Language literacy is an essential life skill for the 21st century. It is a fact that learning a foreign language is a good way to improve brain function and acquire social skills. Moreover it is an effective way to explore other languages and cultures in order to obtain a professional advantage in labour market. These are some of the reasons why multilingualism was and continues to be one of the cornerstones of EU projects. According to the European Union, ”one of the specific objectives pursued by the Erasmus+ Programme in the field of education and training is to improve the teaching and learning of languages and to promote the EU’s broad linguistic diversity and intercultural awareness”.
It is a fact that the lack of language competences is still one of the main barriers to participation in European education, training and youth programmes. On that basis, EU has decided to offer linguistic support through an online linguistic support service to all the participants for studying, carrying out a traineeship or volunteering abroad in the framework of long-term mobility activities supported under Key Action 1 (HE students and staff, VET learners/staff, adult and school education staff, youth learners and workers). Participants will have the opportunity to assess their knowledge of the language they will use to study, work or volunteer abroad as well as to follow an online language course to improve their competences. In this way, mobility will be more efficient and effective and learning performance will be improved.
As language skills are in much demand the need for related on line courses is widespread. Also, new innovative technologies open new educational possibilities and change the way that we learn and teach. In fact, changes in digital technologies are happening much faster than our ability to monitor their impact. As a result, the look and feel of learning environments, the role of teachers, the nature of the learner and what and how they learn are being transformed. MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) is a new format for distance learning. Lately there is a growing number of online educational courses called MOOCs, that are massive, open, participatory and support the idea of distributed intelligence and lifelong learning.
The aim of the project is to research the potential of MOOCS in Language Learning, to explore the pedagogical framework of Language MOOCs, to develop a toolkit for the creation and management of Language MOOCs and OERs and to test the use of OERs in language MOOCs in a pilot course.
The LangMOOCs project focus is to step up support for language learning and promote multilingualism via the implementation of Massive Open Online Courses for Language Learning. One of the main outcomes of the project, the Language MOOCs toolkit, will include all the innovative methods and tools for the creation, management and evaluation of MOOCs and OERs for Language Learning. Most of the MOOCs are implemented and run by academic institutions. The LangMOOCs project also aims to non-academic institutions and language teacher and trainers.
More specifically, the OPENlang project is innovative because it aims to:
- promote the use of MOOCs in non- academic institutions
- promote the learning of less “popular” languages (Greek, Norwegian, and Italian)
- explore the pedagogic aspects of language teaching and learning in Massive Open Online Courses
- connect and support language teachers, educational organizations across EU.
- promote the EU’s broad linguistic diversity and intercultural awareness.
- support a community of practice for language teachers and trainers
- support social practices
- promote and support the creation of language OERs
- provide an open toolbox for the creation, management and evaluation of MOOCs and OERs for Language Learning
- combine personalized and collaborative learning (self-paced learning, training etc.)
- provide open and flexible learning
- support strategic use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)
- enhance accessibility through different devices
- promote participation of disadvantaged groups in society
- enhance the professional development (Provide the possibility for professional training)
- promote quality processes
- support sustainability (language teachers/organisations will be able to update their educational resources through the years in order to fulfill the different needs of EU mobility participants)