AN INTERNATIONAL COLLABORATIVE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT: DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION FOR LANGUAGE EDUCATION
New approaches in language learning have shifted focus towards developing a socially active learning environment. The aim of this shift is to help students become involved in the types of authentic social discourse which they will later encounter outside the classroom. As a socially-oriented approach to language learning, language educators have accelerated the adoption of computer supported collaborative learning (CSCL) in order to contextualise the language learning environment. The advent of social media and social computing means that collaboration is no longer limited to working together in the same physical classroom; language learners can collaborate with target language speakers whilst participating in language classes in their home institution. With appropriate tools and activities, authentic social discourse and communities can be brought into the classroom, and language learners can enhance their learning in a socially active environment.
The aim of the proposed study is to design and implement an international collaborative class and to explore how students perceive their language learning in this international collaborative project. The class has been specifically designed to promote social interaction for language learning through project-based activities in which students work in cross-institutional teams via social media in and outside of the classroom. Language leaners from two large universities in Japan and Australia are participating in this study for a period of 2 semesters. The study has 43 students in total and 19 Japanese participants are being examined closely. The study is a qualitative case study, follows the principles of action research design, and data include participants’ weekly reflective online surveys, observation, and interviews with participants. In order to promote language socialisation supported by CSCL and its integration into the curriculum, it is important to explore how students perceive their language learning in CSCL.
The paper concludes with some critical reflections on the improvement of pedagogical design and practice of an international collaborative learning environment for second language education. The findings contribute to the development of language learning teaching communities.