Independent ESP Learners: The Case for Blended Learning

Part of the English Language Education book series (ELED, volume 10)


The current educational system has been criticized for not answering the needs of the knowledge-based society (Robinson, Changing education paradigms. Accessed 14 Nov 2016, from, 2010; Bates and Sangrà, Managing technology in higher education: strategies for transforming teaching and learning. Wiley, San Francisco, 2011). At the same time, the demand for massive open online courses (MOOCs) is increasing fast. After describing the different instructional options available online, we argue that MOOCs are not the optimum solution for ESP educators, whose role is to help learners communicate in the second language independently as well as to develop their critical and creative thinking. Instead, we advocate a methodology that combines a face-to-face approach with the use of information and communications technology (ICT), which is referred to as blended teaching, and in particular a flipped classroom strategy. This has the benefit of maintaining social interaction, which is key in the learning process (Vygotsky, Mind in the society: the development of higher psychological processes. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1978), in the classroom and in online development. The chapter closes with a number of practical examples as to how to ensure successful implementation of online social interaction.


MOOCs Blended learning Flipped classroom Vygotsky Role of the teacher Independent learners Social tools Discussions 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hong Kong Polytechnic UniversityHong KongChina

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