Language Learning (Module: Methods and Applications)

Spring term 2019
Time: Wednesday 16:45-18:15
Place: Room 204 A in Collegium Novum
ECTS credits: 3
Lecturer: Nicole Nau


Course description:
This course introduces students to current models of language learning and enables them to apply this knowledge in analysing individual learning methods, textbooks and web-based material. Students will also reflect their own approach to language learning and discover ways to be more successful. The focus of the course is on the role of the learner and central concepts such as learner autonomy and learning strategies, and therefore on situations where languages are learned outside of the traditional classroom. As learning languages through the Internet and social media is getting increasingly popular and web-based materials are widely available even for lesser-taught languages, they will receive special attention in this class.

The first half of the course relies on the teacher’s lecture and reading on approaches to language learning and their theoretical background. In the second half, students will explore different language learning materials and tools and learn to analyse and evaluate them. With concrete examples, we will discuss concepts such as gamification, chunking, data-driven learning, media-assisted language learning, self-regulated learning, seamless learning, and others.

Assessment and grading:
Regular active participation in classes: 10%
Written test: 40%
Individual analysis of learning material or tool (presentation): 50%

Work load:
30 contact hours (15 classes; some classes may be conducted by e-learning)
30 hours reading, preparing for the test
30 hours individual analysis and preparing a presentation


  • Week 1: Introduction, basic concepts and questions
  • Week 2: Learning strategies: what learners do when learning a language
  • Week 3: Learning styles: individual preferences in language learning
  • Week 4: Second language acquisition research: history, aims, methods; some recent studies and their results
  • Week 5: “Formal” vs. “direct”, “natural” approaches to language learning and teaching
  • Week 6: “Communicative” approaches and the Common European Framework
  • Week 7: Corpora, constructions and new technologies for language learning
  • Week 8: Summary and mid-term assessment
  • Week 9:Practical tasks for acquaintance with new technologies
  • Week 10-14: Analysis of learning materials and tools, with students’ presentations
  • Week 15: Summary and final discussion

Recommended reading (selection)
Aydin, Selami. 2016. “WebQuests as Language-Learning Tools.” Computer Assisted Language Learning 29 (4): 765–778.

Breen, Michael P. (ed.) 2001. Learner contributions to language learning. New directions of research. Harlow: Longman.

Christiansen, Morten H., and Inbal Arnon. 2017. “More Than Words: The Role of Multiword Sequences in Language Learning and Use.(Report).” Topics in Cognitive Science 9 (3).

Chun, Dorothy, Bryan Smith, and Richard Kern. 2016. “Technology in Language Use, Language Teaching, and Language Learning.” Modern Language Journal 100 (S1).

Cohen, Andrew D. & Dörnyei, Zoltán. 2002. “Focus on the Language Learner: Motivation, Styles and Strategies.” N. Schmitt (ed.): An Introduction to Applied Linguistics. London: Arnold, 170-190.

Council of Europe. Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, teaching, assessment. Available online at:

Davies, Alan & Elder, Catherine (eds.) 2006. The handbook of applied linguistics. Malden: Blackwell.

De Bot, Kees & Wander, L. & Vespoor, M. 2005. Second language acquisition – an advanced research book. London: Routledge.

Decoo, Wilfried: On the mortality of language learning methods. Paper given as the James L. Barker lecture, Nov. 8th 2001 at Brigham Young University. Available online at

Ellis, Nick C. 2017. “Cognition, Corpora, and Computing: Triangulating Research in Usage-Based Language Learning.” Language Learning 67 (S1): 40–65.

Jamaldeen, Fazeena, Priyantha Hewagamage, and Yamaya Ekanayaka. 2018. “Design Guidelines for Creating Mobile Language Learning Applications.” International Journal of Interactive Mobile Technologies 12 (3): 52–74.

Leaver, Betty Lou & Ehrman, Madeline Elizabeth & Shekhman, Boris. 2005. Achieving success in second language acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lin, Chin-Hsi, Yining Zhang, and Binbin Zheng. 2017. “The Roles of Learning Strategies and Motivation in Online Language Learning: A Structural Equation Modeling Analysis.” Computers & Education 113 (October): 75–85.

Lotherington, Heather. 2018. “Mobile Language Learning: The Medium Is ^not the Message.” L2 Journal 10 (2): 198–214.

Persson, Veronica, and Jalal Nouri. 2018. “A Systematic Review of Second Language Learning with Mobile Technologies.” International Journal Of Emerging Technologies In Learning 13 (2): 188–210.

Rebuschat, Patrick. 2015. Implicit and Explicit Learning of Languages. Studies in Bilingualism Vol. 48. Amsterdam ; Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Saville-Troike, Muriel. 2007. Introducing second language acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wong, Lung-Hsiang, Ching Sing Chai, and Guat Poh Aw. 2017. “Seamless Language Learning: Second Language Learning with Social Media.” Comunicar: Media Education Research Journal 25 (50): 9–20.

Zhou, Yalun, and Michael Wei. 2018. “Strategies in Technology-Enhanced Language Learning.” Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching 8 (2): 471–495.

Websites by renown researchers of second language learning:
Andrew D. Cohen’s website at:
Vivian Cook’s website on Second Language Acquisition Topics at:
Stephen Krashen’s website at:
Scott Thornbury’s blog at: