Post by Brenda, Lily, Julie and Phoebe


Technology‐mediated Language teaching at distance is now geographically widespread around the world as a well-established means of extending access and opportunities to language learners in both public and private settings.

The feature of all forms of distance language teaching are that teachers and learners are physically separated, that “the bulk of the learning takes place in non‐co‐presence” (Lamy, 2013).


The Evolution of Distance Language Teaching

Distance language teaching has evolved largely in response to developments in technology (White, 2017).

Printed-based courses→→Educational radio and Broadcast television→→Computer technologies→→Interactive multimedia→→ Web 2.0 Environments→→ Second Life

Generational Models of Distance Language Teaching (White, 2006)

A screenshot of the Open University in the United Kingdom web. Image credit: Lily Wu


Elements in Distance Language Learning (White, 2017)

Blake (2009) reviewed technical applications for second language distance learning and found it important to reconsider current best teaching practices. The most important technologies tools and environments are the following elements:

CMC-based environments

Computer‐mediated communication (CMC) allows learners to get involved in collaborative learning environments, connect with peers, and develop a sense of community.

Audio graphic and videoconferencing environments

It is important to identify the skills teachers need and track learners for feedback.

Learning management systems (LMSs)

Doughty and Long (2003) criticized the large-scale commercialization of distance language courses. Those systems were not created for language learning and decreased opportunities to interact.


Telecollaboration brought language learners from different countries together for collaborative projects or cross-cultural communication.

Web 2.0 tools

Like blogs and wikis, with these tools, learners actively build their own version of the curriculum from the resources they obtained.


Pedagogical Issues

Enquiry into pedagogical innovation now focuses on task design, assessment of learning, and teacher expertise rather than teacher roles, functionalists of the environment or something else (White, 2017).

Task Design

(1) Course design — lengthy, detailed process, ongoing attention to learning goals, assessment, rate of progress, opportunities for feedback on course work.

However, Lamy (2013) noted: “remote, isolated learners whose learning is impeded or halted by design issues cannot obtain immediate help, nor can the designers intervene swiftly to recast pedagogical orientations that have been explicitly described for the learners in the self‐study materials already released to them.”

Therefore, in order not to make learners confused or result in such negative impacts as learners’ loss of confidence brought by updating or revising a course through virtual learning environments, task design has become the new focus.

(2) Task Design — consideration on affordances of certain online tools, the needs and preferences of learners, the goals of specific learning events and opportunities to develop interactive competence.


Increasing focus: matching assessment to the kinds of interactive and collaborative opportunities integral to contemporary paradigms of distance language learning (White, 2017)

Focus extended: new complexities and specific constraints in relation to assessment (Wang& Chen, 2013)

Teacher Expertise

Lamy and Goodfellow (1999) — Tutor Styles

Ernest, Heiser and Murphy (2013) — understanding distance teacher skills in different virtual settings in relation to specific task types

Sustained focus: how to encourage interaction and collaboration, how to maintain motivation and to ensure student retention and course completion



Critiques remain concerning the part technology plays and the quality of learning experiences learners obtain from distance-education programs (White, 2017).

1. The development and applicability of technology for distance learning largely rely on how the authorities perceive and promote distance-education programs (Asiimwe, Grönlund, Hatakka, 2017).

2. It can be observed that some distance-learning institutions deliver their online courses through non-interactive technologies only (Mouza, 2017).

3. It is difficult for either distance-learning institutions or learners to keep pace with ever-shifting technology. How well students can utilize technology for learning is critical for their success (Rajesh, 2003).

4. The lack of clear educational models and quality assurance mechanism may result in inappropriate study material and unqualified course designs, which largely discourages students from learning (Martey, 2004)

5. The quality of learning can be reduced if students do not have effective ways to communicate with lecturers or fail to find out promptly whether they make progress or not (Jackson, 2017).



1. What do you know about distance language learning? Do you think it is unique or it is only similar to other kinds of online language learning, such as apps on the cellphone?

2. One indispensable element of distance language learning is those relevant institutions. Can you give any suggestion on their quality assurance mechanism?

3. What educational strategies should distance-learning institutions adopt to raise learners’ studying enthusiasm?

71 thoughts on “DO YOU LEARN “DISTANCELY”?

  1. 1. I am not sure about the differences of online teaching and distance language learning, so probably it is pretty much the same just like those E-learning apps. The teacher and students are physically seperated, lessons are delivered through online platform, etc.
    2. Regular training is a must that can help teachers to develop their online teaching skills and adapt to the latest trend in multimodality.
    3. Students can be easily distracted when they are learning online, the study efficiency will be reduced accordingly. So the application of other modes of teaching is important, such as using games, musics, or videos. If distance language teaching is only conducted through the PPT and text, then it is just dull.

    • Tiffany, what you mentioned is highly in accordance with the increasing requirements for teachers nowadays. Teachers have to improve their technical skills to take good control of those online tools. Basic PPT designing skills is far from sufficient.

      So training is definitely needed regularly since there are still numerous emerging technological programms for distance learning. Maybe those who are professional in the field of computer are also worth recruiting if the school chooses the distance-learning method.

