Title: Crossing the borders in language learning through the use of web-conferencing as an e-learning tool

Authors: Sng Bee Bee; David Gardner

Addresses: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, Blk S4, Level B4, Nanyang Avenue, 639798, Singapore. ' Devawongse Varopakarn Institute of Foreign Affairs, Government Complex, Building B, Floor 7 (South Zone), Chaengwattana Road, Laksi, Bangkok 10210, Thailand

Abstract: E-learning has become increasingly popular in English learning programmes. This article attempts to answer a question about a particular type of e-learning namely web-conferencing: is it a viable tool for encouraging adult students of English to communicate across cultures? The article explores the effectiveness of this tool to help two nationalities of learners, Thai and Vietnamese, practise speaking, discussion and presentation skills in English. The two groups were located in Thailand and Singapore; web-conferencing enabled them to meet in the virtual world. Participants| feedback on their learning and on the technical aspects of the event was collected. The overall assessment was that web-conferencing was indeed a useful e-learning tool to help accomplish learning objectives, although several problems were encountered. It is important to seek solutions if web-conferencing is to be used again. After discussing the participants| feedback and evaluating the effectiveness of web-conferencing, the article proposes a number of solutions.

Keywords: web conferencing; EFL teaching; English as a foreign language; communicative language teaching; English for specific purposes; action research; learner responses; language learning; e-learning; electronic learning; online learning; Thailand; Singapore; web based communities; online communities; virtual communities.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWBC.2012.044686

International Journal of Web Based Communities, 2012 Vol.8 No.1, pp.120 - 132

Published online: 02 Jan 2012 *

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