Taking language learning outside the classroom: learners' perspectives of eTandem learning via Skype
The paper examines the potential of eTandem learning via Skype, a desktop videoconferencing tool, with a focus on the learners' perspectives of what they had gained in the eTandem in terms of their improvements in language proficiency and intercultural understanding. The research data come from an online language exchange project conducted between English language learners from Peking University (PKU) in China and learners of Mandarin from Griffith University (GU) in Australia, in semester 1, 2009. The findings indicate a consensus from both groups of students that the exchange had improved their linguistic and intercultural competence, and that eTandem via Skype could be a sustainable mode of learning outside the classroom. However, students from PKU held a more positive evaluation of the learning outcomes and the project as a whole, in comparison to that held by the GU students. We conclude that this dissimilarity was primarily caused by the differences in their language proficiency. It is suggested that in future research, more efforts should be made to manage differences in language proficiency in order to maximize learning outcomes.
Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching
Comparative Language Studies