  2. Now, we are having class through Zoom. This is a kind of distance language learning. You can also have distance language learning though apps on the cellphone. You can combine distance language learning with mobile learning. They are not totally separated from each other.
    I think the quality of teachers and good pedagogical skills are very important. Because teachers and students are not together, independent learning plays an essential role in students’ daily learning. Qualified teachers need to use good pedagogical methods to motivate students, attract students and make the distance language learning effective.
    For distance language learning, interaction is very important. Teachers tend to give lectures to computers. Students can be easily distracted. In order to improve the efficiency of distance language learning, the interaction between teachers and students should be increased. Teachers can do that by asking questions and design interesting lectures.

    • Thanks for your comments!
      I agree with the idea that increasing interaction is essential to distance learning. Only through this way can help teachers create an class-atmosphere that your students are actually attending a class, completing the tasks and take the responsibility of their academic performances not just for fun online, thus avoiding unnecessary distraction during their learning process. In my opinion, besides teacher-student interaction, interacting with peers through polls or breakout rooms is also necessary in order to let students output language more.

  3. Because of the pandemic, we need to do self-quarantine in our room and are now taking online courses through ZOOM. So I think this kind of courses is a kind of distance language learning. If compared with other kind of online learning like using the recorded videos to study, I think DLL specializes in that the students can establish an instant and simultaneous connection with their teacher and classmates. Therefore, it’s more like studying offline with the other students. And in ZOOM, we can use breakout rooms, polls and other multimodal functions to interact with each other, which in some extent reduce the problems brought by the limitation of the space. And some teachers may ask the students to open their camera as a way of monitoring their behaviors in class, so the students may be less willing to do other things at the same time. In contrast, for other online language learning besides recorded courses, we also have some apps like Baicizhan for memorizing the new vocabulary. Their outcome of the effectiveness is more reflected from the users’ own attitude to do this. Therefore, they are less formal and users are easier to be distracted.

    Some related policies are needed. For those private educational institutions, they need to get the recognition from the authority before they put forward their distance online teaching. The materials for teaching should also be examined before being put into the actual use. A regular testing for the quality of course is needed too. I think except for the difference of the medium for teaching, we should set up the standard as strict as those for offline formal language teaching.

    First, I think we can do from the behaviors of online language teaching teachers. In order to increase the enthusiasm of the students, we should train the teachers to learn how to activate the atmosphere of the class. I remembered some teachers in mainland who taught through Dingtalk, they would sang a song like a DJ during the break time. They tried to make the boring class more interesting, so the students were attracted by their teachers. Second, it’s also a good idea to include the new literacy practices into the class. As the students are using the computer, maybe we can recommend the teachers to use blogs, video editing activities and even online games to teaching. Ask them to work in pairs or team, and sometimes offer them a wide opportunity to do the task according to their own interest for language learning.

    • Thanks for your reply, Connor!
      yes, I’ve found that many teachers are developing better attractive teaching styles in distance learning environment.
      They will use music to relax students in the break time, additionally, students are allowed more chances to take part in class activities.

      Thanks to the advance of distance learning, there are so many choices for students, they can ask for screen sharing for the whole class, they can also privately discussing with intimate peers through chat boxes if they are shy to talk and share….

      I have to admit that the only problem currently is the commercialization of distance teaching, teachers’ and institutions’ qualification are urgently needed monitored and tested frequently. Otherwise, it will be a waste of time and money!

  4. As for me, distance language learning simply means that language learning is no long restricted in classroom, and it also can be called as e-language learning, where all participants are connected to the Internet, including teachers, learners, administrators,etc. I think it is similar to other kinds of online learning because they all take the e-mode.
    Distance language learning does some advantages, but there is one thing that worries me a lot: the motivation of students. In order to acquire a language, it is not enough to learn linguistic knowledge, communication skills should also be gained. But for students who adopt distance language learning, they lack opportunities for direct oral communication with both peers and the teacher. Therefore, an extremely important task of the teachers who teach online is to add as much interaction as possible in the virtual environment, and they have to create more activities to attract students, which places great burden on the teacher. Therefore, it not necessary, I will not use it.

    • Thanks, Flora!
      Most of the issues mentioned above is related to the lack of interaction. I think this problem is acceptable and understandable since teacher need to take charge of the teaching quality itself, so maybe what their urgent need is about how to complete the teaching syllabus on time.

      So such kind of need may push them to cut the time for students’ responses. If I’m the teacher who practices online teaching, I also might find difficulty to allocate time wisely between my formal instruction and students’ feedback.

  5. I think distance language learning may be similar to other kinds of online language learning.

    The institutions should provide sufficient distance language teaching training courses to their teachers in the form of workshops to make sure that they can fully operate the online teaching. Also, those institutions can invest money on the development of fully reliable distance learning tools that can best facilitate a real interactive way of language learning.

    To raise learners’ studying enthusiasm, I think distance-learning institutions can make the best use of the most cutting-edge technologies to create a fully interactive interface where learners can interactive with their peers and teachers simultaneously with their face expression, body movement and gestures easily captured. More group discussion should also be encouraged to help “isolated” learners to feel that they are all immersed in the same virtual classroom where everyone’s learning needs can be catered for.

