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From both interactionist and sociocultural perspectives on second language acquisition (SLA), learner-learner interactions provide opportunities for negotiation of meaning, which may facilitate their second language learning. There is yet a paucity of studies on learners’ multimodal interaction and collaborative language learning investigating the effect of task design in web conferencing-based environments. This empirical research has a dual aim: 1) to explore how the teacher and learners use multiple modes (video, audio, text chat, voting, raised-hand function, emoticons and whiteboard) to make meaning in a web conferencing environment, and 2) to examine whether learners engage in negotiation of meaning in the completion of tasks in the web conferencing environment. In this study, a group of elementary level Chinese students conducted two online sessions—one jigsaw task and one information-gap task - delivered by a web conferencing platform (Blackboard Collaborate). A mixed methods approach was adopted in that a) the teacher's and learners’ multimodal interactions were recorded and analysed quantitatively in order to illustrate participation patterns, b) Varonis and Gass's (1985) model was used to identify instances of negotiation of meaning in learner-learner interactions through an interpretive analysis of the data.
- Web conferencing
- Task-based language teaching
- Computer-mediated communication
- Online Chinese teaching
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