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Strategies for Teaching and Learning in Virtual

Environments: Comparative Study between Traditional and
Distance Learning (DL) Systems in Language Teaching
Priscilla Chantal Duarte Silva 1
Ricardo Shitsuka 2
Gustavo Rodrigues de Morais 3

ABSTRACT greater necessity: shifting the political view on

teaching/learning under DL.
Language teaching has been changing
with the evolution in technological resources. Keywords: teaching and learning;
Distance learning (DL) has emerged as a distance education; language teaching;
solution to overcome physical and time teaching strategies
barriers. This study investigates the receptivity
of applied teaching and learning strategies RESUMEN
from the student’s point of view, establishes
La enseñanza de idiomas viene modi-
comparative parameters for quality analysis,
ficándose con la evolución de los recursos
teaching, and main differences that interfere
tecnológicos. La educación a distancia sur-
on the varied Educational models. It presents
an analysis of the learning progression gió como solución para superar barreras fí-
evaluation criteria, based on principles sicas y temporales. Se investiga la recepción
such as performance, didactics, interaction, de las estrategias de enseñanza-aprendizaje
evaluation system and interactional models utilizada bajo el punto de vista del alumno,
at a time of cyber culture. For methodological se resaltan parámetros comparativos de aná-
guidance with an exploratory approach, Likert lisis de calidad, enseñanza y principales dife-
scale questionnaire was used for qualitative rencias quelimitan las tipicidades didácticas.
results. The indicative analysis has shown that El trabajo presenta análisis de los criterios de
the DL student acknowledges the teaching- evaluación del aprendizaje con base en los
learning resources in a positive manner, in principios de aprovechamiento de estudios,
contrast to the traditional model. The need for didáctica, interacción, sistema de evaluación
a more human approach lies behind an even y modelos de interacción en la época de la

Universidade Federal de Itajubá; priscillachantal@unifei.edu.br
Universidade Federal de Itajubá; ricardoshitsuka@unifei.edu.br
Universidade Federal de Itajubá; gustavmorais@unifei.edu.br

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cultura cyber. Para direccionar la metodo- visão política sobre o ensino-aprendizagem
logía se cuenta con sesgo exploratorio usan- EaD.
do cuestionario y siguiendo la escala Likert
Palavras-chave: ensino-aprendizagem;
para investigación cualitativa. El indicativo
educação a distância; ensino de línguas;
28 de análisis demostró que el alumno de EaD
estratégias de ensino.
reconoce, de forma positiva, los recursos de
Associação Brasileira de Educação a Distância

enseñanza-aprendizaje en esta modalidad,

en contraposición al tradicional. La carencia
por una relación más humana subyace a otra With the advent of internet, people are
mayor: el cambio de la visión política sobre increasingly spending more time in front of
la enseñanza-aprendizaje EaD. the computer screen, performing all sorts of
Palabras-clave: enseñanza-aprendizaje; tasks. In addition, busy lifestyles have pushed
educación a distancia; enseñanza de idiomas; people into searching activities that can be
accomplished remotely, such as payments,
estrategias de enseñanza.
applications and other myriad of contexts,
including virtual courses. However, the
autonomy provided by distance has brought
O ensino de línguas vem se modifi can- with it a series of discussions surrounding the
docom a evolução dos recursos tecnológicos. efficacy and seriousness of Distance Learning
A educação a distância surgiu comosolução (DL), also known as e-learning.
para superar barreiras físicas e temporais. Popular among those with little time to
Investigase a recepção das estratégias de en- spare, virtual courses have always presented
sino/aprendizado utilizada sob o ponto de dynamic and objective characteristics.
vista do aluno, levanta-se parâmetros compa- They are virtual, modern versions of the
rativos de análise da qualidade, ensino e prin- printed mail courses, fulfilling the demand
cipais diferenças que cerceia mas tipicidades for convenience and lack of time. However,
didáticas. trabalho apresenta análise dos cri- obtaining support from the Brazilian
térios de avaliação do aprendizado com base educational system, especially as far as meeting
nos princípios de aproveitamento de estudos, the standards set by the Ministry of Education
didática, interação, sistema de avaliação e mo- for university degrees, has always represented
delos interacionais na época da cibercultura. a challenge. After all, the adoption of a new
Para direcionamento metodológico conta-se standard for teaching and learning after so
com viés exploratório com uso de questio- many years of formal education represents a
nário, seguindo escala Likertpar a pesquisa shift in paradigm. In that respect, changing
qualitativa. O indicativo de análise demons- the way distance learning is perceived is
trou que o aluno de EaD reconhece, de forma still a work in progress.
positiva, os recursos de ensino/aprendizagem However, due to a series of
nesta modalidade, em contraposição ao tra- methodologies and pedagogical problems
dicional. A carência por uma relação mais in Brazilian higher education, several
humana subjaz a outra maior: a mudança da institutions have adopted this form of
RBAAD – Strategies for Teaching and Learning in Virtual Environments: Comparative Study between Traditional and
Distance Learning (DL) Systems in Language Teaching
teachingas a practice for enhancing the Learning a second language helps
offer of subjects in the curriculum. As students develop the possibility of making
a consequence, a few stereotypes have new friends, enhances the access to
appeared, such as the impression that the employment and, in some cases, allows for
new model trivializes teaching; or that new business opportunities and even new 29
students – now released from the requirement possibilities in tourism and leisure, because