    • Sure, teacher expertise should be one critical benchmark for evaluation of distance learning. Since some distance learning courses may present good teachers for marketing, but present under-qualified teachers for real class. Thus, how to make sure the teaching quality of teachers should be placed emphasis on.

  6. Well, one form of distance learning is actually what we are doing now-having class through Zoom. I think it is quite similar to learning through apps on the cellphone since leaners do not have to travel a long distance to arrive at the physical classroom.

    In order to ensure the quality of distance learning provided by some institutions, we need to check their teachers’ qualifications. Another advice is that before we purchase their online courses, we can have a test class to evaluate whether or not their courses are suitable to us. I think these two ways can help us decide whether the quality of their courses live up to our expectation.

    From my perspective, in order to raise learners’ learning enthusiasm, institutions should ensure that teachers and students can have interaction during distance classes. For example, teachers can design some interesting activities for students to participate rather than lecturing for the whole class. In that way, students will be involved in the class. Since they are less likely to get distracted, their leaning effect will also be improved.

    • Yeah! Two points you made are very critical. The test class should be arranged instead of letting prospective students just watching the pre-recorded courses to decide whether they would buy the courses or not. Furthermore, the interaction between students and teachers should be guaranteed. Some distance learning courses just pre-record their courses. In this case, the learning motivation should be discouraged to a large extent.

  7. I think maybe distance language learning is similar to online language learning like we are having online lecture today, because they share the same learning situations such as teachers and students being separate, teachers giving lessons through online videoconferencing.
    In order to assure the quality of distance language learning, it can be crucial to set up the threshold to require higher qualification of teacher. And for inservice teachers, periodic training and assessment are necessary. Because of the weakness that distance language learning may lack interaction between teachers and students, assessing
    on students’ in-class performance and offering feedback can be difficult, so it requires teachers to provide more oppotunities for students’ interaction and give regular assignment.
    I also think it is important to raise learners’ studying enthusiasm. Teachers should organize his or her lesson plan appropriately and arrange necessary break time to maintian student’s attention when return back to teaching&learning. Moreover, teachers also have to organize some interesting activities to motivate students such as debating, storying making, dubing and so on.

    • Hi Charlotte, thank you for your comment!
      Distance language teaching may lead to lack of interaction due to various restrictions, so teachers can organize more interactive activities and track students for feedback. You mentioned giving students the necessary breaks to help them focus better in class, which is a good idea. Prolonged use of electronic devices can make students tired. And, more interesting activities may make students more actively engaged in interaction.

  8. Thanks for the post!

    1. I have learned several courses in Coursera before. Coursera is a widely recognized online learning platform that is open for learners all around the world. Thanks to this platform, I could sit at home and learn from teachers in other countries. What I have felt and experienced on Coursera is quite unique and it is different from learning through a cellphone app. On Coursera, the courses are well organized, and teachers provide clear instructions as well as proper guidance. So I had the feeling that I was taking a formal class. Also, at present, we are receiving online lessons, which is also a great example of distance language learning.

    2. A QA department should be established to ensure that there is a systematic way of measuring the teaching quality, as well as detecting and responding to the problems existed.

    3. Interest is the best teacher. So the most crucial part is to produce attractive courses, including both the learning content and the teaching style.

    • Sure! Aria! I should check on Coursera to see how it goes. Since you mention QA department, I have to say that is really a good point. I don’t know whether other people share the same feeling: it seems there is no such thing for the distance learning (I know there should be one). Maybe that is also one reason why people are no so interested into distance learning. Learners are so afraid of being cheated or something like that.
      Besides, I do believe that producing attractive courses should be paid more attention to, especially the interactive aspect. Those pre-recorded courses are so boring.

  9. In my opinion, distance language learning is a way in which students usually being taught and given assignment via Internet without the restriction of place. It is quite similar to other kinds of online language learning. Instead of commuting to a fixed classroom, we make use of the advanced web-based platforms to learn.

    The establishment of strict teaching management system plays a key role in improving the quality of distance language learning provided by institutions. As for the teachers, they should not only master solid academic knowledge, but also literacy skills required in distance teaching. Thus, specialized technical training should be given by institutions rather than having them to start from zero. On the other hand, peer coaching is another key means to promote teachers’ professional development. Preparing the lesson with the help of other members of subject group can fill the gaps in the teaching plans. What’s more, it is also important to incorporate feedback from students and parents to advance in-class teaching effect.

    In order to stimulate learners’ enthusiasm for distance learning, it is necessary to design various teaching activities. The toolkit of various modalities such as video, image and music can be used to grab learners’ attention. Group discussion is another useful way to prevent students from drifting away and stimulate their desire to express.

    • Hi Yvaine, thank you for your reply. I agree with you that it is important to establish a relatively complete teaching management system, because distance teaching still requires more practice to be improved than traditional classroom teaching. You mentioned peer coaching to help teachers better teach. Teachers can cooperate and communicate more to develop their professional skills and literacy skills effectively. Also, there can be the toolkit of multimodality, which may make students more motivated.

