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In-depth structuring of CALL content

Background:  CALL content development is a labor-intensive endeavor, even when reusing textbook materials, adapting authentic materials from the web or working with authoring systems. Until now, few efforts have been made to prevent content from getting lost. CALL developers have often developed ad-hoc content structures for individual applications and authoring systems sometimes even prevent authors to see the in-depth content structure or to export it to other database formats.  XML is not a panacea for online CALL development. It is a way of conveying and presenting content, but it is not proven that it is the best content structure for CALL.

Research question:  How should CALL content be structured in order to guarantee sufficient:

-         interactivity (on the level of tasks, strategies, exercise types, help, feedback, …);
functionality (user-defined content selection and/or system-defined content selection for adaptive testing, remediation, intelligent tutoring…; error analysis, scoring and reporting; tracking and data gathering);
accessibility (online);
flexibility (matching the precise learning situation);
authorability (matching author requirements);
reusability (with changing technologies);
exportability (for multi-carrier output: textbooks, web pages, applications …);
exchangeability (between authors) and 
compatibility (with electronic learning environments e.g. SCORM compliance) 

Suggested methodology/comments:  A staged approach is suggested:

-         a model of requirements for CALL content structuring should be based upon the above mentioned criteria, and supplemented with findings from literature, application development and author surveys.
this model should lead to a technology-independent structure. This structure describes content units and their structure, their interrelationship and the most appropriate selection mechanisms.
the structure should be presented and published in order to have it discussed by a large group of authors, users, developers and researchers.
-         after prototyping, a specification can be made of how to realize the structure in various database formats.
-         this eventual CALL content structure could lead to a standard for CALL content development.

Contact: Jozef Colpaert   jozef.colpaert@ua.ac.be

Reader Comments: --

July 25, 2013: Helo! I'm very much interested in this topic and I was wondering if this type of research would be feasible for an undergraduate thesis.I am a Language Major from the University of the Philippines Diliman but took courses in programming such as C, Visual Basic, Java, and the like. My initial belief is that the structure of CALL materials are dependent on the people that use it. Since some of the criteria seem to be trade-offs (interactivity vs. exportability), it would mean that learners would prefer one over the other. Thank you very much!
   Carlo Severino H. Recto; carloseverinorecto@gmail.com

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