Associação Brasileira de Educação a Distância

of physical presence in universities – tend with the language comes some of the foreign
to show below-average performance when country’s culture. It is important to note that
compared to the traditional model. language training goes beyond decoding
the language. In addition to understanding
Language teaching, already impacted by
the concept, it is also necessary to grasp the
thenatural difficulties inherent to the activity,
culture behind it. For that to happen it is
encountered similar challenges, such as getting
necessary to teach how to think in the foreign
students to actually learn a foreign language
language, i.e. communicate and interact. In
(FL) without leaving their home country. In
the case of the English language, as in others,
the distance-learning model the challenge is
training is based on the following skills:
enhanced as the model usually lacks face-to-
reading, writing, speaking and listening. In
face interaction. Some level of distrust in the
that context, language training using the
quality of the system against the traditional
virtual model should find effective ways of
oneis quite common among people who have
checking all four skills with the same level
never experienced a DL class. In this case,
of quality. With that in mind, an exploratory
however, it must be taken into account that
research of qualitative nature was conducted
many schools of the traditionalmethod also
in order to examine the contrasts between
carry an array of problems, and it is therefore
the traditional and virtual models and to
necessary to evaluate any course’s teaching/
raise the paradigms that guide resources and
learning strategies – not just the model,
strategies for the English language training in
whatever it may be.
both systems, under the guidance to pursue
As a result, it is necessary to evaluate means for optimizing DL in foreign language
how the Foreign Language (FL) teaching/ teaching/learning processes.
learning process has been approached
in virtual environments. In other words,
investigate how the student builds knowledge BRAZIL
of a FL, with all the limitations imposed by
the physical distance between teacher and Distance learning is not new in Brazil.
student. For that purpose, a qualitative analysis The first school to offer distance-learning
will be used in order to understand the main courses on a national level was Instituto
limitations of the most common evaluation Monitor, in the 1930s (COSTA; FARIA, 2008,
method – the teaching-learning system. ALVES, ZAMBALDE, FIGUEIREDO, 2004).

Skinner’s general theory.

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At the time of DL’s beginning in Brazil, spurred the creation of various interaction
mail was used. Students would read the tools, such as Skype – which allows verbal
material, answer the provided workbook at communication – cell phones, forums, chat
the end of each module and mail the answer rooms for questions and interaction (with or
30 sheet back to the school. Upon receiving the without the use of video), discussion groups
answer sheet, the school would forward it to where teachers and students can collaborate
Associação Brasileira de Educação a Distância