  10. Hi Yvaine, thank you for your reply. I agree with you that it is important to establish a relatively complete teaching management system, because distance teaching still requires more practice to be improved than traditional classroom teaching. You mentioned peer coaching to help teachers better teach. Teachers can cooperate and communicate more to develop their professional skills and literacy skills effectively. Also, there can be the toolkit of multimodality, which may make students more motivated.

  11. I think distance language learning is similar to online language learning. But distance language learning is more like a virtual class online with both teachers and students.
    But online lerning can be automatic learning by learner thenmselves.

    I still consider face to face teaching is more effective for yong learners. Its hard to know what are they doing in the class, and do they cheating in an exam. So if young learners are taking the distance language learning classes, I think its important to have an assistant teacher who can superivise their learning process from time to time.

    3. What educational strategies should distance-learning institutions adopt to raise learners’ studying enthusiasm?

    • Thanks for your comment, Cathy. You mentioned that younger students need to teach face-to-face because they may lack self-discipline. This is right because distance learning may make it difficult for teachers to quickly track the learning of each student, and some students still lack learning autonomy. Therefore, a teacher who can pay attention to the situation of students in time is important. In addition, I think it is necessary to assess and evaluate the performance of students in a timely manner.

  12. 1. What do you know about distance language learning? Do you think it is unique or it is only similar to other kinds of online language learning, such as apps on the cellphone?
    Distance language learning, according to my knowledge, is a kind of learning where teachers and learners are situated in different places and some technological skills make it work. It’s a bit different from online language learning. Specific teachers don’t necessarily show up in online language learning while they do in distance language learning.
    2. One indispensable element of distance language learning is those relevant institutions. Can you give any suggestion on their quality assurance mechanism?
    Interaction and monitor should be improved. One factor lowering the quality of distance language learning is probably that students are not engaged or easily distrated. To prevent it, more efforts should be put in getting them involved actively in class.
    3. What educational strategies should distance-learning institutions adopt to raise learners’ studying enthusiasm?
    Interaction between students and teachers, students and students. Teachers do not only ask display questions, but also authentic questions and open-ended questions which will activate learners’ knowledge and think harder.

    • Thank you for your reply, Olivia. I think you make a good point here by saying that distance learning is still a bit different from online language learning because some (or a large amount of ) distance learning courses don’t have teachers present at the exact time students being learning. The role the organization plays should be monitored better to ensure the quality of distance learning courses.

    • Thanks for your reply, Olivia. Yes, it seems that the role of teachers in distance language teaching is more emphasized. One factor you mentioned that reduces the quality of distance language learning may be that students are not involved or are easily alienated. This is true because it is difficult for a teacher to quickly track the learning of each student, and it is also its disadvantage compared to face-to-face classes. It is therefore important to ensure that everyone can get involved by organizing appropriate classroom activities and require them to respond in time. Students’ responses in class and completion of homework can also be part of the assessment.

  13. I think distance learning resembles other types of learning in some aspects. For instance, distance learning is similar to mobile learning because learning activities in the two contexts are realized with the aid of technology and people are entitled to learn from a distance. The two learning types are closely related with each other.
    Since teachers don’t accompany students in person during their learning processes. It is of great importance for teachers to have proficiency in using some inspiring pedagogical approaches to engage students in learning activities. I think teachers should be provided with a series of systematic training before they commence distance teaching.
    I think teachers can employ some applications that can supervise the using time of each activities on students’ computers. For example, teachers can get a report on students using time for different activities on computers such as how much time they spend on using some study applications and how much time they spend on playing games. Nevertheless, this method may cause problems related to privacy infringement, so teachers should find a balance when using this approach.

    • Thanks for your comment, Coco! What you mean is that it is important to use some inspirational teaching methods to involve students in learning activities. I agree with you, and I think it can also be important to improve students’ learning autonomy effectively. Distance language teaching may place higher requirements on students’ self-control and learning efficiency. In addition, you pointed out that teachers could get reports on the time students spend on different activities on the computer, which could also be a way to monitor students. But developing such an application and ensuring its accuracy can be challenging.

  14. Distance language learning is to learn through a device that is connected to Internet, which breaks the boundary of physical classrooms. I think learning through apps on the cellphone can be a kind of online language learning. But according to your post, the concept of distance learning includes the element of “LMSs” and “telecollaboration”, so it requires more interactions between learners and there is a mechanism to invigilate and manage the process of learning rather than full independent learning through apps. Therefore, I guess distance language learning is a broader concept.

    For institutions, they can stay contact with learners to ask for feedback on teaching and make some improvement after. Institutions can also provide the training on some professional or vocational certificates so the learning can be recognized widely.

    Teachers can combine new literacies into pedagogy to assign some in-class activities such as digital composing or using more multimodal resources to illustrate in class.

    • Thanks, Shanice. The feedback from students really gets my attention. I mean, leaners pay for the courses, so they should be viewed as customers to some extent. Customer experience should be valued and respected, right? But I am not so sure how the organization should utilize the feedback. That should be a problem for the organization to think about maybe.

