About Evaluating Digital Materials Self Study Course

What participants will learn in this course.

Do you have to choose a suitable vocabulary app for your students? Select digital materials? Recommend a learning platform for your school? Formally or informally, many teachers and academic managers select and evaluate digital learning materials quite often. On what basis or criteria do we assess these learning materials, whether created by a teacher, an ELT publisher or a tech company?

This course provides a systematic approach to evaluating digital materials, taking participants through the What? Why? Who? and How? of evaluation. Participants assess materials relevant to them, and finish the course with a rubric for future evaluations.

We’ll start by looking at what we mean by ‘evaluation’ and secondly define what we mean by digital materials, including language learning websites, interactive exercises, eWorkbooks and eBooks, apps, Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) software, digital games, the content of virtual worlds, digital assessment tools and learning platforms.

The course aims to bridge the world of theory and practice. We will look at a range of theories of language learning (Behaviourism, Cognitivism, Second Language Acquisition) and explore to what extent these theories inform the design of digital materials. We will look at the concerns of research – what have CALL researchers focused on? Evaluation can be done from a number of perspectives and we will explore the following three approaches: the instructional designer, the language teacher, and finally, the student who uses the material.

This course will finish with a practical list of recommendations: “10 practical tips on evaluating digital materials.” As materials are changing so rapidly, we will focus on the future and examine many exciting (yet scary) developments, including: adaptive learning, voice recognition, virtual and augmented reality. We will see how language teachers need to take an informed view on many controversial developments and stay up to date with the pedagogy in order to continue to evaluate new types of digital materials our learners will be using in the imminent future. The course is ideally suited to the iTDI format of sharing knowledge across the Internet. Why? So often we meet the ‘walled garden effect’ where you only know some materials IF your school uses them, and has subscribed to a particular LMS or bought a certain course book. IN this course, participants will be able to learn about all sorts of other digital materials which may be of interest and relevance to their own context.

The course is for teachers, academic managers, ELT authors of digital materials, and teacher trainers interested in evaluation, digital materials, or both.

Purchase of this self-study course includes access to four video recordings, readings, and discussion questions. Teachers can earn a Certificate of Completion verifying 20 Professional Development hours if desired. To receive a certificate teachers are required to submit written responses to the discussion questions.

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