Original Research

Designing a digital pedagogical pattern for improving foreign language learners’ oral proficiency

Carina Grobler, Tom F.H. Smits
Literator | Vol 37, No 2 | a1273 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v37i2.1273 | © 2016 Carina Grobler, Tom F.H. Smits | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 January 2016 | Published: 29 September 2016

About the author(s)

Carina Grobler, Department of French, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa
Tom F.H. Smits, Antwerp School of Education, Universiteit Antwerpen, Belgium


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Abstract

South African undergraduate foreign language students need more opportunity to practise their oral language skills. Not only do appeals to focus more on oral productive skills feature in scholarly literature (Delena-le Roux 2010), it is also one of the main conclusions from a survey among beginner students of French at the Potchefstroom Campus of North-West University (South Africa). It was therefore necessary to design a teaching and learning intervention, specifically aimed at improving beginner students’ oral communication skills in French. Laurillard’s (2012) Conversational Framework inspired the design of a digital pedagogical pattern (DPP), consisting of context and pedagogy descriptors for the development of foreign language learners’ oral communication skills. The Conversational Framework analyses formal learning and challenges the use of new technologies in learning. The implementation process of a DPP for the development of students’ (French) oral skills involved three cycles, each with specific outcomes and three groups of participants: the control group and two experimental groups. Field-testing the proposed DPP provided important insights which should be integrated in the design of subsequent digital pedagogical patterns in the specific context: limiting the participant groups to two; decreasing the number of interventions to be implemented in the limited teaching time of a semester; ensuring that each step adheres to the requirements of the Conversational Framework. Student results from the learning interventions in future studies should reveal which intervention better promotes oral communication skills.

Keywords

Conversational Framework; digital pedagogical pattern; foreign language teaching and learning; oral skills; CALL

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