An expert workshop entitled ‘Optimizing the role of language in Technology-Enhanced Learning” will be organized within the framework of Kaleidoscope’s Integrated Digital Language Learning seed grant project. It will be held at the University of Louvain (Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium) on October 4th - 5th 2007.
Natural language is ubiquitous in Technology-Enhanced Learning (TEL). It is present in both the input (texts, instructions, scripts) and the output (answers to exercises, collaborative writing, etc.) of the learning process and is the main channel of interactive communication between the tutor and the learner and between the learners. It plays a major role in all TEL fields in both hard and soft sciences. In Technology-Enhanced Language Learning (TELL), it is the learning objective besides being the vehicle for learning.
Although language is crucially involved in most TEL applications, it is usually either left unexploited or processed with crude techniques and most applications do not get the benefit of the much more powerful techniques provided by Natural Language Processing (NLP) that make it possible to automate a wide range of processes (glossing of texts, error detection and feedback, discourse analysis, rating of learners’ answers, exercise generation, etc).
The workshop aims to take stock of cutting-edge research in the field of automated analysis of language and its application to TEL, with a particular focus on TELL. It will target all types of learning environments with special emphasis on Learning Management Systems (LMS) and handheld mobile devices. It will bring together two strands of research which up to now have been largely separate:
- language specialists with expertise in NLP, corpus linguistics, lexicography, lexical computing, technology-enhanced language learning who will present their methods and tools and show the benefit that can be derived from integrating them into TEL(L) applications;
- TEL(L) researchers – both academic and industrial - who would like to explore new and more effective ways of dealing with language.
The workshop will be a unique opportunity to get first-hand information on recent developments in the integration of language analysis into TEL(L), make fruitful contact with major players in the field and set up new partnerships. One major outcome of the workshop will be a volume on “Language in Technology-Enhanced Learning: Issues, Challenges and Prospects”.