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Online Language Lessons – Idea Bank

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It looks like more and more language teaching is being done on the web. Let me summarize what online language teachers have on offer, what they do or could do in theory.  I will list several examples from Curtis J. Bonk & Ke Zhang’s (2008) Empowering Online Learning, pp.  62-63.

Types of resources & activities for online language learners

  • online flashcards
  • electronic dictionaries, glossaries & corpora
  • webinars
  • videoconferencing
  • presentations / slide shows
  • simulations
  • webquests
  • mazes
  • grammar lessons
  • vocabulary lessons
  • voice games
  • word games
  • interactive speaking games
  • news portals
  • topic-specific websites
  • podcasts
  • videos
  • reading exercises
  • listening quizzes & exercises
  • collaborative writing tasks
  • digital storytelling
  • blogging
  • text & voice chat sessions
  • asynchronous discussions
  • pronunciation labs
  • progress reports
  • interactive quizzes
  • online conversation classes
  • placement tests
  • self-paced lessons
  • peer-to-peer practice conversations
  • expert mentoring, etc

What else is out there? Is there anything on the list you either have tried and liked or hated, or would like to try?

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I wonder what storytelling is all about? Couldn’t you elaborate on that?
    Being a student, I don’t like word games. My guess is that this sort of exercises doesn’t improve neither accuracy nor fluency. I am sorry for having spoken my mind.
    What I would love to know is which of these activities will help to improve accuracy in general and in speaking in particular.

  • it is no good that I don’t have a chance for editing my own comments before they are accepted.
    What I am trying to figure out is what the best , the shortest and the most painless way is for improving accuracy especially in speaking. Is it about either speaking a lot with a partner whoever she/he is or retelling stories on his own (I am not quite sure but it seems to me that it (the latter) could help as a learner tries to memorize and reproduce authentic speech) or listening to authentic materials or doing special type exercises. What’s on your mind? Could you elaborate on that , too. I am interested in.

  • Right, perhaps I should elaborate on the huge benefits of playing word games one day:)

    As for improving accuracy, you should bear in mind that it is 3-dimensional, it is not about grammar only, but about vocabulary and pronunciation as well. Since different people encounter different problems studying English, there is no “one size fits all” technique or approach that would help everyone. Speakers of Tagalog find one set of English phonemes difficult, whereas speakers of Polish struggle with another one. The grammar and vocabulary mistakes that speakers of different languages make are different although there are some similarities. And it is the types of mistakes that should inform your approach to studying a foreign language.

    More than that, accuracy is not a pure substance in metaphorical terms, but rather a blend of a variety of subskills, which means that you have to address each of them separately. It is not only your L1, but also your age, gender, frame of mind and level of education to name a few that have a direct bearing on whether you succeed or fail in studying a foreign language. The bottom line is that it is up to the learner to try as many different techniques as possible and choose the ones that work best for her. I would even go as far as say that sometimes you might want to change your learning style to break through the glass ceiling over the intermediate plateau.

  • I am curious to get to know how both gender and age influence the success in studying a foreign language. Well, I am of opinion that it is the gender that is not essential.

  • I am afraid you are wrong in your assumption. Men and women speak differently, which has been confirmed by research. In theory, there should be separate coursebooks for men and women:) Some of the most notable differences are in vocabulary and sentence structure, and the greatest differences are in colloquial usage. To make matters worse, it is not only so that men and women speak differently, but there are also differences between men’s and women’s language in different cultures, which makes the whole thing incredibly complex.

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