an instructor, who would correct and grade and that allow for sharing of files and display
it, and mail the results back to the student,so of student’s work, among others.
that mistakes could be checked. The process
Distance learning, once considered
was slow, but it helped many generations. It
impossible, currently counts on efficient
had also many limitations, such as the lack
strategies that make the virtual teaching model
of dialogue, especially in the case of language
viable. Therefore, the molds for teaching-
training, where interaction is fundamental to
learning in DL have changed dramatically as
master reading, speaking, writing and listening
they were forced to adapt to the limitations
skills. Oral practice was accomplished by
andrequirementsof the virtual model.
a provision of records or cassette tapes for
Roughly, environment materialization and
which there were transcription of dialogues
innovative educational methods, especially
and pronunciation exercises on the book.
with the aid of digital technology, have
This old method did not allow for interaction
optimized DL in such a way that teaching-
between teacher and student,thus preventing
learning would be awarded witha new policy
the concept behind words to be successfully
in education.
taught. Therefore, this was merely a repetition
technique, or behaviorism4. In this model for Education is processed through
English language training, as well as for other communication in written and oral forms,
foreign languages, the student was not able by means of gestures, symbols or human
to exercise pronunciation and check learning interaction. As communication evolved, so
progression instantly and with the presence did DL in Brazil and around the world. In
and aid of a teacher. 2010 there were nearly one million distance-
learning students in higher education, as
As communication technology evolved,
highlighted by Pereira (2010). This represents
DL moved to radio, and then to television
a numeric reality that tends to increase in
and home video. More recently it has
higher education and in other educational
reached computers connected to the internet
levels, as well as open courses.
and assumed fully online capability5.
The evolution of software production and However, for Teperino (2006), distance-
educational systems has brought great learning education in Brazil, despite all the
advancements, in general terms, to distance- advancements in the area, is still in its early
learning education.As a result,technology has stages and suffers from academic prejudice,


RBAAD – Strategies for Teaching and Learning in Virtual Environments: Comparative Study between Traditional and
Distance Learning (DL) Systems in Language Teaching
renegade as mass, second-class education. listening comprehension of the FL, as well
From this perspective, it would be worth as creation of simulated real-life scenarios of
investigating the educational models and daily situations, portraying contexts where the
practices in order to reconsider the efficacy of language is used. In that situation, the role-
the teaching-learning models and adopt new playing works as a strategy for persuasion and 31
and more appropriate educational measures approximation of the student to the FL and

Associação Brasileira de Educação a Distância

to each model. the use of communication in a myriad of day-
to-day situations, when the students are faced
3. TEACHING-LEARNING STRATEGIES with the need of expressing themselves in “real
FOR TRADITIONAL ENVIRONMENTS life” situations, using the foreign language,
with the focus on contact and interaction.
Traditional language teaching is known
for its didactics of preserving the four Other strategies are still quite valid, such
language skills: reading writing, listening as writing essays on chosen topics, out-loud
and speaking. Therefore, usage of grammar reading and personal story-telling, (i.e. oral
is an indispensable work tool, as that’s where genre)with the purpose of getting the student
the structure of a language is usually found. to develop his writing and reading abilities
However, other tools have been created for and express his mind on family topics. In
enhancing vocabulary in a way that student all levels of FL command, whether English
and teacher would not be stuck to grammar or any other language, these strategies have
as mere reproduction of scripted content challenged the virtual teaching model.
followed by strict rules. Generally, the traditional model of
As observed by Richards e Rodgers language teaching-learning process has
(2001), many teachers have used books its limitations, especially concerning the
with short passages in foreign languages, effectiveness of learning a second language
containing vocabulary lists for silent and without any actual time of coexistence with
out-loud reading for content discussion. It is it. Many times students only dedicate a few
important to highlight that contextualization days of the week to the FL, therefore greatly
of culture in FL is also relevant, so that the restricting the contact with it. In those terms,
student, stretching beyond vocabulary, is able language teaching-learning contrasts between
to learn how to use the language in a certain the traditional and distance-learning models
communication situation. For that purpose, meet equal conditions and therefore, carry no
traditional teaching has adopted dialogue differences apart from the dedicated support.
and discussion strategies in the classroom In addition, different methods for
in an attempt to get the student to interact teaching a language – English for instance–
and speak. outnumber the problems faced by the virtual
Furthermore, usage of movie scenes pattern. Thus, obtaining expertise in the
and song excerpts are complemented with the foreign language of choice requires, above all,
teacher’s intermediation for repetition and interactivity. Richards and Rodgers (2001)

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also highlight that, essentially, the procedures to the cyber molds as adjustments became
used to teach Latin are still present in increasingly necessary. In that regard, as pointed
textbooks today, such as: grammar rules, out by Lévy (2001; 2004), the internet has opened
vocabulary lists and sentences for translation. new communication possibilities with different
32 This methodology restricts speaking to oral tools, with knowledge being built through
reading, which does not build an active exchange of experiences and the sharing of
Associação Brasileira de Educação a Distância

