Electronic Learning in Foreign Language Education

Deutsch als Fremd- und Zweitsprache

Projektleitung: Klaus-Börge Boeckmann

Projektlaufzeit: 2006 - 2008

This proposal addresses an important recent development of foreign language education and indeed a number of other subject areas. The integration of new media systems, in particularup-to-date information and communication technology (ICT, e.g. personal computers) in formal and non-formal education processes. This development is due to the positive impactthat ICT can have on a number of aspects ranked highly in contemporary education theory, such as:- The need to prepare students and independent learners for using computers in a variety of professional and private settings. Because these skills are becoming so important forensuring participation in an economy and a society increasingly based on ICT they are often referred to as computer literacy.- The pressure especially on state-funded education systems to become more efficient and more flexible by cutting cost without decreasing the quality of the tuition, and also byoffering a range of education and training activities of a modular kind to enable learners to take advantage of learning opportunities at different stages in their life cycle – in otherwords: life long learning. – The prevalence of constructivist learning theories which do not see learning as a processof learners consuming information, but of them interacting with the learning content and structuring it according to their own cognitive needs by taking a lot of aspects of thelearning process into their own hands (selection of content, sequencing, selfassessment…), the keyword being learner autonomy.In foreign language education there are several additional factors, especially through the use of the internet which enable teachers and learners to access real time authentic language andcultural information with ease. Also, the technical developments which enable computers to handle extensive audio and video data have made ICT much more attractive for the use inforeign language learning and teaching. On the other hand, the pedagogical quality of these ICT-based language learning tools lagsbehind the technical development and many do not attain the educational goals that modern language education theories are setting. Instead they are often based on simplistic learningmodels (pattern drills, linear learning progressions) that have long been abandoned in conventional (i.e. non-ICT-based) language education. Additionally, many are notconvincingly using the opportunities the new media provide and resort to traditional task formats which can be done just as well using old media such as paper and pencil – in these cases, there is no added value in the use of ICT.