The project FALINAR "Production of online technical language teaching and learning tools and their use for training in the field of travel" was designed by the coordinator TUKE (SK) and three partners: IIK (D), FHSS (HR) and BIOS (CY) and started in December 2014, within the framework of the EU-funded ERASMUS+ programme.
The course, divided into three modules, covers three aspects (medicine, safety and environment) that are becoming increasingly important for tourism in the future. The wide range of exercises covers the core language competences of listening and reading comprehension, and can be used by learners starting from level B1/B2.
A large number of programmed exercises can be worked on by the student comfortably from home. The order of the units does not have to be strictly adhered to. The exercises can be chosen independently of each other, according to personal needs and interests.
On a positive note, programmed exercises are corrected not only by marking in red, but by giving the student the possibility to see the actual correct solution in each case.
Many of the exercises for classroom-context can also be worked on independently outside of class, but due to the large number of possible answers they should be corrected by a teacher whenever possible.
For evaluation purposes, Falinar was used by a small group of students with a B2 starting level who had previously attended lessons covering health and tourism as topics of everyday language or who were completing an apprenticeship as a care worker. Although the project was conceived to support a blended learning approach and provides materials for both classroom and autonomous learning activities, the assessment focused on the latter, given the availability of materials on the website. The students were asked to work asynchronously on the assigned chapters in a self-regulated manner in addition to providing feedback on their learning experience. Since all participants met the language skills prerequisites described in the Falinar guidelines, they did not consider the assignment too challenging. The strength of the project certainly lies in providing a learning framework that primarily supports expanding lexical and communication skills in an LSP environment, which was also confirmed and appreciated by the students. They rated the topics and learning content positively and managed to successfully improve their vocabulary. However, they criticized the overall design as not very engaging and somewhat outdated. They also complained about some technical issues, e.g. page-content not showing up, video quality, the technical setup of the exercises. Moreover, the Italian and Korean students were unable to use the provided glossary because it is still limited to only four languages. The addition at least of English could considerably increase the possibilities for use. Of course, Falinar, as a media content and assignment resource, becomes more efficient and meaningful when integrated into a course environment that favours a modular teaching setup.
According to the project partners, mastering the basic knowledge and competences taught in the TOURNEU and MIG-KOMM-EU projects is essential for successful work with the course. The three core areas of the course (Medical Aspects of Tourism, Safety in Tourism, Tourism and Environment) are each divided into 4-5 units. Some of the units give the impression that registration is required to access these very units. However, this is not the case. So-called guest access or self-registration is sufficient. The units are further divided into lessons, which first provide exercise material in the form of videos, factual texts and illustrations. Based on these, exercises can be performed subsequently. The units of the course do not necessarily have to be worked through in the order presented.
Capacity to match the needs of lecturers and students
The provided tangible improvements
The capacity to motivate students to improve their language skills
Effectiveness in introducing innovative, creative and previously unknown approaches to LSP learning
Measurement of the transferable potential and possibility to be a source of further capitalisation/application for other language projects in different countries
Skills assessment and validation
Availability of appropriate tools for lecturers to monitor students’ progress and for students to assess own progress and to reflect on learning
Flexibility of the contents and possibilities for the LSP lecturers to adapt the contents to their and to students’ need
Assess the technical usability from the point of view of the lecturer and the student
Assess the accessibility from the point of view of the lecturer and the student
On a positive note, there is a wide range of audio material provided within the course. Almost every exercise contains an audio file. This is an excellent way to improve listening comprehension in context. Especially in the tourism sector this is indispensable due to the constant contact with customers. The content of the language course builds on the core competencies taught in the "TOURNEU" and "MIG-KOMM-EU" projects. A great advantage is the possibility to use a large part of the exercises independently in terms of time and space according to individual needs. The glossary is available in German, Croatian, Slovakian and Greek. A positive feature is the search function built into the glossary, which makes it possible to search for specific terms.
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