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In the learner’s hands: Using mobile phones to extend learning beyond the formal ESOL classroom

Hulford-Wood, Liz (2024) In the learner’s hands: Using mobile phones to extend learning beyond the formal ESOL classroom. Doctoral thesis, The University of Sunderland.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)


Learners and teachers alike struggle to find more of one valuable learning resource - time. For ESOL learners, it is the time to learn to speak English well; for teachers, the time to cover course content and facilitate enough practice to pass exams. Blended learning has been considered a potential means of extending learning and this study implements mobile blended learning beyond the classroom to investigate this. Very little research exists into blended learning in the adult ESOL sector, particularly with this focus. The research answers three questions:
1. How, and can mobile phones be used to provide appropriate extended learning opportunities for ESOL learners beyond the formal classroom?
2. What pedagogical considerations are needed when designing mobile blended language learning aimed at increasing guided learning hours and promoting progress beyond the ESOL classroom?
3. How, and can learning assisted by mobile phone technology bridge deficits in formal learning hours and promote progress?
These three questions underwent a process of revision initially which clarified their focus. A preoccupation with establishing the efficacy of mobile blended learning (‘appropriate and effective learning’) and its ability to ‘accelerate’ progress was soon relinquished when the implausibility of investigating such knowledge within an interpretivist paradigm was recognized. The essence of the study being related to extending learning saw the replacement of ‘effective’ with the word ‘extended’ and the phrase ‘speed up’ progress with ‘promote’ progress.
This practitioner action research study draws on a number of principles and practices of ethnography. A mix of quantitative and qualitative methods are used to provide a broad evidence base for activity and learning beyond the classroom. It takes place at an adult community learning provider in the East of England where 28 ESOL learners (4 men and 24 women) at Entry Level 3 and Level 1 studied on standard ESOL courses.
All participants found mobile blended learning beyond the classroom a suitable and pedagogically beneficial means of English study. The blend of traditional classroom teaching and print materials, with access to digital resources for distance learning, engendered a tangible sense of progress, developed learner digital and independent study skills, and extended time to learn. Teacher motivation and supervision and a user-friendly digital platform were further key elements in the success of the blended course delivery.
Mobile blended learning was found to bridge the deficit in GLH by a number of different means - some in the hands of the teacher - pedagogy, planning and resources - and some in the hands of the learner - a mobile phone, time, motivation, and independent learning skills. ESOL delivery benefits from a fusion of traditional and novel practices to provide a broad range of language practice opportunities and environments which take advantage of key factors of language acquisition to promote learning.

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Depositing User: Delphine Doucet


Item ID: 17817

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Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2024 13:48
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2024 14:00


Author: Liz Hulford-Wood

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Education > Further Education

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