Summative evaluation of online language learning course efficiency for students studying tourism and hospitality management

DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1108/QAE-04-2018-0051
Date08 October 2018
Pages446-465
Published date08 October 2018
AuthorIneta Luka
Subject MatterEducation,Curriculum, instruction & assessment,Educational evaluation/assessment
Summative evaluation of online
language learning course
eciency for students studying
tourism and hospitality
management
Ineta Luka
Turiba University, Riga, Latvia
Abstract
Purpose The paper aims to analyse the application of a pedagogy-based approach to designing online
language learning co urses. It aims to evaluate c ourse efciency from three perspectives provider,
recipient and wider community perspective and dene the extent to which the target course could be
applied for developing tourism and hospitality industry studentsand employeeslanguage competences
in Europe.
Design/methodology/approach In line with pragmatism paradigm, a summative/outcome
evaluation research in provider, recipient and wider community perspective was conducted in Latvia,
Croatia, Slovenia, Romania and Italy. It comprised a focus group interview of 8 language teachers (the
provider perspective), a survey of 505 students (the recipient perspective) and a survey of 106
language teachers and 161 industry representatives and 10 expert interviews (the wider community
perspective).
Findings The results highlight the main strengths of online learning environments and emphasise the
efciency of the pedagogy-based approach applied in designing an online course. The created courses are
benecial and may be used to foster the development of tourism and hospitality industry studentsand
employeeslanguagecompetences.
Research limitations/implications The research sample is composedof language learners from ve
countries, but it is not proportionallydistributed. Another limitation refers to the languages piloted.Further
in-depthstudy concerning less widely used languagesis required.
Practical implications The research results enable understanding certain aspects of designingonline
language learningcourses, provide evaluatorsfeedback, suggestthe course application for language learning
and reveal the Europeanvalue added.
Originality/value The research explores the specics for designing online language learning
courses for Languages for Special Purposes for the application in tourism and hospitality industry.
The course efciency and quality are evaluated from provider, recipient and wider community
perspective.
Keywords Quality assurance, Online learning, Competence development, Course efciency,
Language competence
Paper type Research paper
The current research has been conducted within the Framework of Erasmus1project, Key Skills for
European Union Hotel Sta, 2014-2016, Project No.: 2014-1-HR01-KA2014-007224. The project has
been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reects the views only of
the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the
information contained therein.
QAE
26,4
446
Received29 April 2018
Revised5 July 2018
Accepted17 July 2018
QualityAssurance in Education
Vol.26 No. 4, 2018
pp. 446-465
© Emerald Publishing Limited
0968-4883
DOI 10.1108/QAE-04-2018-0051
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
www.emeraldinsight.com/0968-4883.htm
Introduction
The twenty-rst century brings new challenges in all spheres of life, including education.
Globalisation and internationalisation processes, theincrease of information amount and its
immediate spread, digitalisation and rapid development of new technologies and their
application in the study process have signicantly impacted the learning process (De Wit,
2011;Larsen, 2016;Mejia and Phelan, 2014;OECD, 2016), including language learning
(Beacco et al., 2015;Kaya, 2015;King et al., 2011;Lai and Li, 2011). Language learners are
exposed to a new kind of milieu which ensures traditional face-to-face learning as well as
incorporates digital technologies and various online language learning resources (Bueno-
Alastuey and L
opez Pérez, 2014;Hsu, 2013;Labbas and Shaban, 2013). The offer is
versatile from integrationof just some technology-driven activities in language learning to
virtual learning environmentswherein students exchange ideas and collaborateon fullling
a common task, from online to blended-learning language courses created for varioustarget
groups.
Previous research on e-learninghighlight various reasons for its popularity, among them
new possibilities for learning without time-space constraints(Sevilla-Pav
on, 2015, p. 40),
promoting collaboration and connection among learners and creating an integrative
learning environment specically associated with blended-learning (Garrison and
Vaugham, 2008), which correspondsto constructivism pedagogy in teaching moving away
from a content transmission modelto learner-centred and technology-mediated learning
focusing on knowledge construction and collaboration (Gerbic, 2011, p. 228). E-learning
provides not only exible learningpaths in terms of place and time but also enables learners
to adopt their own speed through asynchronousand synchronous learning network models
(Chao and Chen, 2009;Dwivedi and Bharadwaj, 2013;Liu et al., 2014). It opens also new
opportunities for language learning, especially for acquiring and practicing vocabulary
which can be done directly through vocabulary learning activities or in the context of
reading and listening tasks (Read, 2004)the approach used in Languages for Special
Purposes (LSP) courses.
These changes in teaching/learning approaches have signicantly impacted the course
content and teaching/learning methodology. As claimed by Son (2016, p. 315) we are facing
a signicant paradigm shift from traditional learning to learner centered active learning
which may also be translated as collaborative and engaged learningthat may be
implemented through case studies, simulations, games, role-playing(Son, 2016, p. 316),
problem-solving tasks, creativity stimulating tasks, etc. that alongside with the
development of learnerslanguage competence develop their transversal skills and
professional knowledge.The learner centeredness also means student satisfaction, which, as
emphasised by Rienties et al. (2015), has become an important component of quality
assurance.
Incorporation of e-learning components and courses in the curricula, disregarding their
format (blended-learning, online learning) brings forward issues concerning quality
assurance. According to recent research on onlineand blended learner satisfaction (Li et al.,
2016), if learners are satised withthe quality of teaching materials and assessment applied,
they are more satised with their overall learning experience and eventually develop their
competences more and are likely to select other courses offered by the given university.
Thus, quality assurance is paramount here in terms of skills development and widening
learnersexperiencesand positive attitudes.
In e-learning quality assurance refers primarily to the learning material/content, online
platform, communication, cooperationand interactivity, student assessment, exibility and
adaptability and various managerial issues (Naaji et al.,2015). The current paper will deal
Language
learning
course
eciency
447

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