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Types of CALL activities

Following Jamieson and Chapelle's (1988) advice on the effectiveness of CALL, it might be a good idea to categorise CALL materials in terms of linguistic appropriateness, or effectiveness. A set of categories might then be in terms of age, expectations, ability, cognitive style, and affect.

Age: List CALL courseware that is attractive to certain age groups children / teenagers / adults.

Expectations: List CALL materials in terms of amount of required teacher / student control. More teacher control would be useful for less responsible learners; less teacher control for the better self monitors.

Ability: Categorise according to aptitude for learning, namely, the metacognitive, cognitive, and social learning styles.

Cognitive Style: Reflection / impulsivity. Conceptual level. Field independence. This would be matching the design of CALL courseware to the cognitive style of the learner.

Affect: Attitude: Students with good attitudes would be content with less animation or graphics and get down to work. For those with more negative learning attitudes, simpler more creative courseware would be helpful.

You would not have to choose just one of the above categories, each CALL courseware package could be marked for its effectiveness in each area (in much the same way that food is labelled for its contents and calories). Then, course designers would be able to make better choices for classes of learners, or individuals. The ideal courseware might include in-built variation where learners (or teachers) identify their own learning style (by answering a set of questions, or be entering a predetermined style number) before proceeding to the activity (in slightly modified form to suit the individual user).

Jamieson, J. and Chapelle, C. (1988). Using CALL effectively: What do we need to know about students? System, 16, 151-162.