DESIGNING LANGUAGE ACTIVITIES FOR E-TANDEM LEARNING IN AN OPEN ONLINE LANGUAGE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT PROMOTING MEDIATION, INTERCULTURAL AND LINGUISTIC SKILLS
University of Macedonia (GREECE)
About this paper:
Conference name: 14th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 8-9 November, 2021
Location: Online Conference
Abstract:Nowadays, creating engaging digital language learning content in a rapidly changing multicultural and multilingual world is a big challenge as well as a very crucial skill for any language teacher. With the advent of emerging technologies, the possibilities for designing highly interactive and social language learning environments as well as digital language learning courses and activities are unlimited.
In the context of the Erasmus + OPENLang Network project, we have designed an open and collaborative language learning environment for Erasmus+ KA1 mobility participants which aims at bringing together Erasmus+ mobility participants who wish to improve their linguistic, intercultural, and mediation skills, as well as volunteer language teachers who are willing to act as mediators in this learning process by offering support to learners in their e-Tandem activities and Open Educational Resources. The OPENLang Network platform offers a set of services and one of its essential services is the e-Tandem Learning service.
Tandem learning is an autonomous, collaborative, and reciprocal method of foreign language learning that is well known even before the advent of the internet when it was carried out mostly face to face. Nowadays with the arrival of various Information and Communication Technologies, e-Tandem corresponds to the pedagogical and communicative characteristics of the face-to-face tandem and can successfully address learners’ linguistic, intercultural, and mediation needs. The E-Tandem Learning method occurs when one partner can teach the other a language even though it is not his/her mother tongue (or language in which he/she feels proficient). That means that each partner plays the role of the learner and tutor as well. The learning process can be carried out in different ways such as in groups or peer to peer, supported by a language teacher or not. The meeting sessions’ schedule and the curriculum can be quite flexible and tailored to the needs of the tandem partners. Another important characteristic of e-Tandem Learning is that it is an open and mutual exchange of knowledge about language and culture. Besides that, this learning process reinforces learners' mediation skills and helps them better reflect on how communication occurs in real life.
In order to support the OPENlang Network’s members to make the best use of the e-Tandem learning service either in peers or in groups’ mode, we have designed an e-Tandem curriculum that will address the linguistic and intercultural needs of language learners. The design of the e-Tandem curriculum comprises a set of activities and tools and it is based on a framework that was developed for this purpose and was inspired by prior research works such as the ACAD framework and the 7 Cs. The OPENLang Network e-Tandem service is under testing and its curriculum will be updated accordingly.
This paper will first outline what is the digital learning design and the e-Tandem language learning design. Then, it will present the methodology applied in order to design the framework for the development of the e-Tandem curriculum which aims at supporting language learners in fostering their linguistic, intercultural, and mediation skills. Finally, it will conclude with the challenges faced by the team to design the e-Tandem curriculum and it will present the future research steps.
Keywords: E-Tandem Learning, Learning Design, Language Learning, Mediation, Open Education.