11 SES 03, From Academia to Real Life
Over the past 40 years tourism has grown substantially and has become one of the largest global economic sectors in the world attaining social and environmental significance (Scott, Gössling, 2015). As numerous studies show, communication in several languages is especially significant in hospitality industry (Millar, Park, 2013) wherein communication has become a significant tool for participation in socially meaningful activities (Kaya,2015) in everyday and professional setting.
Previous researches on language learning (Schmitt,2000; Yang, Wu, 2015) emphasize the key role of vocabulary in second language learning. Laborda (2009; 2003) has shown the vital necessity of tourism students’ speaking needs emphasising professional context, language fluency, the ability of using appropriate professional lexis. Research on adult second language learners (Schmitt,2000) reveals that vocabulary is not spontaneously acquired but is learnt through numerous exposures. Usually it is acquired through extensive reading and oral communication (Krashen,1989). Hence, special attention has to be paid to the teaching/learning materials used and the tasks designed.
Since students studying tourism and hospitality business are acquiring Language for Special Purposes (LSP), the learning materials have to incorporate the features of learning a general language as well as consider the specific lexis in the context of their profession. According to Tomlinson (2003) language learning materials must have a novel attractive and appealing content to achieve their impact; expose the learners to a language in authentic use; and include adequate linguistic features. Authentic materials and language use in everyday work contexts is typical to learning LSP (Lu, Chang, 2016). It is especially important in the limelight of the research findings in English for Special Purposes (ESP) (Kavaliauskienė,2012a) discovering that students’ main difficulties while learning ESP are ESP vocabulary and speaking on professional issues without preparation. This draws parallels with the authenticity of texts and the learning context.
Nowadays e-learning has become more and more popular both at universities and business environment. It provides not only flexible learning paths in terms of place and time but also enables learners to adopt their own speed through the asynchronous and synchronous learning network models (Chao, Chen, 2009; Dwivedi, Bharadwaj, 2013; Liu, Lan, Ho, 2014), opens new opportunities to acquire vocabulary which can be done directly through vocabulary learning activities or in the context of reading tasks (Read,2004) – the approach that is used in the current project as well.
The research in using online learning in ESP has proved its efficiency and students’ willingness to learn a language applying online materials (Kavaliauskienė,2012b). The advantages of online learning include students’ ability to select adequate learning materials; flexible learning place and time; optimal learning speed; more free interaction between students and teachers; accommodation of different learning styles; development of learners’ digital competence.
Nowadays, “there is ample evidence that task performance in technology-mediated environments supports language development” (Lai,2011:503). However, in order for a task to be effective and favour attaining the goal of learning LSP Klapper’s (2003:35) definition of a task associating it with a meaning-based activity “closely related to learners’ actual communicative needs and with some real-world relationship, in which learners have to achieve a genuine outcome (solve a problem, reach a consensus, etc..)” is actual.
The project team have adopted the pedagogy-based approach (Colpaert,2006) in selecting the medium and creating the language learning courses.
The purpose of this study is by conducting summative evaluation research evaluate the project outcomes, aims attained and the efficiency of the created online language learning courses from three perspectives – provider, recipient and wider community perspective and define the extent to which these courses can be applied for developing tourism and hospitality industry students’ and employees’ language competence in Europe.
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