Abstract

Most of existing e-learning language courses suffer from bad content design with a strong emphasis on closed grammar exercises, so there is not enough attention on any language’s primary goal: communication. So the focus of learning content design for language courses should focus more on communication skills. This is especially important professional use of language, like in the tourism industry.

To boost develop in the region, the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs funded the conception of a German course for tourism in the Tsunami-affected regions, in the case of Thailand, Phuket. The language course was targeted towards professionals in the tourism industry with some basic knowledge of German. Also, the course was conceived as a blended learning course with learning content provided through a Learning Management System (Moodle, in this case) to give the students an opportunity to improve their German knowledge without having to stop working during course time.

In the design of the German language course our primary goal was to tackle this i ssue about the relevancy. On the one hand, existing material usually has no specific target group, especially in local aspects. So we included information and material directly from Phuket, Thailand, because the course is be held there. On the other hand, we opted to move away from more closed forms of E-Learning exercises, e.g., gap-filling exercises. Instead, we concentrated on open assignm ents that focuse on communication skills and social interaction, like forum and chat assignments.

Included in this course are also contact classes every Saturday, in which communication skills are further practised, and also new grammar structures introduced.

This course was held two times now – one time as part of the German curriculum at Prince of Songkhla University. Both times, students and teachers were delighted with the results

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Prof. YoungWan Kim from South Corea's Pusan National University, and also Chair of the APEC Future Education Consortium presented in his keynote for the E-Learning e-Learning Strategies : Edutainment Conference at the Rajabhat Suan Dusit University, Thailand on 12th of March 2077 a bold vision of an Edutainment Park for the APEC region with a stress on value-based education. As Prof. Kim has put it with his own words into the abstract for his keynote:

As to the unexpected future society and rapid changes of technologies, world famous scholars and experts have deliberated ideal model of future society and suggested a way to overcome the challenges of future society. APEC Future Education Consortium is the for developing a community model of future education, embodying a 'Total-supporting System,' and advancing research activities to meet the challenges of the IT-based future society with emphasizing value oriented society and considering the harmony between technologies and human being through implementing the EduPark.

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In her keynote speech at the Ramkhamhaeng University's conference "Learning Theories vs. Technologies?", Nada Dabbagh from George Mason University showed some clips from a short movie produced by the infamous telco giant AT&T in the early  1990's where the company looked into the future, and produced a brave new world with their products. Dr Dabbagh commented on these clips that technologically, "we are not there, yet". However, I will argue that we will never be there. Before I start to give you my arguments, I will quickly recall how AT&T saw the future world.

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My Paper for the International E-Learning Conference at the Rajabhat Suan Dusit University.

Abstract

Through the usage of web 2.0 technologies, e-learning also is in a process of change. E-Learning 2.0 focuses more on collaborative, student-centered, and open learning techniques, while for E-Learning 1.0 sophisticated but closed multimedia applications was more important. This paper will discuss the different educational ideas behind these two modes of E-Learning, and argue that despite some fundamental differences in concept they might be blended together.

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