‘THINKING ABOUT LEARNING’: EXPLORING THE USE OF METACOGNITIVE STRATEGIES IN ONLINE COLLABORATIVE PROJECTS FOR DISTANCE PROFESSIONAL ENGLISH LEARNING
Keywords:professional english, computer assisted language learning, collaborative and project-based learning, metacognition and multi-cyclic evaluation
This article explores the use of metacognitive strategies in the context of online collaborative language projects, on the basis of the authors’ claim that they can unveil spurious conventional assumptions on the general nature of online language learning, and thereby enable informed, self-regulated, and potentially effective individual learning processes. This research is situated in a recently completed pilot project called The Professional English Workbench, which involved task-based group formation and a rubric-based multi-cyclic (self- and hetero-) evaluation process that aimed at eliciting and enhancing the use of metacognition. As explained in the article, this project was undertaken by volunteer students from a number of subjects related to professional English in three Tourism subjects at UNED (according to a tertiary distance education institution which uses a blended learning methodology focusing on online learning via its virtual platform). Both the mechanics of the project and the analysis of the results are presented, making reference to the initial research questions, which were related to the students’ view on the collaborative tasks undertaken and the potential improvement of metacognitive competence in the context of the whole second language learning process.
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