Integrating English for specific purposes courseware into task-based learning in a context of preparing for international trade fairs
Keywords:courseware integration, multimedia/hypermedia systems, improving classroom teaching, task-based learning, technical education
This study reports on integrating courseware for participating in international trade fairs into English for specific purposes (ESP) instruction at a technical university in Taiwan. An Information and Communication Technology (ICT) approach combining courseware integration with Task Based Learning (TBL), was adopted. Evaluation of implementing this courseware-integrated ESP instruction was based on pre- and posttests in three tasks and student responses to questionnaires concerning satisfaction and attitude. Interviews were also conducted with recent graduates of this courseware-integrated program now working in business fields. Meanwhile, teacher-centred, face-to-face instruction on the same topic was conducted with a control group. The courseware not only provided authentic materials for learning the target ESP in situational settings, but also offered learning activities with corresponding instant self-evaluation so that students were engaged in cognitive processes based on individual need. Students enrolled in the courseware-integrated instruction made as much, and at times, even better, progress as those electing the teacher-centred instruction while completing the tasks of problem-solving and higher-order thinking. Their self-learning effectiveness in both task performance and linguistic skills was significantly improved and they reported satisfaction with the courseware-integrated instruction. Thus, courseware-integrated TBL instruction may offer a potential solution to problems in the development of ESP courses.
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