Sunday, May 25, 2014


There have been many researches on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in English Language Teaching (ELT) for a few decades. Furthermore, ICT has played an important part in the development of ELT. From the mid 1980s to present, there have been an abundance of technological inventions to enhance the classrooms of English language teaching. ICT has gone through great changes over the years. From the use of word processors to web 2.0, ICT has made quite a huge impact in the ELT classrooms. Therefore, we, as teachers, are forced to use these technologies, even if some of us are reluctant to do so, to improve the learning and teaching processes in our classrooms. Otherwise, we would become obsolete, forgotten, and would be left behind. Besides the advent of all these technological gadgets, a great number of ELT teachers are still way behind due to the fact that many of us are  probably not digitally literate or probably do not have the infrastructure to implement such in ELT classes.

When referring to ICT in ELT, however, one must take into account concepts such as E-learning (or elearning), Distance Learning, Online learning, Blended learning, Mobile learning, and so on.

The following is a brief overview of some of these concepts:
·         E-Learning is commonly summarized as the use of electronic media and information and communication technologies (ICT) in education, and it includes all types of educational technology in the learning and teaching process. Many researchers conclude that it is synonymous with multimedia learning, computer-based training (CBT), internet-based training (IBT), online education, virtual education, just to name a few. E-Learning can occur in or out the mortar-brick classroom and with or without an instructor.

·         Distance Learning, sometimes called D-learning or distance education, is a form of education and instruction given to students (who are not physically present in the classroom) via several means of technological gadgets. The teachers or instructors and the students are usually separated by distance and time, or by both.  With the creation of web 2.0, distance learning has become even more popular. It is a
feasible concept for those learners who do not have the time to attend classes in a traditional classroom or for those who live in remote or disserted areas. They can now have access to education at the tips of their fingers. Distance learning can broaden the accessibility to education and training. However, there are a few obstacles to this concept such as distraction, unreliable technology, cost of the sessions and adequate devices, and so on. Moreover, learners should be properly trained in the use of the technological tools because, if not, it would most probably result in frustration and a high percentage of dropouts.

Online Learning, in my way of thinking, is closely related to  distance learning because it infers that both instructor and learner are separated by time and space.  According to Benson (2002), online learning is a newer version or, an improved version of distance learning. Several experts view these two terms as “interchangeably.” In fact, many of these technological terms we used today are somewhat connected, not only by definition, because they, at some point in time, imply the use of internet, and distance between the learner and teacher.

·        Blended learning is described by most researchers as formal education imparted via the combination of computer-based instruction (the internet and digital media) and face-to-face instructions in traditional
classroom settings. This approach has been around for a long time, but the term had been unheard of until the 21st century. It is my firm belief that this concept has great benefits for the students because what is not grasped in the virtual classes could be clarified and solidified in the face-to-face environment which needs the co-presence of both the students and the teachers.

·        Mobile learning: According to what I have read (, mobile learning is the ability to obtain or provide educational content on personal pocket devices such as PDAs, smartphones, and mobile phones. Some experts see mobile learning closely related to e-learning since both concepts imply the use
digital and electronic tool for educational purposes. Nevertheless, e-learning covers a wider area of the whole picture, whereas, m-learning covers only one part: the wireless. Furthermore, e- learning can be real-time or adjusted to the pace of the learner. It is also formal and structured. On the other hand, mobile, is basically self-paced and more of an informal setting.

AS I have mentioned earlier, the used of technology has changed the world and ICT in ELT is a growing concept. It would only continue to increase and become more and more popular. It is here to stay, so all English language teachers should try to get a firm understanding of all the concepts mentioned above to enhance our teaching styles and ease the learning process of our students. We live in a technological world, and the only thing that is constant is change.

I hope this post was of your interest
Benson, A. (2002). Using online learning to meet workforce demand: A case study of
stakeholder influence. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 3(4), 443−452.

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