  15. To be honest, I’m not very sure about the difference between distance learning and online learning. According to my knowledge, distance learning is student-centred and online learning is still traditionally teacher-centred but conducted on the Internet.
    Teachers should receive appropriate amount of training before conducting distance learning. Additionally, teachers should select learning materials of students’ interest as well as making class more interactive.
    From my point of view, the most useful strategy is to regularly offer students immediate feedback on their learning. If students are not frequently encouraged or informed of their progress, their learning enthusiasm may not be sustainable.

    • Thanks for your comment, Alex. You mentioned that teachers can choose learning materials that students are interested in and make the classroom more interactive. This is true because distance language teaching may place high requirements on students’ learning initiative. Teachers can carefully select topics and materials that students like when preparing for teaching, and arrange more tasks that require interaction when teaching. Also you pointed out the importance of giving feedback and encouraging students. It may be able to motivate them more.

  16. Learning from your post, “the feature of all forms of distance language teaching are that teachers and learners are physically separated”, which means that the distant language learning simulates a real classroom environment, including teacher’s instructions, interactions and class activities, which is realized through Internet. In contrast, I think the online language learning is a wider concept including a wide range of language learning forms based on digital tools, either a live feed or videotaped lectures.
    There are increasing numbers of language educational instructions, yet the quality is patchy. The quality of the instruction mainly depends on trained faculties and internal resources, so the policy should be implemented to guarantee the qualification of the institute. Besides, teachers in the institution should be trained to enhance their competitiveness.
    Not only professional teaching knowledge is needed, but also the thinking of how to use digital tools to activate the classroom atmosphere, arouse students’ interest and make teaching more effective.

    • Hi, Carina, thank you for your comment. You mentioned that the quantity of language teaching is increasing, but the quality is not high. I agree and there may be some problems and room for improvement, as the new teaching models need more practice to be improved than traditional teaching models, and teachers can find better teaching methods. Besides, you think that some policies can be implemented to ensure the qualification of the institution, which may be a good idea, because those emerging education methods do need to be regulated.

  17. When thinking about distance language learning, Zoom and Ding Ding come to my mind immediately. During this period, we continue our curriculum with the help of Zoom; Students in mainland China continue their lessons using Ding Ding. And I think it is similar to other kinds of online language learning to some extent because they all need digital devices to carry out the learning activities.

    In my opinion, the teacher’s pedagogical knowledge and language knowledge are the essential elements to assure the teaching quality. Students can’t learn the language attributes effectively without qualified teachers. So there should be regular training to assure teachers’ expertise.

    Distance-learning may be a challenge for those low-discipline students, especially for those young children. To raise learners’ studying enthusiasm, I think it is a good idea to add more interesting elements like background music, pictures and videos. Besides, there should be more opportunities for feedback on course work, which can supervise these students to some extent.

    • Thank you Many. I think your opinion is very inspiring. I really think low-discipline students may not be able to deal with the distance learning well. They may be distracted to other entertaining things too easily. So how to provide this kind of students with better courses should be an important question for the organizations. As to the interesting elements of courses, I believe it is feasible to make some changes to some boring courses because I believe they are just a matter of technical problems, right?

  18. I appreciate a lot that “the feature of all forms of distance language teaching are that teachers and learners are physically separated (Lamy,2013)”. The essence of the distance language teaching is the learning in non-co-presence. In the distance language learning, I think the task design is extremely important. Learners are somehow isolated and the real-time and immediate interaction with the teacher become more difficult, so task design should be careful and modified in order not to make learners confused. And I totally agree that the distance language learning can sometimes have negative impacts as learner’s loss of confidence brought by updating or revising a course through virtual learning environments. So we should focus on the course and task design as well as the matching assessment.

    • Hi! Daisy. Thank you for your comment. Your focus is on the essence of distance language learning and the related pedagogical issues. Distance language learning makes instructions and interactions possible, which seems that teachers and students in different spaces are in real classroom learning environment. As for the pedagogical issues including task design and assessment, they are indispensable elements for distance language learning.

  19. I think it is similar to other kinds of online language learning. Teachers and students can have class online and also communicate with each other through chat room or ask live questions.

    Organizing trainings for teachers is very important. The institutions should equip their staffs with qualified knowledge and skills to teach students online. It is quite different from the face-to-face lecture. Teachers need to check students’ learning progress in a different way and handle some technical problems. In addition, I think the institutions should pay attention to the materials for teaching and regularly check whether they are suitable for online teaching.

    1. Set appropriate lecture time and break time. I think students might be easier to get bored when they are taking online courses than offline courses. Maybe we can set 10 minutes for break after 50 minutes’ lecture. However, it depends on the students’ level.
    2. Set reward system and punish system. For example, we can give award to those who actively participate in the lesson and give some punishment for those who do not attend the lesson.
    3. Provide students with interesting activities. For example, play some songs or videos to attract students’ attention.

    • Thank you Eva for your comment. I agree with your opinion on organizing trainings for teachers. Teachers’ high proficiency in operating softwares for distance language teaching can make instructions more efficient and clearer.
      Also, you have mentioned the reward and punish system, which I think may not be appropriate for all levels of students. And one feature of distance language learning is its feasibility. Sometimes students may not have time to participate in class during a certain period for some reasons but they would listen to the recordings, in this way, punish is not suitable.

