E-Learning and the Development of Intercultural Competence
Language Learning & Technology Volume 10, Number 3, ISSN 1094-3501
This study presents findings on the efficacy of an online learning environment developed to foster EFL students' intercultural competence via reading articles on topics of their own culture and communicating their responses with speakers of another culture. The project offered opportunities for EFL students to use their own societal and cultural practices as the focus for EFL learning. In addition, with the help of an e-forum, the learning environment allowed the students to exchange their views with speakers of the target language. Two e-referencing tools were made available in the system while students were reading and writing. The findings showed that all EFL participants were able to communicate fluently in the target language without much help from corpora-based e-referencing tools provided in the system. The use of the online dictionary decreased drastically after the first two readings. The online concordancer, instead of being used for learning different kinds of cultural meaning on the levels of lexical, syntactic, and textual organization as originally intended, was used by the students to link to articles of similar topics for further explorations of culture and language learning opportunities. Despite some technical difficulties with the computers, the collaboration between the two groups of students was successful, as can be seen from the positive and complimentary comments from the participants. The students' e-forum entries demonstrated four types of intercultural competences: (A) interest in knowing other people's way of life and introducing one's own culture to others, (B) ability to change perspective, (C) knowledge about one's own and others' culture for intercultural communication, and (D) knowledge about intercultural communication processes. (Contains 1 table and 4 notes.)
Liaw, M.L. (2006). E-Learning and the Development of Intercultural Competence. Language Learning & Technology, 10(3), 49-64.
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