Innovation in Language Learning

Edition 12

Accepted Abstracts

Design Research on Pedagogically Motivated Multimodal Course in English: Tools for Student Engagement Enhancing Learning Outcomes

Tuija Alasalmi, Diaconia University of Applied Sciences (Finland)

Kirsi Korkealehto, Diaconia University of Applied Sciences (Finland)

Tuire Salo, Diaconia University of Applied Sciences (Finland)


This design research focuses on best practices on student engagement and learning outcomes of a pilot multimodal English course for first-year students on social field and health care at the Diaconia University of Applied Sciences, Finland.  The students are provided with iPads, but the implementation of the course considers versatile devices.
  The 10-week blended learning course with online learning material and exercises is targeted for students not yet achieving the UAS skill requirement B1 in speaking, writing, listening and reading comprehension, vocabulary and grammar.
  The course aims at enhancing students' language competence and confidence. A special emphasis is put on motivation and emotions through visual design with icons, collaborative learning tasks, goal-centered learning and storytelling, in order to strengthen the basic skills required on the following field-specific and working-life oriented language course. The layout and structure familiarize international exchange programs and international professionalism by creating a storyboard centered on around the world-travel theme. Social media tools and new methods of communication (Instagram, e-cards, livestreaming, Google maps etc.) were integrated in the learning tasks, bringing a motivating and fun element into studying grammar as well as written and oral skills.
  Student engagement is achieved through positive self-assessment, guidance towards self-regulated learning, encouragement towards international work, peer assignments, and partly self-paced as well as collaborative learning as different groups are brought together on the same course platform. Students' learning outcome is visualised and assessed through placement test, online exercise results, peer and teacher feedback, learning diary, submitted study plan, the course exam and a questionnaire complementing the study results.
  The planning of the online course material was based on the notion of world citizenship, multicultural awareness and sensitivity, international professionalism, and multimedia-based learning.
  Using new apps in learning tasks should be well guided, otherwise they will not contribute to the learning outcomes. The learning process can be jammed by technical difficulties, lack of guidance or poor IT-skills, and it affects the self-regulatory learning outcomes and feedback given. However, overcoming the obstacles brings self-confidence and encourages to use the language and social media in international environment.
  The learning outcomes will be evaluated and presented after piloting. In accordance, further research will focus on the adaptation of a new multimodal teaching approach and teacher role focusing more on guidance and needs-based tutoring in class.

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