What are the effects of LINC Blended Learning on learners, teachers and programs? Are there benefits or drawbacks? In September 2017 LearnIT2teach evaluators Jill Cummings, Matthias Sturm and Augusta Avram set out to gather evidence from field research at the LINC program of the Burnaby District School Board in the Lower Mainland of B.C. Three teachers, 45 learners, the program manager and a learning technology support instructor were followed over a ten-month period. Entrance and exit tests using the CELPIP tools were used to assess language gains. Interviews and surveys of participants provided additional qualitative and quantitative data.
After an additional year of analysis, discussion and writing, the evaluators have produced two reports:
The reports merit a deeper dive by any LINC professional interested in learning technology innovation. Among the benefits the researchers identified:
- The learner anxiety level is lowered.
- Because students engage online in more thoughtful discussions. They have time to craft their responses.
- Students develop multi-modal literacy skills.
- Blended learning (BL) builds or expands digital literacy and real-world skills.
- BL supports learner autonomy and self-reflection.
- Students complete most individual activities online, leaving more time for communication and interaction when face-to-face.
- Students come prepared to work and interact at school (reflecting the benefits of the flipped learning model).
- Students have more choice.
- BL provides more personalized learning. It increases motivation when topics and tasks are relevant to students’ lives and engaging.
- It can accommodate a variety of learning styles.
- It supports diverse needs of students’ lives and schedules, allows students at higher levels to continue to study by choice.
- It improves attendance, engagement, and retention.
- BL supports the teacher.
- It expands access to knowledge/information for students and teachers.
- Blended learning eases independence and the transition out of LINC 8 by building a resource base for practice outside of the classroom.
Based on research and evaluation since project inception in 2010, this report summarizes results from two surveys of the implementation of learning technologies in LINC programs in Ontario and across Canada. There are plentiful examples across Canada of successful uptake by individual teachers and in some cases, entire programs. Surveys completed by training participants indicate 90%+ satisfaction with the training offered by the project. Yet, many LINC professionals have struggled to get started locally, and others have still not taken first steps.
Evaluation is part of everything we do on the Project. Since the project’s inception, the team has implemented evaluation strategies that allow us to maintain a conversation with all stakeholders: learners, teachers, managers and the funder. These conversations equip us with the feedback we need to constantly improve the teacher training and learner courseware services we provide to the LINC sector. This report focuses on information from teachers and managers on challenges, barriers and opportunities represented by LINC learning technology innovation. We welcome any feedback on the contents of the report and its conclusions.
The project is pleased to offer managers and lead teachers in the IRCC-funded language training sector a new version of our leadership guide. Where previous versions (2012 and 2014) were print and PDF based, the Moodle 3 edition is an online resource on the project portal.
The new guide has some familiar topics but they’ve all been updated and refreshed:
- Technology-enhanced language learning (TELL);
- The function of a learning management system and why we use Moodle;
- The Edulinc.ca learner courseware;
- The professional development stages offered free of charge to the LINC sector;
- The LearnIT2teach’s online resources such as Live Help that support practitioners.
The new leadership guide also examines some fresh and very relevant topics:
- Mobile-assisted language learning (MALL);
- Theory and evidence to show that local leadership and communication are at the heart of the learning technology innovation process;
How information technology can connect with newcomers with knowledge, skills and community to support their successful adaptation to Canada.
Learning Technology Innovation Leadership: Course Evaluation & Lessons for the Settlement Training Sector.
In addition to our four-stage blended learning teacher training, since 2015 the project has been developing, piloting and hosting online training for LINC managers or lead teachers. Our aim has been to encourage emerging learning technology leadership and build knowledge and awareness of blended learning opportunities and challenges facing local leaders.
Six cohorts have now completed Part 1 of the training, and three cohorts have finished Part 2. In this report we look at the survey results from participants and the lessons for course enhancement. We also include many thoughtful quotes posted on course discussion boards by participants. For anyone interested in innovating with LINC blended learning, the report has lots of information about what LINC leaders are encountering as they try to put LINC blended learning to work in their institutions. The result we believe is a summary of important lessons for the sector about learning technology innovation.
Project evaluation is part of every aspect of the project. This 85-page report summarizes what we’ve learned about learning innovation in the sector since 2013.
Updated in 2016 and now offered as an online resource, the bibliography provides summaries of key research into the application of learning technology and modernized approaches in the settlement language training sector.
A four-page guide to the blended learning courseware and teacher training the project provides to IRCC-funded settlement language training professionals.