language system. Consequently, it does not a new culture – cyber culture. In that aspect,
providethe basis for actual communication. knowledge building is limitlessto a degree where
content, once enclosed and settled, crosses all
For the authors, the objective behind
boundaries in search of new horizons.
studying a FL is learning to be capable of
reading its literature and developing the mind. In that aspect, the DL student must
They believe that grammar translation is a adopt the virtual culture profile in order to fit
form of observing details in grammar rules into the active and participative environment
and follow applications of that knowledge. of the model. In the same respect, the role
However, learning a new language is much of the teacher in digital media is directed to
more than simply memorizing rules and facts the organization, control and coordination
in such a way that one can understand and of educational practices, adopting teaching-
manipulate the FL’s morphology and syntax. learning methodologies that follow the molds
of multiple technologies. It must be considered
Stern (1983, p.455) points out that, in
that, in that case, such technologies are strong
general terms “the first language is kept as
allies in motivating, illustrating, presenting
a reference system in the acquisition of the
and composing content for classes and
second”6. In that regard, it is important to
making them attractive and interactive, as
highlight that strategies used in the traditional
highlighted by Hack and Negri (2010).
model have been transferred in one way
or another to the virtual model after some The use of Information and
adaptation and added Internet support. In that Communication Technology (ICT) in DL is,
sense, such strategies have helped e-learning in itself, a revealing new approach to teaching-
to reach its own reputation of efficacy in learning, where the teacher is the mediator
English language teaching-learning in Brazil. and the student has the opportunity to explore
different types of media as learning takes place.
4. TEACHING-LEARNING STRATEGIES In that case, multiple abilities are required
IN VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENTS AND from the teacher, given the need to reinvent
TECHNOLOGICAL RESOURCES strategies in teaching-learning using digital
tools. Initially, an attempt to transfer strategies
Teaching-Learning of Foreign Language, used in traditional models adapted to the virtual
as well as of other contents, has had to evolve environment has been observed. However,
in the virtual environment in order to adapt interaction has become more predominant and,

Editor's Note: all quotations are originally in Portuguese and were translated by the RBAAD’s translation team
for this publication.

RBAAD – Strategies for Teaching and Learning in Virtual Environments: Comparative Study between Traditional and
Distance Learning (DL) Systems in Language Teaching
consequently so has the orientation of teacher The impact generated by the
practice towardsa principle of joint knowledge transformations brought by ICT caused
building. Therefore, it is necessary that the a new cultural concept to emerge – cyber
teacher creates his or her didactics considering culture, a new information market. Within
multiple media. In that context, it can be stated that concept, the presence of technological 33
that these tools are trying to “compensate” elements in society is transforming the way

Associação Brasileira de Educação a Distância

for the lack of physical presence for a better in which individuals communicate, establish
learning experience in the virtual world. relationships and build knowledge. “Today,
we are practically lived by new technologies”
With the advent of DL, the teacher
(NOVA and ALVES, 2002, p. 1). Nowadays,
adopted his/her teaching methodology once
ICT are tools for a new generation and
exclusively focused on personal and collective
for the construction of knowledge.
contact in the classroom, to other forms and
content activities for the FL in the digital The difference between traditional
environment. To meet that purpose, it was and distance FL teaching, in this context,
necessary to invest in digital tools as new is solely focused on the difference in
strategies, such as the use of electronic mail, support. In DL, Internet is the only contact.
forums, social networks, applications and Therefore, it is fundamental that the didactic-
the Virtual Environment for Teaching and pedagogical orientation is organized around
Learning (AVEA) 7. the technological resources. Thus, DL in
foreign language can have the same quality
Richards and Renandya (2010) remind
as the traditional system, as long as ICT is
us that an effective way of developing the
applied adequately and with the teaching
oral production skill in a FL environment
process focused on interaction and language
is the exposure to a visual stimulus for
practice. Accordingly, didactic-pedagogical
commentary. For example, it is possible
capacity building of the teacher is necessary
to work with scenesfrom movie trailers,
for the correct and updated use of ICT and
documentary excerpts or cartoons, YouTube
transference of adequate didactics to the
videos, dictionaries and virtual games,and
distance-learning method. Another reason
both printed and TV news in the FL for
observation in oral communication activity. is that much of the research previously
Reading and writing can be improved with the conducted off-line is now done on-line.
use of language from blogs, forums, and (in Consequently, it should be expected that
a certain way) all social networks so that the students would start perceiving DL as a
student can interact. Therefore, usage of ICT natural system, not necessarily inferior or that
offers countless opportunities for interaction. provides lower quality support.

