Language learning

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What is Language Learning?

  • Language learning (wikiLanguage acquisition)is the process by which the language capability develops in a human.It is not easy to give a definition to it since it contains too many things.
  • Go to the Language Learning Bookshelfto get a general idea about what is language learning.
  • to know more about language learning principles and guidelines for language learners Language learning priciples

Second language learning and Technology

This will be an overview page on technology used in language learning (including second language learning)

Everybody knows that learning a second language is not so easy, as a matter of fact it is a very intensive and time-consuming activity. One of the main techniques to improve second language abilities is to increase contacts with the target language. Obviously, the preferred method for acquiring linguistic competences in another language is immersing oneself where the target language is spoken, in its society and culture.

Unfortunately, the reality is far from this situation. Most second language acquisition (SLA) theorists would agree that formal L2 instruction is often unsuccessful because learners receive impoverished or insufficient input in the target language (Cummins 1998:19). Furthermore, many students are unable or unwilling to take advantage of study abroad opportunities. Therefore, the technology can be one tool to be used to get in contact with the target language.

There are many technological tools that can be useful to that end. More specifically, there are three important technological platforms that provide tools to assist language learning, in order of increasing interactivity:

Computer-based training (CBT)
  • Computer-assisted language learning (CALL)
Simulations and games
Computer-mediated-communication (CMC)
  • Blogs
  • Wikis
  • Services like Live Mocha that combines online lessons with foreign language partners around the world (recommended website !)

Computer mediated communication (CMC)

Computer mediated communication (CMC) provides a space where L2 students can transcend the spatial and temporal confines of the classroom via the Internet. This tool may be very useful in language learning especially because it offers students the highest level of interactivity because it permit one-on-one exchanges. In this way students can negotiate meaning with other learners and/or native speakers wherever they want, in class or at home. This means that they create new opportunities of increasing the amount and quality of inputs of the target language.

The advantages of online discussions over face-to-face exchanges have been well documented in the research literature:

  1. a text-based medium that amplifies students' attention to linguistic form (Warschauer 1997)
  2. a stimulus for increased written L2 production (Kern 1995)
  3. a less stressful environment for L2 practice (Chun 1998)
  4. a more equitable and non-threatening forum for L2 discussions, especially for women, minorities, and nonassertive personalities (Warschauer 1995 and 1997)
  5. an expanded access channel with possibilities for creating global learning networks (Cummins 1995)

As it has been already pointed out, on the net one can find many tools for either teaching or learning languages. The Internet has introduced many collaborative opportunities. Many tools, such as e-mail, discussion forums, chat, are by now familiar to many language teachers. While, recent innovations, as blogs, wikis and RSS feeds, may be less familiar but offer powerful opportunities for online collaboration for both language professionals and learners.

A) Blogs

Blogs are not only on-line journals, they can be used also in an interactive way. While most blogs are created and managed by individuals, group blogs are also possible. Blogs are easily linked and cross-linked, to create larger on-line communities.

There has been increasing interest in using blogs in education. They are well suited to serve as on-line personal journals for students. Language learners could use a personal blog, linked to a course, showing development over time. By publishing the blog on the Internet, the student has the possibility of writing for readers beyond classmates, not usually possible in discussion forums. Readers in turn can comment on what they're read. Self-publishing encourages ownership and responsibility on the part of students, who may be more thoughtful if they know they are writing for a real audience.

Sarah Guth has created a good example of a course blog for her English course at the University of Padua.

B) Wikis

Wikis is another collaborative environment which is more naturally suited for collaborative on-line projects. The original WikiWikiWeb project is dedicated to software programming and is quite extensive. The main difference between blogs and wikis is the fact that the first one can be highly personal, while the second one is intensely collaborative.

Their have a peculiar structure, a set of pages, linked in multiple ways to each other and to Internet resources and an open-editing system in which anyone can edit something (by clicking on the "edit this page" button). And as a very important aspect: no knowledge of HTML is needed.

Such a system only works with users serious about collaborating and willing to follow the group conventions and practices. Of course, Wiki sites, like any pages on the Web, can be secured with password protection or other means, but wikis have built-in safeguards against malicious behavior (page changes are logged, page deletions must be seconded to take effect). The goal of Wiki sites is to become a shared repository of knowledge, with the knowledge base growing over times. Unlike chat rooms, wiki content is expected to have some degree of seriousness and permanence.

Wiki sites can be created for specific projects with a set group of allowable users and provide an excellent collaborative environment, since changes are logged along with identification of the author.



On-line environments & examples


Focus on edutech & language learning
Other (that include edutech research)
More journals


  • Blake, Rober J. Technology, Multimedia, and Second Language Learning, A McGraw-Hill World Languages page, HTML
  • Campbell, Aaron Patric (2003), Weblogs for Use with ESL Classes, The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. IX, No. 2, February 2003. [1]
  • Campbell, Aaron (2005). Weblog Applications for EFL/ESL Classroom Blogging: A Comparative Review, Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language, December 2005, Volume 9, Number 3. HTML
  • Chun, Dorothy (1998). Using computer-assisted class discussion to facilitate the acquisition of interactive competence. In Swaffar et al., (eds.), 57-80.
  • Cummins, Jim (1998). e-Lective language learning: Design of a computer-assisted text-based ESL/EFL learning system. TESOL Journal, Spring: 18-21.
  • Dieu, Barbara; Aaron P. Campbell and Rudolf Ammann (2006), P2p And Learning Ecologies In Efl/Esl, Teaching English with Technology, A Journal for Teachers of English (ISSN 1642-1027), Vol. 6, Issue 3 (August 2006). HTML.
  • Ellis Rod(2003). Task-based Language Learning and Teaching, Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-442159-7. (See review)
  • Godwin-Jones, Bob (2005). Emerging Technologies - Messaging, Gaming, Peer-to-peer Sharing: Language Learning Strategies & Tools for the Millennial Generation, Language Learning & Technology. January 2005, Volume 9, Number 1, pp. 17-22, PDF
  • Godwin-Jones, Bob (2003). Emerging Technologies - Blogs and Wikis: Environments for On-line Collaboration. Language Learning & Technology, Vol. 7, No. 2, May 2003, pp. 12-16 HTML - PDF
  • Guth, Sarah, Personal Learning Environments for Language Lerning (2009). in Michael Thomas (eds.), Handbook of Research on Web 2.0 and Second Language, Idea Group Inc (IGI), ISBN 1605661902.
  • Kern, Richard (1995). Restructuring classroom interaction with networked computers: Effects on quantity and characteristics of language production. Modern Language Journal, 79: 457-476.
  • Oxford, Rebecca; Jill Shearin (1994). Language Learning Motivation: Expanding the Theoretical Framework, The Modern Language Journal, Vol. 78, No. 1. (Spring, 1994), pp. 12-28. HTML/PDF
  • Pinkman, Kathleen (2005). Using Blogs in the Foreign Language Classroom: Encouraging Learner Independence, The JALT CALL Journal, 2005, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 12-24 Copyright © CALL SIG (ISSN 1832-4215) - PDF
  • Steven L. Thorne and J. Scott Payne (2005), Evolutionary Trajectories, Internet-mediated Expression, and Language Education. CALICO Journal, 22 (3), pp 371-397. PDF
  • Warschauer, M. (1995). Comparing face to face and electronic discussion in the second language classroom. CALICO Journal 13(2&3): 7-26.
  • Warschauer, M. (1997). Computer-mediated collaborative learning. Modern Language Journal. 81(4): 470-481.
  • Michael Levy (?). Computer-assisted language learning- context and conceptualization. Oxford University Press ISBN 019823631X