Blended Learning Experiences: The Potentials and Limits of New e-Learning Software for Teaching German as a Foreign Language

By Christian Thomas.

Published by The Technology Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The paper discusses practical experiences with various new e-Learning software components currently employed at various universities and other educational institutions in teaching German as a Foreign Language. Specific potentials as well as limits of a beneficial use of these programs are addressed, also in terms of established pedagogical criteria and of experiences made with CALL. Blended Learning—combining an array of on- and off-line teaching resources, also including face-to-face communication—is recommended as the framework most likely to bring about learning success, where such software components are utilized. This follows from the conclusion that the discussed state-of-the art components as yet lack the comprehensive scope to stand alone and assume the important functions performed by other currently available (non-/)technological means of instruction. The specific e-Learning software programs discussed are: Acadia University’s (Canada) course management environment (ACME) and German Course Page, the University of Victoria’s (Canada) “Hotpotatoes” exercise software, Simon Fraser University’s (Canada) “German Tutor”, and the Goethe Institut’s (Germany and worldwide) didacticized on-line cultural materials “jetzt.de,” as well as their culture-based beginners course “Redaktion Deutsch.”

Keywords: e-Learning, Blended Learning

The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 4, Issue 5, pp.93-98. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 773.718KB).

Dr. Christian Thomas

Assistant Professor, Department of Languages and Literatures, Acadia University, Wolfville, Canada

Christian Thomas is Assistant Professor of German at Acadia University in Canada. He teaches German language and literature and also has experience in teaching ESL and Business English. His activities and research include CALL as well as nineteenth-century literature and its connections with technological media. Over the last years, together with colleagues, he has developed two courseware packages that are currently being used in the teaching of foreign languages: “Internet English” (2004, Virtual University Bavaria; Online ESL reading course w. Web component); “German Course Page/German Courseware Online” (2007/ 2008, German as a Foreign Language courseware for all levels).

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