Many people believe that online learning can be a lonely journey for a learner and the experience of learning online is often described in disconnected terms. However, many credible studies into learning online demonstrate that learners experience a wide range of emotions as they engage in the online environment. Elaine Beirne, a researcher in The Ideas Lab at the National Institute of Digital Learning in DCU, and inaugural OLC Emerging Scholar, is researching the emotions of beginner language learners in Irish language MOOCs.
Her findings to date have been quite revealing. Research into traditional language learning settings has identified anxiety or foreign language anxiety as one of the main emotions experienced by learners.
Elaine’s research in the Irish 101: Introduction to Irish Language and Culture course hosted on the FutureLearn platform, however, identifies curiosity, excitement and pride as the top three emotions reported by learners. Learners completed a number of short surveys following some of the course’s learning activities. This baseline study is now being extended to a further iteration of the Irish 101 course, due to commence in May of this year.
Elaine is currently recruiting participants who would be interested in undertaking the MOOC and reporting their emotions in the short surveys as they progress through the course. Elaine explains more about the study* in the short video above and if you are interested in participating and helping the Fáilte ar Líne project to improve course design for language learners register here. The Fáilte ar Líne project is co-funded by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht under the Twenty Year Strategy for the Irish Language with support from the National Lottery and it is is a joint project of the NIDL and Fiontar & Scoil na Gaeilge.
A world without emotions would be cold and colourless.
(Williams, Mercer, Ryan, 2015: 81)
Williams, M., Mercer, S. & Ryan, S., 2015. Exploring Psychology in Language Learning and Teaching, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp.170
*Ethical approval received from DCU’s Research Ethics Committee. Reference number: recdcu/2018/044