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Authentic oral language production and interaction in CALL: A conceptual framework for the use of learning analytics within the SpeakApps project

This paper sets out to construct and present a conceptual framework for the use of learning analytics to facilitate synchronous and asynchronous oral language skills within a CALL context. Drawing from both the CALL and wider theoretical and empirical literature of learner analytics, the framework sets to theorise and problematize one construct i.e. the authenticity of language production and interaction during a CALL mediated session.

It is argued within the paper that a CALL learning analytics approach is usefully conceptualised from a student-centred perspective as opposed to an interventionist perspective. Placing the student at the centre of learning analytics it is asserted, promotes greater self-regulation within the learning process and can encourage inquiry based learning by the learner. The paper considers how both structured (usually represented by statistics from VLEs or LMS) and unstructured data (user generated content) can be harnessed to support the oral language learning process. The concept of facilitating a learner in his/her development of a personal learning environment is central to this process. The paper presents the initial results from the empirical exploratory study into the operationalisation of this framework using the SpeakApps tools and the CEFR. The paper concludes by considering the results of the study and its implications for the proposed framework and for the broader use of learning analytics in CALL design.


Mairéad Nic Giolla Mhichíl    
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Dublin City University

Mairéad Nic Giolla Mhichíl is the Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in DCU. Researcher in the SpeakApps project 2011/12 and Principle Researcher 2013/14. She is a Lecturer in information technology in the Irish-medium School of Fiontar (meaning innovation) and holds undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in finance, computing, enterprise and e-commerce and education.

Jeroen van Engen    
Language Centre
University of Groningen

Senior lecturer of Dutch and researcher in the SpeakApps project (, EU LLP 2011-2012 and 2013-2014), researcher in the Magicc project ( EU LLP, 2011-2014), member of the Testing Unit of the Language Centre, chairman of the SIG on ICT and blended learning of the BVNT2 (Association of Teachers of Dutch as a second language in the Netherlands and Belgium)

Colm Ó Ciardúbháin    
Dublin City University

Lecturer in the Irish Language and Academic Programme chairperson for Fiontar’s undergraduate programmes. He is Dublin City University’s representative on the task force for the inter-institutional Meitheal um Theagasc na Gaeilge (Task force for the Teaching of Irish), an all-island initiative of Higher Education Institutions to establish an agreed curriculum and subject benchmark with associated learning outcomes for the teaching of Irish in third level. In 2012 Colm was awarded the DCU President’s Award for Innovative Assessment techniques.

Gearóid Ó Cleircín    
Dublin City University

Gearóid Ó Cleircín is a Lecturer in Irish and a digital humanities researcher in Fiontar, Dublin City University.

Christine Appel    
eLearn Center
Universitat Oberta de Catalunya

Christine Appel is the director of the eLearn Center at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) in Barcelona. She has coordinated EFL and teacher training courses in her role as senior lecturer at the School of Languages at the UOC. She holds a PhD in Applied Linguistics from the University of Dublin, Trinity College. Her current research interests include Computer-mediated Communication, Distance education and Task-based Learning.


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