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Unintended Consequences: Is Digital Collaboration Actually Impeding Language Learning Outcomes?

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Dr. Katie Nielson, Voxy’s Chief Education Officer, was recently published in Language Magazine. Her article, “Unintended Consequences,” asks, can asynchronous digital collaboration actually be an impediment to optimal language-learning outcomes?  With the recent proliferation of online learning, it’s a fascinating question for anyone in education or corporate learning and development.

While there are countless examples of dedicated teachers using technology in innovative ways, the truth is that many online courses follow the same stale format:  learners read or listen to lectures, they complete readings and/or other technology-mediated learning activities, and they are required to post asynchronous responses to discussion board topics or some other text-based forum.  Not surprisingly, this approach to instructional design works better for some subjects than others, and it is particularly problematic for language learning.

That’s because making mistakes is part of the language learning process, and archiving those mistakes for all to see is part of this approach to online instruction.  All hope is not lost, though, by re-thinking how we teach languages online, and, specifically, how we foster online collaboration, we can create a more effective learning environment.

Read Dr. Nielson's article in Language Magazine →