A review of tandem learning: from face-to-face to social networking software

Billy Brick is Language Centre Manager and Elwyn Lloyd is a Lecturer in English at Coventry University

Tandem learning has a long tradition in language learning in the form of pen-pals to practise written skills, and ‘language exchange’ in the form of face-to-face spoken interaction, where native or competent non-native speakers are available for informal oral practice outside the classroom. Such activities give language learning a more immediate purpose and help to motivate and stimulate learners. The advent of the internet led to traditional ‘penpalling’ being superseded by keypalling projects, whereby learners can link up with other speakers of the target language across the globe and correspond more frequently and much more conveniently. More recent technological developments have allowed for more sophisticated media-rich web-based software to be developed, such as social networking software and virtual worlds where individuals are able to set up profiles and seek partners to exchange language skills, not only in the written mode. This presentation will review some of the issues inherent in the different approaches to language exchange and peer-to-peer teaching, and will consider the effectiveness of Web 2.0 technology for facilitating tandem learning.

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This video is related to: e-Learning symposium 2010