AVEA is a platform that contains subjects and their contents as well as all the tools that aim at establishing
communication and interaction among those involved in the process of building knowledge in distance learning

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In many of these virtual environments, the conversation practices and cultural
all of the design work is aimed at keeping knowledge of the foreign language (FL),
the student focusedon the learning process. in a way that lead will the students to
In that case, it is not enough to simply adapt social practices. Therefore, as pointed out
34 content to a presentation model, but to use by Chevallard (1985), didactics organizes
real examples of an imaging nature, such as learning situations, adapting concepts to
Associação Brasileira de Educação a Distância

pictures, short movies, documentaries, and the students level and to the pedagogical
others, which help creating interactivity. objectives.
In that aspect, it must be noticed that said
technologies are used as sources for creating 5. METHODOLOGY
learning conditions over the content. In
An exploratory research is characterized
other words, coming up with creative ways of
for being a primary study on a given topic.
working the information.
In exploratory research of qualitative nature,
In a certain way, DL represents a interviews are conducted with the people
challenge for the teacher to renew his work who are object of the study (SEVERINO,
and create means of recycling his Didactic 2007, LUDKE; ANDRÉ, 1986). Therefore, the
Transposition (DT). Said concept has its current study has focused on raising initial data
origins in the Mathematics teaching didactics using questionnaire technique in a distance-
of Chevallard (1985), which brought the other learning school, where students meet in loco
sciences to the same principle: transforming on a weekly basis. In fact, the questionnaire
scientific knowledge or object of knowledge was formulated under the Likert scale and
into an object of teaching built in a more standpoint so that impressions towards the
didactic language, as the author puts it. In efficacy of the virtual teaching-learning
that context, the author describes three types model could be measured and compared
of knowledge: academic knowledge (savoir against those of the traditional model.
savants); knowledge to be taught (savoir The qualitative nature often uses a
à enseigner) and knowledge to be learned quantitative essence to complement
(savoir appris). the research, allowing for a more
As far as language teaching is complete analysis (YIN, 2010). The possibility
concerned, content is often taught by a of undertaking a qualitative research of a
professional with scientific knowledge quantitative nature was achieved in this
of languages. However, the professional study, aiming at a more efficient use of data,
must also fulfill the pedagogical needs of many of which were tabbed and quantified.
the system in which he or she is inserted, A field study was conducted at a
adopting the methodological didactics traditional language school and with
in his/her teaching. In language training, students from a distance-learning language-
the savoir à enseigner must include a training program, in addition to an
transposition of form to be guided onto exploratory investigation in an English

RBAAD – Strategies for Teaching and Learning in Virtual Environments: Comparative Study between Traditional and
Distance Learning (DL) Systems in Language Teaching
Language undergraduate school, offering questions, such as the first one, which asks if
both traditional and distance learning the student goes to a traditional or distance-
models. The estigation was also extended learning school, which is important in order
to traditional and long-distance English toisolateeach educational model. The next
courses. Data wascollected in individual question asks the student’s age. This variable 35
questionnaires applied to students of said factors the relationship with the type of

Associação Brasileira de Educação a Distância

courses. For that purpose, the answers learning or the student’s choicein favor of
obtained from the questionnaire were one model or the other.In that aspect, it
compared by models of teaching. For ethical could be verified that DL students generally
reasons, the research does not reveal the fall within the 30 to 40 year-old age group,
name of those interviewed, nor the schools in while the traditional model is still more
which the study was conducted. The popular among the younger 13 to 29
questionnaire gave statements that could year-old age group. However, the biggest
be rated from 1 to 5. The Likert scale was concern was evaluating the perception
applied as it is standardized and worldly that DL students have of the teaching-
renowned, and offers an analysis criteria of learning strategies in the virtual model.
both qualitative and quantitative natures. Comparatively, a strategy parameter was
drawn between DL and traditional
The field study was conducted between
teaching of FL.
May and August of 2012 in the greater Belo
Horizonte, capital of the state of Minas
Gerais. The questionnaire used initial basic


Thank you for participating!

1. Your takea traditional ( ) or Distance Learning ( ) program?

Name of program: ___________________________________

2. State your age: ______ and gender: ( ) Male ( ) Female

3. How long have you been a studentof this program? _____________

Are you happy with the program? ( ) yes ( ) no ( ) indifferent

4. Have you ever studied a foreign language through distance learning? ( ) yes ( ) no

5. Have you ever taken any other distance learning courses? ( ) yes ( ) no

6. Why have you chosen distance learning?

7. Why have you chosen traditional learning?

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8. Rate the following questions, using a scale of 1 to 5, where:

1 = Totally disagree.

