Fostering Autonomy and Motivation by introducing E-Tandems into formal language education

Researchers of the University of Vienna in collaboration with students of the Vienna Business School Hamerlingplatz investigated the application of e-tandems in foreign language teaching in the course of the project FAME.

It was planned to build up e-tandem contacts (synchronous, audio/video-based online communication) between German learning classes of the Lycée Saint François Xavier (France) and of the Universidad EAN (Colombia) respectively and French and Spanish classes. These e-tandems were integrated into the foreign language classes of the partner institutions and scientifically supported during the entire project period.

The aim of the project was to examine in how far the autonomy and the motivation of language learners can be encouraged by e-tandems as a supplement to foreign language teaching in the institutional context. In addition, the focus was on the development of language awareness of the students involved, since they learned how to deal with the linguistic performance of the tandem partner and how to reflect on language learning processes.

Methodologically, the empirical study is qualitatively designed. The participants keep language learning diaries, which were subsequently analysed in terms of the research question. Furthermore, group discussions with students were carried out to gather and evaluate their subjective perceptions toward the examined learning setting. Throughout the entire project, students were research partners in that the research process is continuously regenerated and bound to them. In doing so, the young learners were an integrative part of the project, from the project presentation and preparation of workshops, via joint development and evaluation of motivation and autonomy promoting tasks for e-tandems through to the analysis of the data collected. Consequently, students had numerous opportunities to gain insights into scientific techniques.

As an output of the project, a didactic concept in the form of a guideline for the use of e-tandems in foreign language teaching was developed. The publication of a collection of exercises for an online platform was scheduled at the end of the project.

This project has been completed.