In particular, blended learning has proven transformational in the language classroom. A discipline that has been traditionally neglected compared to the core subjects can now be made considerably more effective through the introduction of technology.
That being said, there are some things to be looking for when you are considering adopting a blended learning strategy in the language learning setting, depending on the level of students you are seeking to instruct.
- Immersive instruction – You want an experience that comes as close as possible to being dropped in the middle of another country.
- Self-guidance – The goal of blended learning is to reinforce the instruction given by the teacher. Students should be able to move through that reinforcement by themselves.
- Speaking and listening – Language learning is an all-of-the-above pursuit, not just reading and writing.
- Vocabulary building – Students should be learning vocabulary relevant to their needs and interests.
- Alignment to standards – Software should align to both standards adopted for language learning and those of the core subjects.
- Cultural experience – As students become more advanced, they need to become more culturally competent.
- Listening and reading comprehension – Instruction should become more advanced, challenging the student’s comprehension skills.
- Advanced speaking, writing, and grammar – Technology can provide opportunities for student to produce in their new language that wouldn’t be available in traditional instruction.
- Literacy and thought processes – As the student progresses, more complex thinking and literacy skills should be engaged. Less rote memorization or “sit and get” instruction.
If you keep these ideals in mind during the adoption process, you will come away with a blended learning program that can extends existing resources, provides new experiences to students, and advances students toward the goals of language mastery and cultural competence that are so critical in the 21st century connected world.