TO ICT OR NOT TO ICT: DEVELOPING WRITING SKILLS IN AN EFL PROFESSIONAL TRAINING COURSE
Universidade Católica Portuguesa (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Conference name: 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2018
Location: Palma, Spain
Abstract:In the last decade, technology has grown by leaps and bounds and with it, the widespread usage of
smaller, lighter and cheaper devices (computers, tablets, phones), the processing of huge amounts of data, use of social networks, online collaboration tools, sophisticated online gaming and adaptive learning software.
At the same time, the application of Information and communication technologies (ICTs) in learning environments has contributed to an ever-increasing pace of change and the constant creation and application of new knowledge. Although ICTs have taken on a more significant role within EFL language learning contexts, they have created new opportunities as well as new challenges and uncertainty for learners.
In Portugal, more and more professional teaching is delivered in a blended or e-learning format. Non-digital natives have no choice but to adapt if they don’t want to be excluded from training courses. While information-age society expects adult students to possess these skills and many of them use new technologies in their personal lives, there are still those who are challenged by the task of learning within an ICT environment.
This paper examines the effectiveness of using Blended Learning (BL) features in an EFL training course to develop essential e-mail writing skills in a professional environment by comparing two different professional learning contexts.
One of the groups depends on Moodle as a learning management system (LMS) to introduce several learning contents, such as abbreviations, spelling, capitalization and useful phrases - essential elements for acquisition of email writing skills. The methodology of the second group is based on traditional Face-to-Face interaction in which students have controlled and guided writing activities which develop their use of vocabulary and syntax. Both groups have access to the same set of English usage exercises and a written assignment.
The overall aim of this qualitative and exploratory research is to assess whether and how ICT contributes to the acquisition of new writing skills. There are still many questions in relation to how widely ICT is employed and how effective it is in developing all aspects of communicative competence, especially within the adult professional training environment.
Keywords: Education, ICT, EFL, writing skills, b-learning.