E-learning applications in foreign language teaching

Thứ hai - 25/08/2014 04:28


The vast development of science and technology, especially information and communications (ICT) has a huge impact to all sectors of society, including education and training, in which, E-learning is regarded as a new educational approach of the 21st century that contributes to traditional methods. In the last few years, E-learning has wholly revolutionized language training by manifesting itself into all language skills. E-learning does not only provide a platform to build language competence but also helps learners to gain an insight into the culture of that language.


2.1 E-learning integrated model

Currently, an E-learning integrated model called Learner autonomy - Individualization – Guidelines is applied in many universities both at home and abroad. In this model, students need to prove autonomy, dynamic and innovation in learning while the teacher acts like a guide rather than a traditional classroom teacher (Holec, 1979). As a result, students are able to take control of their learning, adjust to suit their individual needs and access to diverse research resources suitable for their self-study (Logan, 1980)

2.2 E-learning's role in supporting new learning trend

According to Bill Gates, information technology brings flexibility and initiative in learning. Employees can keep up with technology in their field. People anywhe-re can also participate in courses taught by the best teachers (Gates, 1995)
So a question arised is how information technology and computer support teaching and learning? Since the 70s of last century, electronic computers were considered tools in teaching process and have brought tremendous efficiency comparing with traditional teaching facilities such as blackboard, pictures or illustrations, and lighting. Computers increasingly penetrated into some of education fields thanks to a number of special functions such as storage, processing and provision information, modeling, simulation, testing and communicating function (Rosenberg, 2001). When these functions are integrated into an online learning tool, also known as E - learning system, the process of training becomes easier and more efficient.
The biggest advantages of this type of web-based learning in comparison with traditional method are usability, flexibility, time and cost savings (Inglis, 1999). A number of university courses have been partially or entirely offered online which drives learners to a more self-study environment whe-re they are able to access materials organized into courses that contain assessments and tests (Carliner, 2002)
Apparently, internet ubiquity provides learners with access to materials such as YouTube or electronic media, electronic library, which brings not only the foreign language but also its culture into society. In addition, information technology also encourages learning through direct discussions on the internet and virtual environment whe-re students can practice (Johannes Kepler, 2008)

2.3 The issues of E-learning in language teaching and solutions

E-learning has shown its strength in creating an environment whe-re students have a chance to mutually study and improve. Thanks to E-learning model, students are able to attain knowledge and improve their language skills such as listening, speaking, reading and writing. Besides, they have a chance to access foreign materials and interact with a native speaker which helps them a lot in improving their skills. Although in the blended-learning mode, the role of a traditional teacher has turned into a guide, these online learning activities still require teachers to organize and supervise (Johannes Kepler, 2008)
Another benefits of using E-learning lessons in foreign language classes are the favorability that ICT tools offer teachers to guide students effectively (Johannes Kepler, 2008). The combinations of traditional teaching methods and the E -Learning education activities also has a number of certain benefits for foreign language teaching, because unlike other theorical academic subjects, the c-haracteristics of foreign language teaching focus on the skills of listening, speaking, reading, writing, grammar, and pronunciation, using a variety of tools to support sound, image or simulation
In general, the problem of online learning and particularly in foreign language teaching is objectivity of assessment process. Because online learning allows learners to answer questions, submit assignments and homework online so it is easy to lead to the problem of doing assignments for each other which is very difficult for teachers to control. Therefore, when preparing for a technology enhanced course, we need to organize the evaluation and assessment as follows:
Step 1: Students are required to do self-assessment through interaction with E -Learning systems.
Step 2: Students are required to complete the online assessment tests which has time limit.
Step 3: Students are required to answer short interview with the teacher via Camera.
Thus, we will somehow be able to limit the drawbacks when applying E-learning in foreign language traning courses. However, if there are too many students, the number of teachers should be raised to ensure the tests do not last too long.


This paper outlines the application of E-learning in teaching - learning foreign languages. It is clear that the application of IT in language teaching has brought efficiency, which cre-ates friendly learning environment for learners and provides flexibility for learners in terms of time and place. However, when deploying E-learning applications in foreign language teaching, we have to prepare an assessment and evaluation system which ensures the objectiveness of training quality.
Nowadays, technology enhanced language training programs are still attached to a fixed classroom which is rather inconvenient. With the development of information technology and communication, this can be done on mobile devices which open up new opportunities for a larger number of people.
Holec, H. (1981). Oxford: Pergamon. First published 1979, Strasbourg: Council of Europe. Autonomy and foreign language learning
Logan, G. E. (1980). Individualized foreign language instruction: American patterns for accommodating learner differences in the classroom. In Language teaching: Meeting individual needs, ed. H.B. Altman and C.V. James. New York: Pergamon.
Gates, Bill (1995). Newsweek: The Road Ahead, United States, Viking Penguin
Rosenberg, M 2001, McGraw-Hill, eBook Collection (EBSCOhost), EBSCOhost, E-learning: Strategies For Delivering Knowledge In The Digital Age
Inglis, A.(1999). Distance Education, 2012, 220-239 Is online delivery less costly than print and is it meaningful to ask?
Carliner, Saul, (2002). 4th ed. Designing E-learning, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, United States: ASTD Press.

Tác giả bài viết: Hoang Thi Kieu Hoa, Faculty of Information Technology, Hanoi University

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