  20. Distance language learning, is a kind of learning where technology serves as a bridge, connecting teachers and students at different places together to conduct teaching and learning activities.

    The monitor should be improved. Some students may chat with others or play phones instead of concentrating on the course. Maybe, if there are more interaction between teachers and students, it can be improved.

    Teachers can use different teacher-student interaction forms. Traditionally, teachers are likely to invite some students to answer their questions. But actually, some students are too reluctant to do so. This may make students too anxious to get involved in the course. So in distance-learning, teachers may permit those shy students to type down their thoughts in chat room, and those active students answer questions through mic. I believe this strategy can cater to students with different personalities.

    • Hello, Jiaxin. Thank you for your comment. Yes, the problem of how to monitor learners and keep them focused all the time has to be improved. And you have come up with ideas like more interactions as well as allowing shy students to type down thoughts to solve the problem. It makes sense and I think a small quiz after class may also function to some extent.

  21. I suppose that online language learning is a broad term which includes distance learning, and the instances of distance language learning include to attend real-time online class or to interact with other English-speakers like telecollaboration.
    To ensure the quality of distance learning is crucial for institutions, maybe they can do it by collecting students’ feedback for distance learning regularly and put active follow up measures to address students’ concerns immediately.
    I am not so passionate about adopting the distance language learning since I think its drawback–students cannot interact with teachers and get the real-time classroom instruction and feedback–is really obvious and hinders the development of language skills a lot. So institutions should do more in this aspect to improve students motivation and overall learning effect as well.

    • Hi, Chang. Thank you for your comment. Your opinion on the concept of online language learning and distance language learning is quite inspiring. I also suppose that distance language learning is one form of online language learning. Your suggestion to regularly collect students’ feedback as a way to ensure the quality may be reasonable but time-consuming and whether all students would provide useful feedback is also a problem.

  22. To be honest, I suppose that as long as the lesson is not delivered in the classroom, it can be called distant language learning. As the wide spread of coronavirus pandemic, students all around the world are distant learning. The apps can be ZOOM, CCTALK and so on.
    To ensure the quality of the lesson, teacher training and interaction in the real time are two factor that need to pay considerable attention to. It is believed that online teaching is quite different from real teaching in the classroom. The way to present the new knowledge should be more creative. Also, the interaction between teachers and students are varied. They can interact through the chat box, the audio as well as the video.
    In order to generate students’ interest, teachers are supposed to deliver the content more creatively with the support of the technology.

    • Hi,Catherine. Thank you for your comment. You mention that teacher training and interaction in the real time are two factors that need to pay attention. Also, you mention teachers’ creative ability to make online teaching more attractive, which is inspiring.

  23. 1. I think the notion of distance learning is used roughly synonymously with online-learning or e-learning. They both emphasize that people are able to study without the constraint of space and time, and apps are one of those possible platforms for us to have self-paced learning.

    2. Make sure that teachers are qualified in both teaching and the subject area.Well-trained teachers help learners have better learning outcomes and in turn they make institutions become more reliable.

    Student feedback is highly valuable. As distance-learning may lack of face-to-face interaction, institutions need to put more efforts in collecting feedback from learners and identify the needs from them.

    Update the learning materials as soon as possible. Learning materials can quickly become outdated – and may contain errors even from the beginning.

    I think one of most effective ways to help motivate students online is to connect the “real world” with the online “virtual world”. This could be realized by something as simple as starting with daily greetings or an online class discussion relating something relevant in the news, and try to link up the topics with the teaching materials. In this way, learners might feel less “distant” from what they are going to learn and become more proactive in the class.

    • Hi, Stefanie. Thank you for your comment. I agree with you that the learning materials should be updated regularly as nowadays we can have access to various information abroad through different ways and it is of great importance to language learning.

  24. 1)I think distance language learning is similar to other language learning apps because they share the characteristics of all digital learning methods. But distance language learning has the emphasis on “distance”, and other online language learning don’t have this restriction.

    2) since distance learning is still not a mature way, I think the most important thing is trying to make it as systematic as possible from course design, teaching materials, assessment, teacher training, etc.

    3) students are easily to get distracted since there is no learning environment like a classroom. But it is impossible to use some strategies including directly physical interactions among students and teachers, so we should use more interational methods like group discussion to engage students into the class, or ask more questions to stimulate the dynamism and increase students talking time.

    • Hi, Lyla. You have pointed out that the necessary to make distance learning systemic is meaningful. With a systemic structure of distance learning, both teachers and students would no longer be strange to this kind of new mode and may be more willing to participate in. Thank you for your great commet.

  25. I think distance language learning and online language learning are similar because they are both online and not face-to-face.

    Some suggestions for distance language learning institutions:
    1) provide specific teacher training about distance language teaching. Teachers should know how to involve students in class actively.
    2) provide feedback system for both students and teachers.
    3) establish reward system for both students and teachers. For example, teachers can get higher salary if they get more good comments from students; students can get some discounted lessons or free lessons if they accomplished the course on time according to the schedule.

