2013, October 22). Personalized learning for English language learners at school in New Zealand. Retrieved from
Swan, K. (2002). Building communities in online courses: the importance interaction. Education Communication and Information, 2(1) 23-49.
Vaughan, N. D. & Garrison, D. R. (2006). How blended learning can support a faculty development community of inquiry. Journal of asynchronous learning networks, 10(4), 139-152.
Video Marketing Skills. (2013, May). Blended learning in 2 minutes and 38 seconds. Retrieved from (itslearning marketing) at http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5txjfv2q0c&list=PLvd1nMwqSA02ma8Jcjvm7BuJjhwZ37
Watwood, B., Nugent, J. & Deihl, W. (2009, May). Building from content to community: [Re]thinking the transition to online teaching and learning. (White paper). Center for Teaching Excellence. Richmond, Virginia.
Ybarra, R. & Green, T. (2003, March). Using technology to help ESL/EFL students develop language skills. The Internet TESL Journal, 9(3). Retrieved from http://iteslj.org/Articles/Ybarra-Technology.html
The first phase of practical inquiry in the blended learning context occurs before a face-to-face session and is intended to plant the seeds for triggering events that will be more thoroughly defined within the face-to-face session. The primary purpose of the before the face-to-face session is to establish communication with the learners so that they are clear about the rationale and expectations for the assignment. This assignment can take the form of group e-mails, discussion board posts, or any other communication methods available to the teacher and learners. The advantage of the before face-to-face session is that it allows students to listen to or view course related material outside of class time, at their own pace, and as often as required to gain understanding.
Access to Technology
Financial Disparity
IT Literacy
Handicap students (physically or visually impaired)
The second phase of the practical inquiry model in the blended learning context is the face-to-face session. These sessions provide opportunities to define triggering event(s), explore learning opportunities and take steps toward integrating new knowledge into students’ previous knowledge. These sessions should not be used for information transmission such as lecturing. Instead, they should be seen as opportunities to diagnose student misconceptions, foster critical dialogue, and support peer instruction. Students should be encouraged to share and compare their perspectives and experiences related to the question or issue being studied. The face-to-face sessions are also good opportunities to start or discuss projects, to help students understand expectations and establish student responsibilities and action items for learning tasks.
Face-to-Face Session
Before Face-to-Face Session
The third phase of the practical inquiry model in the blended learning context is the between face-to-face sessions. These sessions should be used to provide opportunities for the students to further explore and reflect on course-related activities. Instructors should post a summary and a list of follow up items from the previous face-to-face session. The inclusion of a “Frequently Asked Questions” thread in the course discussion board shares the responsibility for answering questions and problem solving course-related issues between instructors and students. Students can also be tasked with moderating and summarizing a selected online discussion for a set time. Both synchronous tools like Elluminate Live! and asynchronous tools like Blackboard can be used during this phase to support student collaboration outside of the classroom. Toward the end of this phase, another related inquiry through-blended learning cycle is introduced with a new learning activity such as the posting of a Web-based reading and survey or quiz, which prepares students for the next face-to-face session.
Between Face to Face Sessions
Preparation For the Next Face-to-Face Session
The loop between the online and face-to-face components of a blended learning course is closed in the next face-to-face session. This process can begin with a class discussion at the beginning of the face-to-face session that addresses students’ questions or concerns. Student moderators can give oral summaries of online discussions, and students can be asked to present projects in progress, which clarifies assignment expectations and consolidates student learning. An inquiry-through-blended-learning cycle ends with a brief wrap-up discussion, including final thoughts or comments. It then moves into the next related question or topic, which in turn triggers the next related inquiry cycle.
Community of Inquiry Model
As the use of communication devices become a more significant part teaching and learning, educators have worked to find a model or tool that maximizes the potential of Blended learning in educational contexts. The dominant model that has emerged is Garrison’s Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework. This model presents three elements essential to an educational transaction—cognitive presence, social presence and teaching presence. Cognitive presence is described as a “multivariate measure of significant learning that results from the cyclical process of a practical inquiry.” Examples of this may be expressions of discomfort felt by individuals when presented with a problem, the thought processes used to explore the problem and/or expressions of insight and or knowledge that are gained as the problem is solved. Social presence is described as “discourse that promotes positive affect, interaction, and cohesion. It is the kind of communication that builds community and comfort in an online learning context context. It encourages participants to take risks and express new ideas. Teaching presence pertains to communications that have to do with course “organization, design, discourse facilitation and direct instruction.” Generally, teaching presence is the sphere of, but not limited to, the teacher, who sets forth tasks, readings, and deadlines, but who also guides discussions and interactions in productive directions and adds expert knowledge. (Garrison & Vaughn, 2008)
Technology Aids in Language Acquisition
Blended Learning Improves Language Learning
ELLINZ (English Language learning in New Zealand Blended Learning Program) is pedagogically designed to meet students diverse needs
Hosted by a Moodle site where students are supported by e-tutors in F-to-F and/or asynchronous sessions
Provides flexible learning that doesn't cognitively overload students
Provides scaffolding through engaging multi-media activities, which gives students opportunities to practice language skills
Helps students and teachers build a Community of Inquiry (CoI)
Social area included where students can leave comments for each other and allows students to build e-portfolios of their work
End goal is for learning to become less teacher led and more student led by slowly removing scaffolding activities so students become less dependent on their teachers
Feedback shows students loved the collaborative learning and teachers loved the access to resources
At risk students loved the blended learning program-their behaviour greatly improved
The ELLINZ program is an example of a successful blended learning language program

