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Student Training in the Use of an Online Synchronous Conferencing Tool

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CALICO Journal Volume 30, Number 2, ISSN 0742-7778


With the increase of online language teaching the training needs of teachers have long been established and researched. However, the training needs of students have not yet been fully acknowledged. This paper focuses on learner training as preparation for language classes where online synchronous conferencing is used. It presents an action research cycle consisting of planning and conducting training sessions, analysing evaluative feedback, reflecting on changing needs, re-designing the provision and re-iterating the sessions. The research focuses on three iterations of the learner training conducted over a 21-month period, drawing on almost 500 completed student feedback responses. The findings show that students considered the training sessions helpful in establishing how online language classes operate and gaining confidence to participate actively. Specifically they benefited from using their L1 to practice techniques for projecting their social presence in an online communicative situation, compensating for the lack of features such as body language, non-verbal communication, and spatial impressions. As for their teachers, the research demonstrated a need to reflect on the terminology used to explain CMC tools. The article concludes with good-practice recommendations for the provision of learner training in online language classrooms. (Contains 7 figures, 3 tables, and 1 note.)


Heiser, S., Stickler, U. & Furnborough, C. (2013). Student Training in the Use of an Online Synchronous Conferencing Tool. CALICO Journal, 30(2), 226-251. Retrieved March 24, 2023 from .

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