ELICOS online: co-creating flexible learning environments

2017-03-01T04:39:56Z (GMT) by Trofimiuk, Zbych
This thesis reports on an educational design research (EDR) study situated in a high-stakes second language (L2) test preparation program at an Australian language centre specialising in transition education. Classroom interventions, addressing specific needs/problems regarding L2 learning were embedded in two courses through a purpose-built website. The EDR site was designed to engage students, extend learning outside classroom hours, improve the organisation of course content, and support L2 teaching. The site was an avenue for authentic L2 activity, and provided opportunities for broadening critical thinking ability through participation in communicative tasks online. The first stage of the study was concerned with analysing and exploring the research context via reference to relevant literature and by interviewing members of staff. Stage 2 focussed on intervening in educational practice so as to improve it. EDR interventions were refined through two design research cycles, lasting ten weeks and five weeks respectively. The twin aims of this process were to progressively refine an instructional design, and to generate theory. In addition to answering whether these interventions were successful in addressing the educational problems identified, this study was more broadly located in a large for-profit English language college. Therefore, the neoliberal social discourse and the conflicting L2 educational ideologies of the research context were an important focus. Both students and staff were invited to participate; staff members were recruited partly to define what these broader aspects of the research context were, and partly to clarify the needs/problems that the EDR interventions were later designed to fix. The thesis concludes that the EDR interventions positively impacted L2 teaching and learning in the immediate context, being the test-preparation courses that I taught and researched. The EDR principles extracted as a result of this work address some key considerations for creating media rich L2 classrooms, and more generally, the type of conditions necessary for expertise to flourish in the context of L2 teaching with educational technology.