May 21, 2012, by Teaching at Nottingham

How can we develop modern language speaking skills?

Wei Marton: “The main issue we have identified is finding ways to develop the speaking skills of modern languages students outside of class time. While there are plenty of resources available to enhance reading, writing and listening skills resources are limited for the speaking element. Therefore our aim is to develop a virtual interactive task-based e-learning platform to improve the speaking skills of modern languages students and this would be used to complement in-class learning. Initially this will be provided for UNNC and UNMC students but will eventually be of benefit to students from all campuses.

“The completed project will give students the opportunity to imitate native speakers, observe body language, practice pronunciation and make voice recordings to improve accuracy by watching videos, listening to and reading scripts that accompanying the videos, speeding up or slowing down the audio files and viewing definitions of words or phrases.

“Videos have been recorded for French, Mandarin, Spanish and Japanese and a German video file will be made available once suitable actors have been found. In the interim audio files are being used instead. The current software means that students are unable to compare their voice recordings to the original recording but the hope is that this can be developed in the future. The platform is being placed onto Moodle, allowing students from all three campuses to access this resource.

“The final version of the platform for Mandarin is ready and there has been positive feedback from student previews. Students for French, Spanish, Japanese and German will be able to use the platform in September 2012.”


Wei Marton
Language Centre
Division of International Communications


Summary taken from “An Interactive Task-Based E-Learning Platform to Develop Speaking Skills”.

Posted in Internationalisation