OUTLINE Context and problems to solve How we attempted to solve the problems - Theoretical background - Implementation of the blended learning system Findings (April 2009) Generalisation?
1. CONTEXT 600 students in Year 1 at University Students in the Applied Language section - two foreign languages on top of English: Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic, Chinese or Japanese - courses in marketing, accountancy, fiscal law, international trade, business economics, human resources, and communication and computer science Identified problem:60% fail in their first year
2.1 Theoretical background BICSCALP PerformanceMastery To understand & to produce
2.1.1 A holistic approach (D. Little) ListeningReading Writingspeaking Communicative Language use
2.1.2 A constructivist answer Each individual is responsible for the construction of his own knowledge (Bruner) There is no such thing as absolute truths but only working hypotheses that have to be experience tested (Kelly) Construction of knowledge = social interactions +. Learner involvment
2.1.3 Language acquisition Input Content Interaction Communication Tasks Output Language production
2.2 Implementing a task-based approach A task-based approach will enable the learner to take an active part in the construction of his/her own knowledge and to interact with other learners Combine macro-tasks = real life activities such as scenarios, problem solving tasks and projects (Ellis 2003) and micro- tasks = practise and to be carried out individually to cater for personal needs.
2.2.1 Implementing a blended-learning system Using technology will greatly help to make learning enjoyable and memorable and to cater for individual needs. Distance learning : resources available on the learning platform (Moodle) lectures, resources, Internet links. Tasks instructions and planning. communication tools (forums => Instructions – discussion - help) Evaluation and assessment A virtual resource centre
2.2.2 Organisation Learners work in teams, hand in their assignments and meet a teacher in small groups (15) once a week. Teachers work in teams, and share the work and their experience: they have a space on the platform to that purpose.
2.2.3 Advantages Smaller groups = more efficient learning Contact with teachers made easier More practice (in speaking or writing) Better preparation for adult life: taking on responsibilities, autonomy, teamwork, using ICT. A resource centre to help students in need and to motivate the most successful ones. Dedicated teachers Adavantages for lesser taught languages => ability to reach a wider audience.
3 Findings April 2009 Student profile660 Students in Business English year 1 GenderWomen: 66% Social originMiddle class 25% Lower middle 22% Working class15% Majoring inEconomics 32% Literature 27% Accountancy 16% Sciences 11% Level in EnglishA1: 3.69% A2 : 29.02% B1 : 41.16% B2 : 20.05% C1 : 6.07%
3.1 Student involvement Level in English% of students who never log in % inside each category A A B B C1.3513
4 A paradigm shift Former paradigmNew paradigm INSTRUCTIONAUTONOMY TRANSMISSONCONSTRUCTION COLLECTIVE LEARNING INDIVIDUAL AND INTERACTIVE LEARNING
4.1 GENERALISATION/ Conclusion Using a blended learning system Helps to cope with large groups of students AND with mixed ability groups The various educational cultures should be taken into account and explored before implementing such a system. Developing a database of significant items in university educational culture might prove useful (pedagogy, the respective roles of teachers and learners, materials, institutional issues etc.).