Community Language Classes: How Ready are Students for More Technology?


  • Sibylle Ratz Edinburgh Napier University



e-learning, community education, language learning, learning technology, diversity


Are students at community language classes ready to use more technology for their learning? Although research into the use of technology in many language learning settings is widespread, the particular needs of the diverse body of community classes which are open to all have received little attention. This article reports on a survey on technological preconditions (e-readiness) prior to introducing more technology to community language classes at a large UK university.

Results showed that almost all students were extremely e-ready in regard to physical access to computers and competence with basic word processing applications. However, only 50% used more sophisticated applications, such as chat, discussions or gaming. 66% regularly updated their computer skills and were very motivated and confident computer users. There was a strong interest (over 90%) in the introduction of more computer-based resources for language learning. The introduction of blended learning was of interest to 75% of learners.

Older participants, and those not in the labour force, displayed a lower degree of e-readiness, particularly regarding their skills and confidence. They were also slightly less interested in the introduction of online resources. Women displayed less confidence than men.

Implications for the introduction and choice of technologies for community language learners are discussed.

Author Biography

Sibylle Ratz, Edinburgh Napier University

Sibylle Ratz was educated in Germany and the UK. She has previously worked as a Lead Tutor for German and a Course Director for foreign languages at the University of Edinburgh and is currently working as a Lecturer for German and German Module Leader at Edinburgh Napier University.


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Original Research