2 = Partially disagree.
3 = Indifferent.
Associação Brasileira de Educação a Distância

4 = Partially agree.

5 = Totally agree.


8. “I like to study English”, rate. ( )

8.1. “I believe that those who take distance-learning courses learn more than those taking
traditional ones”, rate. ( )

8.2. “I do not like to take distance learning courses”, rate. ( )

8.3. “In distance learning courses, we feel lonely because everyone is far away”, rate. ( )

8.4. “With the current resources in internet and communication, you can easily learn
despite the distance”, rate ( )

8.5. “It doesn’t matter if it is traditional or long distance, the important thing is to study”, rate.( )

8.6. “I prefer traditional English programs, there is a lot of face-to-face interaction and
conversation”, rate. ( )

8.7. “I learn a lot with a teacher or a tutor”, rate. ( )

8.8. “I learn a lot more with my classmates”, rate. ( )

8.9. “I learn a lot more with the course’s material”, rate. ( )

8.10. “My school has technology resources”, rate. ( )

8.11. “I am promptly helped by the teacher or tutor”, rate. ( )

8.12. “My school uses the internet as a learning support tool”, rate. ( )

8.13. “In my school, I have learned through reading activities, but conversation is weak”,
rate. ( )

8.14. “My school has a good evaluation system”, rate. ( )

8.15. “I learn from pictures and movies”, rate. ( )

8.16. “I learn from reading”, rate. ( )

8.17. “I learn from interacting with classmates and teachers”, rate. ( )

RBAAD – Strategies for Teaching and Learning in Virtual Environments: Comparative Study between Traditional and
Distance Learning (DL) Systems in Language Teaching
8.18. “After finishing this course, I intend to keep on studying and will take a distance
learning course”, rate. ( )

8.19. “I can organize my time to study my course’s subjects”, rate. ( )

8.20. “I prefer language courses that have dynamic strategies of teaching-learning with
technological resources”, rate. ( )

Associação Brasileira de Educação a Distância

8.21. “The didactic material used is adequate to the teaching/learning model”, rate. ( )

9. I have suggestions for those interested in taking distance learning language courses and
will write them on the back.

The analysis has was observed that necessary for there to be a “predisposition” – in
77% of those who had already studied other words, the student must be motivated for
English – whether in the traditional or virtual learning to take place (AUSUBEL, 1980).
environments – are more prone to choose
The questions that followed referred to the
the virtual model due to the practicality, way the student learns, both in the traditional
convenience and the audiovisual resources and distance learning models – namely, if they
used in the distance learning method, as well are visual, reading learners, or need interaction
as the dynamic didactic material and, at times, with tutors, teachers or classmates and if the
graphic computing resources. amount of interaction in their chosen model
In comparison, students of the is considered adequate. Within that parameter,
undergraduate program, as well as those it was verified that 99% of those interviewed
from regular English programs, equally in both models consider interaction to be
value didactic-pedagogical resources used essential for distance learning courses, and that
in both traditional and virtual models, and providers must strive to develop the resources
search for schools that provide them didactic made available to students, in order to improve
development in addition to theory formation. the learning experience provided by the model.
In that aspect, it was observed that DL After all, the absence of physical
students acknowledge and praise the work contact can be overcome by the presence of
developed by teachers and tutors in such audio and video, according to information
schools, acknowledging and underlining the provided by those interviewed. In that case,
advancements of the model. videoconference is quite an effective option
Behind the question that asks the students that can be used in the virtual model in order
if they like to study English,is the intention to address the need for face-to-face contact,
of verifying accordance with the significant and will be effective even if sporadically used.
learning theory, which says that in order for In the open-end questions, it was noticed that
a student to learn something more easily, it is the biggest concern of DL students is regarding

