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Interactivity and multimodality in language learning: the untapped potential of audiobooks

Abstract

In this work, we present three case studies, involving classes in primary and secondary schools, in Denmark. The studies, conducted in the past 2 years, show how audio content can be generated and shared among teachers and learners, how audio material can be made more interactive to offer fruition similar to that of digital games, and how language learning can benefit from adding a social dimension to audiobooks. All case studies were conducted in a user-centered fashion and build on social semiotics, in which interactive audiobooks are seen as providing new ways to receive, interpret, and share literary texts. Local primary and secondary schools were involved in ethnographic user studies and qualitative evaluations with semi-functioning prototypes. In the main case study presented, social interaction was chosen as key feature to allow high-school students and teachers to annotate audiobooks, then share and comment on the annotations; the social context in this case is a digitally augmented English teaching class. To better investigate the potential of sharable audiobook annotations, we also created a mockup supporting the workflow of the main case study, using standard YouTube annotations and freely available audiobooks. The findings and technical solutions explored in the three studies are the basis for design guidelines aiming at making audiobooks interactive and better integrated in learning contexts.

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Notes

  1. Danish primary school site: https://www.folkeskolen.dk/504367/det-skal-vaere-nemmere-for-laerere-at-finde-relevante-e--og-lydboeger (last seen on the 23th of March 2017).

  2. Freely available on GooglePlay.

  3. List of popular audio walk on SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/tags/audio%20walk (last seen on the March 23, 2017).

  4. AppInventor’s official page: http://appinventor.mit.edu/explore/ (last seen on the March 23, 2017).

  5. Unity3d Web site: https://unity3d.com/ (last seen on the March 23, 2017).

  6. Kaizena’s Web page: https://kaizena.com/ (last seen on the March 23, 2017).

  7. A copy of Frankenstein is freely available at: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/20038 (last seen on the March 23, 2017).

  8. The definition of the ID3v2 standard can be found at: http://id3.org/id3v2-chapters-1.0 (last seen on the March 23, 2017).

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Marchetti, E., Valente, A. Interactivity and multimodality in language learning: the untapped potential of audiobooks. Univ Access Inf Soc 17, 257–274 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10209-017-0549-5

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Keywords

  • e-Learning
  • Multimodal interaction
  • Information presentation
  • Knowledge management