CALICO Journal, Vol 30, No 1 (2013)

Designing online strategy instruction for teaching knowledge of English word patterns as a complex cognitive skill

Jim Ranalli
Issued Date: 7 Aug 2014


This paper describes the development of a CALL resource that combines a novel goal with an innovative method. The goal is to establish L2 learners’ knowledge of English word patterns (Hunston, Francis, & Manning, 1997) in the form of a complex cognitive skill that integrates conceptual understanding with related text-analysis and dictionary referencing skills to facilitate self-directed use of these common lexical features. The method consists of an automated, online form of strategy instruction that can be delivered outside class, facilitating self-paced learning with sufficient practice and feedback. In addition to the L2 vocabulary and strategy literatures, the project is informed by instructional design principles aimed at 1) managing cognitive demands on L2 learners’ working memories; 2) differentiating materials so as to appropriately target declarative knowledge, procedural knowledge, or the orchestration of the two; and 3) harnessing the computer’s multimedia capabilities in principled ways. It also seeks to address longstanding issues in second-language instruction, including: the challenge of providing strategy training cost-effectively and efficaciously; the apparent lack of understanding of collocational relationships among many L2 learners; and the embarrassment of riches that modern, corpus-based ELT dictionaries represent insofar as they are powerful, freely available resources that go largely under-exploited.

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DOI: 10.11139/cj.30.1.16-43


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