Computer-assisted project based learning in second language: case studies in adult ESL

Access full-text files




Sidman-Taveau, Rebekah Lee

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This study investigates English as a second language learner experiences and development in two computer-assisted project based learning classes. Case studies were conducted in one beginning and one intermediate level class in a Community Based English Tutoring program. Participants included 27 adult English as a second language students and 2 teachers. The teachers implemented a computer-assisted version of project based learning entailing the organization of learning around real world problems, student centered instruction, student collaboration, teacher as facilitator, the use of authentic materials and audiences, formative assessment, reflection, and the production of authentic artifacts. Implementation of this approach in the beginning class was facilitated by organized team work strategies and collaborative translation. Participants used English extensively in a variety of modes and had many communicative opportunities for meaningful interaction and negotiation. The affective outcomes were predominately positive in both classes despite a variety of circumstantial challenges in the teaching context. In both classes, learners developed independence, higher order thinking, and electronic literacy skills. They also developed specific English language skills and language learning strategies. The teachers faced challenges similar to those reported in previous literature on project based learning; they did not experience challenges exclusive to second language instruction. Formative assessment and reflection were found to be challenging, but informative. Overall, data suggest that rich target language input and output and linguistic development are afforded by this version of computer-assisted project based learning which attends to important psychological components in learning.