Co-operative teaching and learning lifelines
: critical information flows in a technology-mediated distance language course

  • Matthew David Nicholas Fox

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This study considers critical information flows for successful technology-mediated distance language courses. The critical information flows presented and analysed are a set of key information interdependencies required of the stakeholders in a technology-mediated distance language course: learners; teachers; course designers; course managers. The data for this study comes from a pilot version of The Labguage Learning Network, a technology-mediated distance language course for professionals, designed and implemented by the author. The study is staged process which is divided into two parts. Part one, consisting of four chapters, puts forward a historical and theoretical context for the development of the experimental language course. The four orientation points proposed offer perspectives on language learning, language teaching, technology-mediated language courses and research methodologies relating to language learning and teaching. In part two, the experiment is defined. Data from the experiment are examined in detail, to support the evidence of the successful functioning of the language course from the perspective of: course design; learner experiences of course delivery; tutor experiences of course delivery. New knowledge in part two is presented as three integrated sections of the same study which contribute to the identification and analysis of the critical information flows which form the conclusions of this study. In the first section, the design process behind the Language Learning Network are discussed, to include the pedagogical, technical and managerial aspects. The design and implementation of the Language Learning Network which, through an evolutionary and synthetic process, makes new use of technologies and language pedagogies, is also seen in the context of the four orientation points put forward in Part One. The contribution to knowledge in this section concerns primarily the original design of the Language Network course. In the second section, the operation of the Language Learning Network is considered. Data from interviews and questionnaires administered to a group of learners are presented and analysed. The contribution to knowledge in this study focuses on new insights into a functioning technology-mediated distance language course. In the third section, the dynamics of the relationship between tutors and learners are considered using data from, recorded audio and video tutorials. The primary contribution to knowledge of this stage is a skills and process framework for use in tutorials. This skills and process framework proposes types of interactions which can be used by teachers to foster high quality interactions in one-to-one teaching and learning situations. In the fourth and concluding part of the thesis, design and implementation issues highlighted in the first three stages are synthesised to propose ten critical 'learning and teaching lifelines.' These 'lifelines' arise from mapping the design and delivery of technology-mediated distance language learning through the use of critical information flows. The critical information flows can serve as a guide to a new and integrated approach to technology-mediated distance language course development.
    Date of Award2000
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Nottingham Trent University

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