    The institutions should first talk with new learners and understand their needs, and then provide corresponding teaching. TTT and STT should be at least 50-50. Teaching should be student-centered. The teacher could ask students questions and give feedback which could also be a follow-up question.

    • Thank you Vanessa! You advice is very critical. The reward system is a great point. When we discuss distance learning, I notice that most of us pay more attention to the students’ need and benefits, but teachers’ need and benefits should be taken consideration too. If they are motivated, the quality of courses should be guaranteed to a larger extent, right. I also notice that you mentioned TTT and STT (that should be the content of Wednesday’s class lol), that is very good point also. If online courses are all teacher-led lectures, students may feel bored and be easily distracted.

  26. 1. In this challenging learning time, I think all the apps or devices we used to facilitate our learning can be considered as distance language learning because the connection is set by the network but not through face to face interaction. I am not sure about the relationship between the two concepts, but for me, the distance language learning is embedded in the broader concept of online language learning.
    2. I can list some of my concerns on the distance language teaching: the teachers’ teaching and language qualification, their capability of technical issues, the class size, the student age, and language background and the student verbal interaction. These are more complex and difficult to measure when it comes to distance language learning.
    3. There are some ways to arouse students’ motivation. Firstly, the settled curriculum and lesson plans should be available to students, which provides a clear idea of what the student is going to learn, and students can prepare themselves before the class. Also, the teacher’s preparation is crucial. She is sure to be energetic, develop the right question to ask, and be agile to all students’ responses. The materials she prepared should be updated, engaging, and to target students’ tastes. And visual aids are sure to motivate students. Thirdly, even if some of the platforms don’t allow verbal interaction between students to make sure the classroom is not chaotic. Teachers should give students more time to interact at least through chatbox, and prepare more interactive activities.

    • Thank you Krystal! Distance learning should be a vague concept, right. Because on the surface, it is just another type of online learning. But maybe we should not be so concerned about its clear definition as you mentioned. We should think about how to make it a more effective way for students’ learning. I notice that you mentioned the chat box, I believe that is very good suggestion. We now take the course online, we definitely use the chat box to interact with our classmates or teachers. But sometimes, because of the setting, it is not so easy to everybody to check the chat box immediately. So that should be a technical problem for those organization to solve.

  27. 1. I think it’s an alternative for the people who have to work and don’t have time to take full time courses. Distance learning is conducted online. We can also use the apps on cellphone to take online public courses of famous universities. So I think they are very similar.

    2. The institutions can use some periodic examinations to assess the students learning outcome. They can also I get feedback from the students through online questionnaires so as to adapt and improve their course quality.

    3. If the students are given more opportunity to communicate and interact with their teachers and classmates online, they will be more motivated.

    • Thanks for your comment, Queenie! You mentioned that distance learning can be an alternative for people who do not have enough time to take full-time courses. I agree with this view because compared to traditional teaching modes, distance learning can be carried out anytime and anywhere. In addition, you think that teachers can evaluate students’ learning results through regular exams and get feedback from students through questionnaires. They can be good ideas because teachers can check whether the teaching goals have been reached and whether the students find the lessons useful for them.

  28. I am sorry that I am not that sure about the differences between distance language learning and online language learning so for me, they may mean the same thing probably.

    For the institution, they should make sure that all teachers are qualified and they know how to make full use of technological tools. The course design should be changed according to different type students or students in different levels. Materials also need to be chose accordingly. Some may seen fun to adults but not suitable for young teenagers. And as you mentioned, it seems that it lacks interaction between lectures and learners so I think this may be one of the aspects that can be improved. Providing certain communication tool for learners and lecturers like chatbox will be helpful. When materials are chose accordingly and the studying mode is interesting, I think students would be motivated.

    • Thank you for your comment, Erin. Both distance language learning and online language learning enable learners to acquire knowledge without the restrictions of time and space. But distance language learning provides learners with a classroom environment while online learning has more various modes and it is not limited in a class atmosphere.
      You mentioned that course design, materials, and interactions should be improved in order to make sure the studying mode is interesting. I agree with your idea and I believe there is a long way for the development of distance language learning.

  29. In my opinion, what we’re doing right now–taking online courses via the platform of Zoom, is just a kind of distance language learning. I think it’s quite simimlar to mobile learning, since both are relatively flexible in regard to time and place of learning.
    The relavant institutions need to guarantee the quality of online teaching, by supervising the online courses, asking students to fill out feedback questionnaires regularly or asking the teachers to videotape the courses and upload them for students to revisit.
    Students are likely to be more motivated if teachers explore the functions of the online-teaching platform to the fullest and give them more opportunities to exchange opinions with fellow learners.

    • Hi, Tina. Thank you for your comment. Yes, now we are taking distance language learning through Zoom. It is a kind of mobile learning for me as it is flexible and we can participate in as long as we have a PC. As for mobile learning, I think it has more to do with learners’ initiative of learning. It often happens when learners have strong desire to acquire knowledge or to improve their ability.
      You mentioned that the necessity of institutions’ guaranteeing the quality of online teaching, which is meaningful and useful. Only when every part involved in it undertakes the due responsibility can distance language learning functions.

