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Online Language Learning and Teaching Pedagogy: Constructivism and Beyond

Authors: Zeineb Deymi-Gheriani


In the last two decades, one can clearly observe a boom of interest for e-learning and web-supported programs. However, one can also notice that many of these programs focus on the accumulation and delivery of content generally as a business industry with no much concern for theoretical underpinnings. The existing research, at least in online English language teaching (ELT), has demonstrated a lack of an effective online teaching pedagogy anchored in a well-defined theoretical framework. Hence, this paper comes as an attempt to present constructivism as one of the theoretical bases for the design of an effective online language teaching pedagogy which is at the same time technologically intelligent and theoretically informed to help envision how education can best take advantage of the information and communication technology (ICT) tools. The present paper discusses the key principles underlying constructivism, its implications for online language teaching design, as well as its limitations that should be avoided in the e-learning instructional design. Although the paper is theoretical in nature, essentially based on an extensive literature survey on constructivism, it does have practical illustrations from an action research conducted by the author both as an e-tutor of English using Moodle online educational platform at the Virtual University of Tunis (VUT) from 2007 up to 2010 and as a face-to-face (F2F) English teaching practitioner in the Professional Certificate of English Language Teaching Training (PCELT) at AMIDEAST, Tunisia (April-May, 2013).

Keywords: Active learning, constructivism, experiential learning, Piaget, Vygotsky.

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