Inquiry communities give place to collaborative environments in which subject matter is used to provide language learners with "enriched opportunities for processing and negotiating the target language through content" (Lyster, 2007)

Real life scenarios can better be represented in inquiry communities because they provide students with experiences and the need for purposeful communications where rich discussions occur ultimately increasing language fluency. (Kennedy, 2006)

Inquiry also nurtures the relationship between language and cognitive development (Kennedy, 2006)

This poster reviews language acquisition through blended learning by adding on-line environments to traditional face-to-face education. When used efficiently, blended learning increases both teacher and student satisfaction (Albrecht, 2006), promotes student engagement (Vaughan & Garrison, 2006), and is more effective than classroom-based teaching alone (Marquis, 2004). Particularly for language learners, blended learning provides a space to preview, discuss, practice, and reinforce the target language in a safe environment that can enrich students' face-to-face interactions. The on-line environment increases the number of language learning technologies that students can access on their own including videos, podcasts, texts, blogs, etc. Inquiry communities within online environments provide a cognitive presence from exposure to content in various formats, collaboration in a community of peers (asynchronously or synchronously), and access to formative assessment delivered by instructors' feedback. Exposure to inquiry communities increases motivation to use the target language accessing real life contexts with stimulus for purposeful communication accompanied by cognitive development, which gives place to excellent immersion or bilingual learning scenarios (Lyster, 2007). Limitations of blended learning are mainly related to financial disparity, access to technology, computer literacy and physical impairments. Blended learning is recommended as an excellent curriculum choice for language acquisition.
The COHERE Report on Blended Learning (2012) explores the current status of blended learning in Canadian higher education, provides examples of innovative and successful practices, and discusses challenges and barriers to blended learning. The report indicates that the blending of online and face-to-face class time have resulted in innovative practices, improved teaching and learning, greater flexibility for learners, greater student satisfaction, improved student performance, a confluence of literacies for the knowledge economy, and optimization of resources. While blended learning has the potential to transform post secondary education, the authors of the report contend this transformation will not occur without a transition from individual faculty and department blended learning initiatives to successful and sustained integration at the institutional level. An unclear definition of blended learning, a lack of pedagogical and technological support and limited resources and infrastructure are also cited as obstacles. Blended learning has the potential to greatly improve post-secondary education, but without a clear understanding of the potential benefits of blended learning in terms of teaching and learning perspectives and supporting both faculty and students to gain required technology literacy, post-secondary institutions will continue to see digital technologies used to supplement and duplicate current practices rather than to create innovative practices.
Post-Secondary Report on Blended Learning
"Blended learning is the thoughtful fusion of face-to-face and online learning experiences. The basic principle is that face-to-face oral communication and online written communication are optimally integrated such that the strengths of each are blended into a unique educational purpose" (Garrison & Vaughn, 2008). In a language context, "blended is not a single approach or a separate alternative to on-line/classroom environments, but rather a flexible continuum of various language learning environments. In such a paradigm, there can be no definition of an "online task" that is separate from a "classroom task". The aim of blended learning is then to span this continuum, defining and describing tasks that encompass the different environments" (Hinkelman, 2005, p. 19).
Blended Learning is next big thing!
Mix of F-to-F learning + Instruction= Blended Learning
Key to Implementation = Getting right mix for your classroom
Allows teacher to spend more time with students
More efficient use of classroom time
Students determine when, where & how they learn = Individualized learning opportunities
"Blended learning...is slowly altering higher education in Canada."
Digital Divide Could Affect Blended Learning
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