Academic journal article
By Chiu, Scott Chien-Hsiung
Language, Learning & Technology , Vol. 12, No. 3
The learning process is no doubt more efficient when language learners are focused, engaged, and in charge of their own learning. Such language learners usually have specific goals for their own learning, and, furthermore, they are motivated and responsible for planning their learning activities, evaluating their performance, and monitoring their overall learning processes (Little, 1999, 2007); in short, such learners can be called autonomous. Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) applications and computer-based educational materials have been widely regarded as supportive of learner autonomy (Warschauer, 2002; Weasenforth, Meloni, & Biesenbach-Lucas, 2005). Nevertheless, the perceived potentials for fostering autonomy in the electronic learning environment are not fully realized until hypermedia interactivity is improved and broader access to the Internet is available (Hemard, 2006). Benefiting from the increasing availability of Internet technology and exploiting the enhanced interactivity of Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) (1), ActiveChinese introduces an online virtual classroom, Chinese Language Skills for the Business World. It incorporates the latest technology in multimedia design on the Internet, and, on its website (http://www.activechinese.com/intro1.jsp#Intro1), it promises to "provide a 24/7 visual and audio learning tool for 21st century Chinese learners" and make "learning Chinese thus much easier than ever before" (para.7). As an Internet-based language learning environment, ActiveChinese combines up-to-date features of interactive websites, such as Flash animation and RIAs, and the benefitsof video-conferencing, such as Skype.
ActiveChinese is a self-contained language learning website that provides a Chinese learning environment for beginning to low-intermediate adult learners of Chinese as a second or foreign language, particularly those who have an interest in Chinese language skills for business purposes.
Design and Modules of Active Chinese
As shown in Figure 1, the opening portal of ActiveChinese consists of five principal components, which are displayed on the navigation bar. …