The CLA has designed a series of online foreign language courses in association with other university language center who belong to Italy’s National Association of University Language Center (AICLU). Technical support is provided by the University’s E-Learning Centre (CEA).

Online foreign language learning is today a major feature of the University and it continues to involve an increasing number of students who have different learning needs and are often unable to attend classroom lessons. The courses are devised and managed by language professors and are created by the University’s mother-tongue language instructors.

Some years ago, the CLA started to computerize its placement tests and language examinations, and consequently much energy is being devoted to research into e-learning and blended learning. A vast array of issues arise when dealing with online learning and foreign languages; many of these have already been widely discussed, including the digital divide, new technology and the generation gap, the use of new language learning technology versus the use of new technology in daily life, autonomous learning, student motivation and learning-quality assessment. All of these issues have been widely covered and discussed in literature, and many studies have confirmed that multiple benefits derive from the introduction of new technologies into foreign-language learning. In particular, benefits should be viewed in terms which take into account that new language-learning technology also changes language teaching; consequently new teaching methods need to be introduced via new technologies and new assessment tools.

Studies provide an insight into students’ opinions, which may help to understand the benefits of online learning. Student feedback has established that:

  • Online communication and interaction among students helps create a positive attitude;
  • New technologies used to facilitate online collaborative learning increase motivation;
  • Involvement in a learners’ community lowers the risk of course drop-outs;
  • Technology-assisted learning environments may provide different learning methods where students are able to find the method and rhythm that suit them best;
  • Distance learning at home and at any time increases satisfaction;
  • Distance learning at home and at any time increases material usage, thus making the personal learning path more interesting, creative and effective.

For further information on the project, please contact Sara Radighieri