Peer Learning Experiment in Language Training

2011-11-18 - 2011-11-30

An experiment carried out at HiST has improved language training by using a linear peer learning approach that may be represented like a "snake". The "snake" is an important component of Activity Based Training (ABT), which was developed in the Leonardo da Vinci Mecca pilot project (2005-2007). It has previously been,  and is currently used, with success in vocational education and training in mechanical industry. The picture shows one of the products, a web-page for Erasmus students, that were developed during the experiment. 

In September and October we carried out an experiment where our students got an order from a university in Romania. Their task were to produce information material that are going to be used to recruit Exchange students from Romania to HiST.

The linear peer learning "snake" approach is based on on theory about commercials, the production of "commercial products", and cooperating within both small and bigger groups in making one final product. The students were divided into two "commercial bureaus" that competed about making the better advertisement, including a video clip, an info-folder and an (easy) Internet page. At the end of the period, the whole student group cooperates on the best product, making the final product into something everyone has contributed to.

The goal was to apply the ABT training method in such a way that:

  • Students knowledge (theory) about commercials, which they get in their Norwegian course, is immediately applied into practice through an interdiciplinary team work in groups at our new digital learning lab
  • Students skills (practice) are improved by developing the requested material (video, webpage and an info-folder) for Erasmus students in Romania! This must be delivered in English, whereby they in addition have to directly apply the knowledge they are obtaining in their English course! This require close cooperation between the teachers who teach Norwegian and English. 
  • Students competence is obtained through direct communication with the customer, and their continiuous evaluation of the quality of the products during the communication process with the customer in Romania. This is done by letting the whole class use modern video-communication in order to handle the distance limitations between Norway and Romania.

The final product might be used in commercials in Romania for recruitment of Erasmus students, after being re-shot by professionals at HiST. The whole process was observed by researchers, teachers and technical staff, in order to research the effects of the ABT training method in the student groups and as a method to be used in higher education. Will it lead to increased student activities, enhanced motivation, social inclusion, and enhanced practical skills? The experiment was completed by mid October, and the results are under evaluation.

It was lead by Tord.Talmo@hist.no.

SRS 2.0, PELE 1.5, Eval 1.0 and iLike 1.0 are available for use.