Blended Learning: Flexibility in English Language Teaching
The Language Development for Academic Study (LDAS) module aims to equip international Foundation Year (FY) students with the key reading, writing and vocabulary skills necessary for a successful undergraduate academic study. International students come with diverse and varied needs ranging from different cultural/educational backgrounds, learning needs, language levels, age, prior experiences and motivations, all of which make it difficult for teachers to personalise their learning (Langlois, 1997 cited in Collis and Moonen, 2002). Moreover, these needs cannot be met concurrently using traditional classroom teaching methods alone and it becomes necessary to search for alternative teaching and learning approaches that cater to language learners. An attempt to address the above concerns requires teaching adjustments that will enhance and enrich students’ study experiences, therefore, different aspects of blended learning theory were combined in the delivery of the LDAS module, with the aim of giving students a chance to engage in flexible and personalised language and academic skill learning journey.
An adapted version of Laurillard’s (2002) Conversation Model is used to explore the role of Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) in responding to individual needs of students. To achieve this, different aspects of blended learning theory and traditional scaffolding methods were incorporated into the delivery of the module using a combination of KLE space, Google folders and face to face interactions to make learning more concrete for students.
Findings: The Introduction of a flexible curriculum through adaptable learning spaces allows students to engage with their learning. Also, the multi-modal learning approach caters to individual student’s needs and ensures inclusivity in a diverse class. Finally, the use of Google folders serves as a two-way access for dialogue between students and the tutor. As a wider concept, the role of learning design is crucial to all learners’ engagement with learning activities, this calls for educators to start rethinking how learning spaces can be designed to make the teaching curriculum healthy for students.
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