Carnegie Mellon University

Our Research in Technology-Enhanced Learning and Curricular Materials Development

How can educators use technology-enhanced learning courseware to teach languages and cultures? What does research tell us about building intercultural competence in virtual worlds, multimodal online collaborative learning, and technology-based international collaborations?

Key aspects of this research include literacy development in multiple languages, social dimensions of learning a second language (context, identity, culture), instruction and learning of second languages (classroom-based research, program evaluation, impact of instruction on learning, and cognitive aspects of learning a second language (processing, memory).

Featured Research and Publications

“Je Suis Youtubeur”: Multilingual Multimodal Composing Abroad

Faculty: Natalie Amgott

This study examined how seven American undergraduate students leveraged multiple modes to reflect on language, culture, and identity while learning French in a study abroad program. Findings revealed how multimodal composing (i.e., designing vlogs, blogs, and video reflections) supported metalinguistic awareness and problematization of cultural stereotypes. Additionally, students developed identities as legitimate multilingual multimodal composers by using French and other semiotic modes to create personalized design aesthetics.

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Insider Spaces: Hands-on with XR in the Global Languages & Cultures Room

Faculty: Stephan Caspar

Adult learners benefit from a playful approach to learning (Whitton, 2018). Similarly, students experiencing immersive learning using virtual reality headsets can benefit from a playful and exploratory approach to language and culture learning (Arnold, 1979), which includes the opportunity to experiment and create content using accessible, code-free, and easy-to-adopt media and Maker techniques. This article proposes that this kind of content creation projects for students can result in an increased understanding and appreciation of the affordances of immersive technologies, especially when applied to cultural learning and second language acquisition.

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Using games for language learning in the age of social distancing

Faculty: Sébastien Dubreil

The transition to remote teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic has caused profound disruption to classroom instruction. This article shares the impact that this forced transition has had on the redesign of the second half of a French course entitled “Gaming culture and culture of games,” to meet the pedagogical challenge posed by the pandemic, retain the integrity of the course, and provide useful tools to mitigate the circumstances. In particular, this project examines how the situation was an opportunity to combine language and culture pedagogy with game design to enable students to think critically about the course content and contribute meaningful solutions to learning languages in the age of social distancing.

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Item-level Learning Analytics: Ensuring Quality in an Online French Course

Faculty: Bonnie Youngs

This research calls into question the interpretation of learning analytics on a large-scale to show student success in an online French course. The article argues that if researchers do not consider the quality of the course materials in the evaluation of their data, claims regarding learner success or failure cannot be validated.

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