1 Stockholm University (SWEDEN)
2 Mid Sweden University (SWEDEN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2019 Proceedings
Publication year: 2019
Pages: 553-557
ISBN: 978-84-09-08619-1
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2019.0218
Conference name: 13th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 11-13 March, 2019
Location: Valencia, Spain
Large groups of refugees have arrived in Sweden during the last years with a peak in 2015 when there were around 1.3 million asylum applications. Many of the newly arrived are still not yet integrated into the Swedish society and language skills is a key factor for a successful inclusion and integration process. There is a need for new digital language learning tools, not least for informal self-learning. The aim of the study is to describe and discuss the development and evaluation of an audio-visual online tool for informal language learning as a complement to formal language training. The main research question to answer was: How should a conversation/communication tool be designed in order to facilitate integration of newly arrived Swedes?

Action research was used as the overall research strategy in study that intended to develop and evaluate a digital, audiovisual, communication tool which should be able to be used as a complement to existing language education. The evaluation of the tool was conducted as a qualitative investigation where data were gathered in a mix of usability tests, observations and interviews. Main informants were 12 students from three separate courses on Swedish for newly arrived. Since the group of informants constitute an exposed group, personal details have been kept as anonymous as possible. Used programming languages, frameworks and libraries were JavaScript, React, Redux, Node.js and Socket.IO.

From the results of the study, it emerged that the Facebook log in worked, but there were users who wanted alternative options. Far from all respondents have a Facebook account, and some of them do not want to register for an account. Many participant perceived that a chat with automated translation of messages would give them support during a conversation. Introduction of mechanisms that are common in games, in this case the accumulation of points, can increase exposure of the service, but respondents were hesitating to share their results in social media.. Respondents also expressed a desire to filter conversation partners by gender and interests. To summarise, there is a need for fine-tuning the design, but the big question that remains is the one about future maintenance and stewardship.
Language learning, Web based communication, Informal online learning, Newly arrived refugees, Inclusion.