Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) has been widely conducted in various ways around the world to improve target language (L2) skills and gain intercultural awareness (Carlisle & Saenz 2023). Synchronous interactions, such as real-time discussions, require participants to immediately understand their partners’ messages and respond promptly. For this reason, synchronous exchanges have been often limited to groups of learners with high L2 proficiency (Hackett et al. 2023). In this study, a new COIL project that combined synchronous discussions and asynchronous video-based exchanges was originally designed to allow learners at lower proficiency levels to participate.
This project was conducted to improve L2 skills and deepen cross-cultural understanding between five Japanese university students learning English and eight American university students learning Japanese. In the synchronous exchange, participants gained background knowledge by extensively reading a number of essays on Japanese culture, and then held videoconferences to discuss the essays' content in real time. In the asynchronous exchange aiming to improve English proficiency, Japanese students produced videos explaining Japanese culture in English. American students watched them and made comment videos in English. Japanese students watched them and responded in subsequent comment videos in English. The opinion exchange using English comment videos continued in this manner. Conversely, in the asynchronous exchange to improve Japanese proficiency, American students produced explanatory videos on American culture in Japanese, followed by opinion exchange using Japanese comment videos.
After three months of continuous implementation of this project, questionnaires consisting of five-point Likert scale and open-ended short-answer questions were administered to assess participants' awareness and examine outcomes of the project. Statistically and qualitatively analyzed results of the questionnaires showed that learners with low L2 proficiency regarded real-time discussion hard to follow because of the difficulty in understanding partners’ intentions immediately. The low-proficiency learners preferred video-based exchanges that could be viewed repeatedly. This COIL project was found to be effective, including low-proficiency participants, in accelerating motivation to learn L2, improving L2 skills and deepening cross-cultural understanding. Thus, it was clarified that the combination of synchronous and asynchronous COIL projects was effective for learners with proficiency at various levels.
A new COIL project combining synchronous discussions and asynchronous video-based exchanges was originally designed and implemented between Japanese university students learning English and American university students learning Japanese. In synchronous exchanges, real-time discussions were conducted based on the background knowledge obtained from prior extensive reading. In asynchronous exchanges, participants made explanatory videos about their culture and exchanged their opinions in commentary videos. After three months of implementation, questionnaires were administered to examine participants' awareness of the project. The results showed that lower L2 proficiency learners regarded real-time discussions hard to follow because of difficulties in understanding partners’ intentions immediately. They preferred video-based exchanges that could be viewed repeatedly. This project was found to be effective, including low-proficiency learners, in promoting motivation, improving L2 skills and deepening cross-cultural understanding. Thus, it was clarified that the combination of synchronous and asynchronous COIL projects was effective for learners at various proficiency levels.
Yutaka Yamauchi, Soka University, Japan
Mizuki Mazzotta, Emory University, United States
About the Presenter(s)
Professor Yutaka Yamauchi is a University Professor/Principal Lecturer at Soka University in Japan
See this presentation on the full schedule – Sunday Schedule