  30. Distance language learning is that instead of sitting in the same classroom, people learn languages in different spaces through internet. I think it is similar to other kinds of online language learning. I think maybe they are the same.

    I think task design is important and should be improved in distance language learning. Students are not very engaged in online classes so that the task should be designed appropriate that intrigue student’s motivation to participate in class actively. Since distance learning is different from the one in traditional classroom, teachers should pay attention to the unique environment.

    Teachers need to be aware of the class time and control teacher’s talk. Checking student’s reaction and understanding from time to time is also important because teachers are not able to monitor students’ reaction so as they did in the physical classroom. Maybe it would be a good choice to introduce new literacy learning into distance language classroom.

    • Thank you Ariel! I am really interested in the point that you mentioned at last: the class time and to control teacher’s talk. I suppose these are referred to as TTT and STT in our Wednesday’s course, right. There should be a balance. Effective interaction should be a guarantee for positive teaching and learning.

  31. 1. What do you know about distance language learning? Do you think it is unique or it is only similar to other kinds of online language learning, such as apps on the cellphone?
    I think one example of distance learning is the platform like “italki”, with the aid of this kind of learning platforms, you are staying at home in China learning English or French, and your teacher who’s a native speaker, also stays at her/his home in America/ France teaching your language.So distance learning provides an interactive learning experience with no barriers of space. I think it’s diiferent from some apps, because learning on those apps can not be interactive most of the time.

    2. One indispensable element of distance language learning is those relevant institutions. Can you give any suggestion on their quality assurance mechanism?
    I think these institutions have to make sure that they can provide some feedbacks from the teachers or teaching assistants to the students who are using their language learning services, because relevant and necessary post- class feedbacks are good for students’ effective learning outcomes.

    3. What educational strategies should distance-learning institutions adopt to raise learners’ studying enthusiasm?
    They can use some incentives, such as providing little prizes or awards to those outperforming students, to motivate students’ learning autonomy.

    • Thank you Mira! I really agree with you on the incentives elements. The effects can be very strong because most of us are attracted to the rewards, no matter they are small or big. It is about making use of the humane part!

  32. 1. I think learning by ZOOM is a kind of distance language learning. Students can have live classes in their home and can also communicate with teachers and classmates instantly. I think it is different from online language learning to some extent, because online learning learning can happen without interaction between real people. For example, students can do online language learning by watching recorded videos.
    2. In my opinion, in order to ensure the learning quality, it is important for those relevant institutions to keep in touch with the students frequently so as to adapt the teaching orientations timely.
    3. I think the distance-learning institutions could introduce many interactive activities to let students absorbed in the learning.

    • Thank you Ariel! You made a good point in stressing the importance of feedback and interactions. Paying more attention on students’ need should be a positive trend for improving the quality of courses.

    • Sorry for the wrong comment! Thank you Christine! Yeah! Feedback is important. Since we are in a student-centered environment, students’ feedback can help the organization to make necessary modification.

  33. I think “distance language learning” is a way of learning that students and teachers cannot have classes face to face due to some unavoidable reasons. I think it is kind of different because the size of class may be larger than other online language learning (not like online lectures).
    I think institutions should adapt suitable DLL materials and examinations. It might be possible that DLL is of less surveillance so students will not be so self-controlled in DLL. DLL decreases the interactions between teachers and students, students and students. It is responsible for institutions to design some DLL activities to make up the interactions.

    I think teachers should be so clear on their DLL classes that students can follow he/she. A suitable pace in teaching is highly recommended!

    • Thank you Michelle! I agree on your understanding of distance learning. The class size should be taken into consideration definitely. And I Also agree on the surveillance issue you mentioned. It seems difficult for both the organizations and the third parties to monitor students. So the key point still relies on how to make the courses interesting in essence.

  34. Thanks for your sharing! In my opinion, distance language learning means teachers and students cannot have face-to-face teaching in a real classroom, so they need to change into online learning instead, which is like what we are doing now.

    In order to raise learners’ studying enthusiasm, I think real-time interaction and feedback are really important. Because teachers have to teach through online platforms, so they need to make the lesson more active, interesting and attractive.

    • Thank you Ariel! You made a good point in stressing the importance of feedback and interactions. Paying more attention on students’ need should be a positive trend for improving the quality of courses.

  35. 1. I have the experience of practicing oral English to native speakers online. I would say distance language learning is similar to other kind of online language learning using online platforms with multimodal elements. For example, we can practice the English conversation by using the app English Liuli Shuo. It’s kind of like talking to a native speaker in the role-play process in the app.

    2. I have 2 suggestions on their quality assurance mechanism of distance language learning. First, the user interface should be user-friendly and includes less commericial elements such as pop-up ads which may distract learners and reduce their motivation.

    Another suggestion is that, the content online should be updated on a regular basis to ensure that learners can have access to more authentic materials.

    3. To raise learners’ studying enthusiasm, distance-learning institutions should give more positive feedback such as a score system and give learners rewards or points during the learning process. In this way, learners can keep track of their learning process and feel a sense of achievement.

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