In this article we report on the first phase of a project designed to tackle the concepts of teaching and learning in a multimedia environment. The BLINGUA pilot project is exploring a pedagogical approach to delivering differentiated language learning and area studies skills. The first phase, which ran in Semester 1 (2004 – 2005), was delivered to a cohort of first year undergraduates of French at the University of Ulster. This paper presents the theoretical foundation to our approach and its application to a CALL environment as well as laying the foundations for an evaluation of the project using the principles of effectiveness research. Further papers will present the qualitative and quantitative findings in greater detail, drawing from data gleaned over two years. The authors designed and implemented this new approach with a view to developing student autonomy in the use of the multimedia environment and the practice of the 4 main language skills along with grammar based activities. We also explored the possibilities of delivering aspects of an area studies module by this means. The evaluation was based on a quasi-experimental study of the BLINGUA approach. The context was a treatment group whose blended learning experience was delivered according to differentiated learning styles, and a comparison group who were taught without knowledge of their learning style. Initial findings show that students respond well to the blended learning environment and especially one where this learning is delivered in the context of learning style differentiation.
- computer-assisted language learning
- blended learning
- quantitative and qualitative research
- action research