Today the Modern Languages Departments of universities, as a competent and expert body in language teaching, have taken on great relevance within the institution. The current Bologna plan, which seeks to adapt and unify the educational criteria in all European institutions, promotes the mobility of students and researchers, in order to train professionals who can choose and carry out jobs throughout the continent. This new context requires quality bilingual teaching, as well as the promotion of language learning.
In this case the university had a Modern Languages Department which had become obsolete as it no longer complied with the preparation levels required by the university community for training students, teachers, researchers or centre administrators. It had carried out a semi-presential training experience which failed due to being carried out on an unreliable platform which was hard to manage and which incorporated varied materials which did not work on mobile devices. As a result, most students did not complete the course.
The first thing that we did was carry out an in-depth analysis of the current state of the university’s language department to assess, with all the elements that they already had, which innovations should be incorporated. After the study, the team of Computer Aided E-Learning experts designed a specific training plan adapted to the needs and profile of this higher education language department. This plan included the basic LMS platform, the Dexway Certificate online courses, the Dexway Placement Test and the Dexway App.
- Basic LMS platform: this is a multi-device educational platform with a clear and intuitive interface. The student portal includes an integrated communication system to contact teachers and the community of students at an international level, conversation rooms through videoconference, online Collins dictionary, multimedia activities and a large selection of online resources. For administrators and teaching staff the platform includes an integrated tool which allows the creation of groups, assignment of tutors, response to queries, and correction and evaluation of exercises, as well as the creation of reports to carry out detailed monitoring of the progress of each student in the different lessons and linguistic competencies.
- Dexway Placement Test and Dexway Certificate online courses: the levels of the Dexway courses and tests correspond with the European Council guidelines on language levels and evaluation procedures, specified in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), from level A1 to C1. The content will be structured in teaching units with progress tests for each unit and a consolidation test at the end of each course, allowing strengthened, progressive learning. This, combined with the presential conversation classes with native speaker teachers of the centre, covers all linguistic competencies.
- Dexway App: the Dexway App allows students to access the platform from their iPad, Smartphone or tablet and download the content, to be able to continue training outside of class times, including offline if they do not have an internet connection. This allows continuity in training and increases the participation rate of students.
Once the solutions designed by Dexway were implemented for language learning in a modern languages department with these characteristics, the following improvements were achieved:
- Adapting the language teaching plan to the new study plans and excellence standards that a 21st century university requires.
- Responding to a greater number of students who, due to the number and new schedules of university degrees, could not have attended a 100% presential course.
- Adapting the technology of the centre to that which is used today in the university community, increasingly exposed to the prevalence of mobile devices and gadgets of all kinds. 70% of students carried out their training on an iPad or tablet.
- Encouraging a more active and responsible role for the student in accordance with the new educational model. The student may choose their lessons and adapt the course to their own pace without depending on the general progress of the group. This increased the motivation of students as they achieved better results with a more efficient management and use of study time.
- Offering a quality language training with content in line with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
- Freeing teachers from teaching loads. Nine out of ten hours carried out by the students were carried out through the platform.
- Offering the student a more personalised training depending on the competencies which they should improve, as observed by the tutors in the sessions in which they participated.
- Ensuring that all students completed the course, returning to the participation levels of previous years.
- Obtaining significant academic improvements and becoming one of the most technologically advanced Modern Languages Departments.
Incorporating successtul solutions through Dexway Technology
The majority of university Modern Languages Departments used to have a presential focus, based on the high level of specialisation of their teachers. Nevertheless, the increasing prevalence of technology in our society and the implementation of the new educational model have made those responsible for language training see that traditional methods, with the use of cassettes and videos, are becoming totally obsolete in an environment of digital technology users. Today, if we look at a university campus, we see that both the teachers and students carry around their tablets and smartphones, and are subject to stricter schedules, combining training with other jobs or activities, obligating institutions to offer a quality blended learning training.
At Computer Aided E-Learning we are specialised in the development of solutions for synchronous and asynchronous online training. With over 35 years’ experience, we continue to innovate, developing latest-generation content and applications so that our clients enjoy the most comprehensive and advanced services, following the highest quality standards. Our Dexway department, specialised in languages, is a success story, based on structured content which address all linguistic competencies and follows the CEFR. The courses are developed within a dynamic educational environment in which the student has everything at their disposal. This method has been used to train over 2 million students worldwide, with over 3000 hours of interactive content for progressive learning which includes additional multimedia activities to practice in our language laboratory.
Through the implementation of the Dexway solutions in the Modern Languages Department of the university, the department was able to access the use of more advanced voice processing technology for language learning, analysing the oral pronunciation of the students and correcting pronunciation errors, carrying out online tutorial sessions, adapting the methodology of the course to the individual needs of each student, working in a practical way on the four linguistic skills: oral expression, listening, writing and reading. In addition to this, the confidence of the students was consolidated upon seeing that they could carry out a personalised learning experience, through an easy to use platform, with more satisfactory results and certification levels in line with European standards.