Flexible Learning and on-line language portfolios

Afoullouss, Houssaine (2011) Flexible Learning and on-line language portfolios. [Conference Proceedings]


This paper seeks to explore the role of on-line language portfolios in curriculum development and in the enhancement of learner autonomy in the Digital Era.Through its aims of achieving coherence, cohesion and transparency in language learning, the eELP (electronic European Language Portfolio) offers the potential to address one persistent difficulty faced by language teachers at third level: dealing with the individual capabilities of students in a heterogeneous group, as a result of different approaches taken to language teaching at second level.The challenge faced by language teachers at university level is to take stock of what their students know and devise a flexible curriculum that responds both to their students’ needs and to the requirements of their language department. It is in this context that eELP, which embodies the principles of the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages), has a major role to play. As this paper will demonstrate, on-line portfolios epitomise flexible learning: in terms of time and space, they can be used anywhere and anytime as long as access to Internet is available.In terms of content, the CEFR “can-do” statements – which cover the five language skills and the six proficiency levels – can be used to generate a plethora of tasks and activities. Some of these tasks can be used autonomously to plug gaps in students’ language learning/ competencies. Other tasks can be used in a formal setting as part of the language department’s requirements. At the end of their primary degree and having been exposed to the basic principles of flexible learning, students will have covered a comprehensive and cohesive programme with the added bonus of having become autonomous, and hence life-long, learners.

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