Perez, et al

Authentic Tasks in EFL Eforums: A Bridge for Knowledge Construction and Interaction Enhancement   

Diana Angélica Parra-Pérez, Escuela de Idiomas, Universidad de Antioquia
Yuri Natali Sarmiento Salamanca, Open English
Jennyfer Paola Camargo Cely, International Center of Foreign Languages and Cultures, Universidad de La Sabana 
María Catalina Caro-Torres, International Center of Foreign Languages and Cultures, Universidad de La Sabana 
Aura María Estacio Barrios, English Department (ELICOS), Greenwich College


https://doi.org/10.9743/JEO.2024.21.1.16

Abstract

This study used sequential exploratory, mixed-method research that explored the influence of authentic tasks on adult language learners’ interactions in eforums. The participants belonged to a blended-flipped program of English as a Foreign Language (EFL). Eforum posting in the course aimed at encouraging beginner learners to exchange experiences; however, participation in the eforums did not evolve into spontaneous interactions. Therefore, authentic tasks were designed and implemented in the eforum. Data were gathered from learners’ participation registers, surveys, and interviews and by executing a content-analysis procedure. After analyzing the data, one main category and three subcategories emerged. The main category showed that implementing authentic tasks on students’ eforums interactions led to the collaborative construction of a cognitive-social elearning environment. The main category comprised three subcategories: (a) building a learning community by interweaving affective-communicative actions, (b) promoting an online learning environment through authenticity, and (c) moving from individual to collective knowledge construction. Findings suggest that the implementation of authentic tasks on eforums: (a) increased learners’ meaningful interactions mediated by social, cognitive, and teaching presences; (b) helped to construct significant and lifelong knowledge collectively; and (c) fostered a stronger learning community through participants’ affective-communicative actions.

Keywords: authentic tasks, eforums, interaction, knowledge construction, social presence, writing skill


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