Enhancing Online Language Learning: Training the trainers and engaging the learners

The Initative Team

Initiative Lead
National University of Ireland Galway

Primary Contact
Laura McLoughlin

Initiative Budget


Initiative Type


The T&L initiative relates to the teaching of languages online. It proposes the creation of training materials designed to assist teacher trainers, language teachers and students in the transition from the traditional face-to-face to the online environment.

Experience shows that existing models, created for non-language subjects, are not adaptable to the structure of online language learning and cannot help to develop the classic four skills (reading, writing, listening, speaking). Online modules must facilitate the development of these skills, as well as phonetic and phonological awareness, and interaction in a second language.

The peculiar challenges of online language teaching include instructions given in the target language, which require structural designs with extreme simplification and clarity. Assessment and evaluation is also problematic. For students, learning languages online necessitates an ability to participate in a variety of interactive activities organised in non-traditional structures, as well as an ability to deal with multimodal environments. Such abilities cannot be taken for granted.

This T&L initiative therefore sets out to:

1. Train language teachers and trainers to transform new digital challenges into opportunities and provide a model for structuring, delivering and assessing e-learning language courses
2. Provide language students with the digital proficiency necessary to participate in and maximize the benefits of eLearning
3. Create an online module to train teachers to teach and assess languages online
4. Offer an online module to introduce students to online language learning
5. Offer a bilingual website (Irish – English) providing access to these modules