The Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education
An Effective Role of E-Learning Technology For English Language Teaching By Using Meta Communication Actors
Meta communication plays a key role in foreign language learning and teaching. Broadly speaking, meta communication is communication about communication. Meta communication is something that goes beyond communication and all language learners and teachers should be familiar with its existence. It should be stressed that meta communication which accompanies any message is very powerful. In face to face writing lessons, the student can make emphasis on any point by utilizing larger fonts, capital letters, or bold fonts in his essay. However, in virtual learning environments, students can make use of emoticons like :-) “happy”, :-( “sad”, :-/ “perplexed”, O.o “confused” to communicate about communication. Further, they can deploy some acronyms like (BTW= By the way, ASAP= as soon as possible, TM= tomorrow) to easily convey their messages. It should be emphasized that E-learning applications (virtual worlds, second life, ICTs) are very beneficial in foreign language learning and teaching since they create a platform for students and teachers to interact in a context with no boundaries of time and distance. In Transformational Generative Grammar, foreign language teachers describe syntactic structures in English by using grammatical symbols with meta communicational elements. For instance, every English Foreign Language-EFL or English Language Teaching-ELT teachers or students is familiar with the symbols and related meanings like (S= sentence, subject, V= verb, O= object, N= noun, NP= noun phrase, VP= verb phrase, etc.). On the other side, when teaching English pronunciation to Turkish EFL learners, foreign language teachers utilize phonetic symbols like /è, æ, å, ğ, w, ŋ/ to write transcriptions of English words. These phonetic symbols have meta communicational elements in their composition because they communicate about communication. At this juncture, foreign language teachers should learn frequently used emoticons, keyboard symbols, acronyms, grammatical and phonetic symbols and they should teach them to their students to enable them to establish successful communication with other people. Globalization is consolidated by the extraordinary invasion of higher education by new technologies, especially the Internet. Major changes in the social and economical conditions in Europe and worldwide force new needs and trends upon the technology. The main challenge for “the knowledge society of the future” is to ensure that each member of the society has the opportunity of continuous professional development, frequent retraining and obtaining new competences, mastering new information technologies (IT), lifelong learning (LLL), and so on. Within the education sector, a number of continuous efforts are taking place to stimulate the use of ICT at all levels of education. E-Learning has introduced new approaches of instructional delivery where the roles of teacher and student have significantly changed. The integration of information and communication technologies into the education field is in constant progression and generates empirical approaches for educational environment design. Some research projects in distance learning are introduced in the world.
KEYWORDS: Meta Communication, e-Learning, English Language Teaching