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Exploring the use of tutorial recordings for beginner learners of Chinese in the Open Centre for Languages and Cultures

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posted on 2023-11-08, 11:41 authored by Christine Pleines, Qian Kan
Previous research into listening to recorded tutorial interaction highlights the potential of tutorial recordings as a scalable resource in online contexts. Dialogue between tutor and learner or between peers may mediate the understanding not just of direct participants, but also of overhearers, and listening to interactive recordings may facilitate deep learning. This is especially relevant to the non-accredited and self-directed short online language courses in the Open Centre for Languages and Cultures (OCLC), which were launched in October 2020 within the School of Languages and Applied Linguistics, to attract learners with a general interest in language learning or those who study for employment purposes. These courses must be affordable to learners (£199 per course) and financially viable for the School. Although learners on the OCLC have access to an expert language learning advisor, there are no tutorials. There is a concern, however, that beginner learners will need the support and interactive practice offered in tutorials, especially when starting a non-European language with very different pronunciation, script and language structure such as Chinese. This project explored potential learning benefits of watching tutorial recordings for beginner learners of Chinese and is making recommendations regarding the use of tutorial recordings as part of OCLC courses to address the lack of tutorial provision in the OCLC. It is hoped that this small-scale investigation will act as a pilot for a larger research study including more languages at the next stage. To investigate how learners might work with tutorial recordings in the OCLC, four live tutorials with real learners of Chinese were recorded in Adobe Connect for our study. Recording links were subsequently shared with learners on the beginner’s course (LXC001), and we collected viewing figures through Adobe Connect and conducted online surveys and interviews with participants who had watched the recordings. Our initial analysis of the data produced the following key findings: 16 out of 39 registered learners accessed at least 1 recorded tutorial, and some watched all four. LXC001-21B Learners who responded to our survey found the recordings useful. Viewers focused on different elements of the Powerpoint slides and tutor talk, for example, to improve their pronunciation or knowledge of Chinese characters. They also participated vicariously in interactions between teacher and other students and reported benefits for language learning and motivation. There were some tensions around the perceived usefulness of these interactions, and an indication that absolute beginners, in particular, were benefitting from witnessing tutor-learner dialogue.



  • Internal use only

Authorship group

  • Academic - Central

Institutional priority category

  • Students Learning Experiences


  • Student Experience

Subject discipline

  • Languages and Applied Linguistics

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