Effects of a New COIL Project Combining Synchronous Discussions and Asynchronous Video-Based-Exchanges


Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) has been widely conducted in various ways around the world to improve target language (L2) skills and gain intercultural awareness (Carlisle & Sáenz, 2023). Synchronous interactions, such as real-time discussions, require participants to immediately understand their partners’ messages and respond promptly. For this reason, synchronous exchanges have often been limited to groups of learners with high L2 proficiency (Hackett et al., 2023). In this study, a new COIL project that combined synchronous discussions and asynchronous video-based exchanges was originally designed to allow learners at lower proficiency levels to participate. This project was conducted to improve L2 skills and deepen cross-cultural understanding between five Japanese university students learning English and eight American university students learning Japanese. In the synchronous exchange, participants gained background knowledge by extensively reading a number of essays on Japanese culture, and then held videoconferences to discuss the essays' content in real time. In the asynchronous exchange aiming to improve English proficiency, Japanese students produced videos explaining Japanese culture in English. American students watched them and made comment videos in English. Japanese students watched them and responded in subsequent comment videos in English. The opinion exchange using English comment videos continued in this manner. Conversely, in the asynchronous exchange to improve Japanese proficiency, American students produced explanatory videos on American culture in Japanese, followed by opinion exchanges using Japanese comment videos. After three months of continuous implementation of this project, questionnaires consisting of five-point Likert scale and open-ended short-answer questions were administered to assess participants' awareness and examine outcomes of the project. Statistically and qualitatively analyzed results of the questionnaires showed that learners with low L2 proficiency found real-time discussion hard to follow because of the difficulty in understanding partners’ intentions immediately. The low-proficiency learners preferred video-based exchanges that could be viewed repeatedly. This COIL project was found to be effective, including low-proficiency participants, in accelerating motivation to learn L2, improving L2 skills and deepening cross-cultural understanding. Thus, it was clarified that the combination of synchronous and asynchronous COIL projects was effective for learners with proficiency at various levels.

Author Information
Yutaka Yamauchi, Soka University, Japan
Mizuki Mazzotta, Emory University, United States

Paper Information
Conference: WorldCALL2023
Stream: Collaborative Learning and Telecollaboration / Virtual Exchange

This paper is part of the WorldCALL2023 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Yamauchi Y., & Mazzotta M. (2024) Effects of a New COIL Project Combining Synchronous Discussions and Asynchronous Video-Based-Exchanges ISSN: 2759-1182 – WorldCALL2023: Conference Proceedings https://doi.org/10.22492/issn.2759-1182.2023.10
To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.22492/issn.2759-1182.2023.10

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon