Innovation in Language Learning

Edition 16

Accepted Abstracts

Asynchronous Language Learning: Student-informed Strengths and Shortcomings

Tadhg Joseph Ó Ceallaigh, Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick (Ireland)


Immersion teachers pedagogical struggle to implement a well-implemented approach, in the context of disciplinary instruction, underscores a need for increased attention to teacher professional development (PD) in the target language [1]. Some scholars claim that technology-enhanced language learning (TELL) promotes second language (L2) learning performance and provides learners with a more efficient means for language learning [2],[3]. Other scholars however, are less convinced of the merits of TELL [4]. There is a dearth of research on virtual PD experiences of immersion teachers which positively impact on their language development. In particular, aspects of online immersion teacher PD remain unexplored and poorly understood. This study focuses on immersion teachers’ perspectives, practices and outcomes as they engaged with a 12-week online module delivered through the medium of Irish. Asynchronous delivery strategies were deployed to support content and language learning and online communicative activities (blogs, vlogs, discussion fora, reflections) were designed to stimulate and enrich reception, interaction, production and academic success. Qualitative and quantitative data were collected from a variety of sources e.g., end-of-module evaluations, focus groups, students’ work and tutor observations. Findings provide unique insights in relation to the effectiveness of an asynchronous learning environment on students’ language learning. Specific strengths (e.g. self-assessment and target setting, flexibility, motivation) and shortcomings (e.g. self-regulation, lack of online language use and interaction, social isolation) were identified. In conclusion, lessons learned and tutor reflections of the journey are shared in an attempt to advance learning in the field and to cultivate future innovation in virtual language learning, teaching and assessment.

Keywords: Technology-enhanced language learning; asynchronous, self-assessment; self-regulation; social isolation


[1] Cammarata, L. and Ó Ceallaigh, T.J. (eds.) (2020). Teacher development for immersion and content-based instruction. Benjamins.

[2] Jin, L. (2018). Digital affordances on WeChat: Learning Chinese as a second language. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 31, 27–52.

[3] Shadiev, R., & Huang, Y.M., (2020).  Investigating student attention, meditation, cognitive load, and satisfaction during lectures in a foreign language supported by speech-enabled language translation. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 33(3), 301-326.

[4] Morris, D. (2020). A review of information literacy programmes in higher  education: The effects of face-to-face, online and blended formats on student perception. Journal of Information Literacy, 14(1), 19-39.


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