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OLLReN Events

OLLReN -ELTSIG Online conference on research into using technology for language learning

Report on OLLReN/LTSIG online conference

What’s really happening in online language learning?

Around 230 academics and practitioners logged into the first online conference organised by the Online Language Learning Research Network (OLLReN), a partnership initiative from Cambridge University Press and Laureate International Universities, with support from IATEFL’s Learning Technologies SIG.  Twelve presentations were given by researchers who have been investigating the use of online technology for language learning.  It was an impressive global collaboration, with researchers from New Zealand, China, Japan, Kazakhstan, the UK, the USA and Uruguay. 

We learned from Laura Patsko and Chris Johnson about spoken interaction in synchronous online classes and what impacted on that interaction.   Joseline Castanos gave an in-depth analysis of factors affecting completion rates on online courses.  Paula Charbonneau-Gowdy focused on the online learning experience from the learner’s point of view, and what supports or hinders that. Nicky Hockly gave an overview of research in this area before giving a more detailed examination of different structures of online language course – from a formal course to a MOOC.  Silvia Laborde analysed her experience of blended language courses in Uruguay to identify five key pillars in effective blended learning.

On the second day, Bill Zhi Quan gave a detailed look at how mobile learning needs to be treated differently from other e-learning. Brett Milliner gave an insightful report on his experiments in Japan with extensive reading on mobile devices.  Mark Feng Teng then examined how different approaches to the flipped classroom impacted on learning.  Phil Montgomery analysed his experiences with Slack for a course on leadership, in English, and found it supported an appropriately collaborative approach to learning.  Nik Peachey’s presentation looked at online courses with live 121 tutoring, and investigated data on what made such courses effective.   And finally Evelina Galaczi gave a presentation on automated assessment from Cambridge English, and how it can be integrated into learning programmes. 

The event was received very well – here some examples of comments from attendees:

  • I love the fact that there are so many participants from all over the world. The content is super-interesting.
  • Engaging presentation, a lot of insight into subject presented, solid ground for reflection
  • Really liked how the participants were very informed about the topic and backed up their opinions with facts. Very interactive, and gave a chance for questions and comments.
  • The topics and the speakers were great. I really loved most of the sessions. Hope this turns into a regular annual learning technologies event.

Watch this space for details of future OLLReN events.

DAY 1 - October 6, 2016

Laura Patsko, Chris Johnson
Look who’s talking: An analysis of spoken interaction in synchronous online classrooms

Joseline Castaños
Understanding Attrition among English as a Foreign Language Teachers in Online Training

Paula Charbonneau-Gowdy
Exploring the experiences of learners in a large scale distance language learning program offered in countries across Latin America

Nicky Hockly
Overview of Research on Online & Blended Language Learning

Silvia Laborde
Five Pillars of Designing and Delivering Hybrid Courses to Adults

DAY 2  - October 7, 2016

Zhi Quan
Distinctive mobile learning: How it is different and how it can make a difference
Apologies - due to technical difficulties, this session was not recorded.

Brett Milliner
One year of extensive reading on smartphones: A report
Apologies - due to technical difficulties, this session was not recorded.

Mark Feng Teng
Flipping the Classroom and Chinese Tertiary Level EFL Students' Academic Performance and Satisfaction

Philip Montgomery
Educational Leadership and Language Learning on Slack

Nik Peachey
Learning a language online - How we can ensure quality?

Evelina Galaczi
Automated assessment and integrating learning and technology