Volume 12 − 2013
teacher feedback. Many have reported that it as spoken lines, refer to people’s thoughts,
is necessary to manage the student-teacher/ feelings, memories, plans and discussions,
tutor relationship because feedback often and sometimes they tell us much more than
does not match the student’s rhythm of work. the authors imagined” (BAUER; GASKELL,
38 2008, p. 189).
Therefore, the distance learning model needs
to find effective teaching-learning means The students’ impression on the efficacy
Associação Brasileira de Educação a Distância

geared for the fulfillment of needs presented by of teaching-learning strategies applied in

each program. DL of the English language were provided
by the answers to the questionnaire, created
6. COMPARATIVE STUDY AND RESULTS to verify the real needs of the virtual model.
Using the Likert scale, it was verified that the
It was noticed that distance-learning
interactive strategies are the ones obtaining
students are older than those of the traditional
better recognition from the distance-learning
model, both in language training and in
students, given the countless resources used
undergraduate Language and Teacher Training
by instructors to attract students and avoid
programs. The average age difference between
evasion in DL. With objective questions, the
the two models (traditional versus virtual) is
study has shown that audio and visual resources
of in the order of 7.5 years. This indicates that
are attractive work tools that facilitate learning,
distance-learning students of foreign language
especially in the distance-learning model,
are generally more experienced than those of
according to the student’s point of view.
the traditional model, for both types of courses.
The vast majority of students, 93% of
Students of the traditional school
both the traditional and DL models, are visual
have shown not to be familiar with distance
learners – it must be mentioned that older
learning and, in general terms, seem to still
models of educational platforms focused
live with their parents and not be inserted in
onthe use of text for teaching. As technology
the job market.The DL model, however, has
and communication evolved, sound and
more professional students who often have
videos were inserted. More recently, the use
families and dispose of less time for studying.
of resources such as Skype, which allows live
As far as means for didactic teaching, conversations between student and teacher (or
both traditional and distance learning between students) to take place, has also been
courses use text for reading, and audio and embraced. Using new resources, the learning
video files for pronunciation and listening process has been facilitated and a tendency
comprehension practice. In the case of can be perceived among distance-learning
distance learning, the student is able to students to evaluate in a positive manner the
watch videos on the computer screen, interactions between students and teacher. In
whereas CDs and DVDs are usually the student community, interaction isa cause
the choice of traditional schools. for learning improvement. After all, as stated
by Vygosky (2011), social interaction causes
Writing is still very important in both
learning to take place.
models. In general terms, “texts, as much

RBAAD – Strategies for Teaching and Learning in Virtual Environments: Comparative Study between Traditional and
Distance Learning (DL) Systems in Language Teaching
Distance Learningas an educational use of good instructional designs. This kind of
model, has profited from the evolution of work offers strategies for providers to include
internet, which provided improvements in the educational theories and use tools such as
possibilities of interaction whether by forums, storyboards – which present the organization
chat rooms, Skype, video casts, podcasts or by 39
and sequence of workin a visual and fast
the more recent virtual reality environments, manner. Through the designers’ work, it is

Associação Brasileira de Educação a Distância

such as Second Life. possible to develop activities that draw the
The evolution of the web consists of students’attention and get them to be part of
the internet’s web pages interface. Web 2.0 the context in order to diminish evasion and
provides interactive tools which are used enhance satisfaction.
by Facebook, Skype, MSN, forums and chat For interaction to happen, it is important
rooms. The DL programexaminedfor this to consider the role of the agent – the nucleus
study uses Skype, which is a technology that or inductor of the process, which can be the
allows students to interact though low-cost teacher in the traditional model or tutor in the
video streaming. This is in accordance with DL model. In either one, 87% of the students
the answers of 100% of all DL students, stating have highlighted the importance of such
that their programis online-based – unlike interaction, giving it the maximum rating of 5.
students from the traditional model, whose
answers indicate that their schools do not
commonly use of the internet.
Social networks and chat rooms provide
Distance Learning supporters have
an interesting form of dialogical interaction,
been striving to think of new ways to explore
considering that the FL student practices the
the same principles upon which traditional
language in fast-paced conversations. This
teaching is built, using the tools offered by
strategy consists of presenting students with
the virtual environment or even searching
ways of living the language within their own
for new strategies tailored for the new model.
country and reality, and showing functional
Thus, the teaching-learning process was not
and interactive means for learning. Also, some
limited to the classroom only, but has crossed
schools have been finding these resources
its physical boundaries, offering students the
through the use of conversations with a
building of knowledge in their own private
native speaker, with the purpose of improving
environment. Virtual tools, although essential
speaking abilities among studentsin more
to DL, are not exclusive to that environment.
advanced levels.
They are often used in the traditional system
to attract students’ attention and stimulate In that sense, technological resources
the use of the foreign language in various offer help in overcoming physical barriers
interaction contexts. that were once considered unavoidable. Usage
of games in the virtual environment has also
One of the most important aspects for
lead to means of learning, both inside and
the distance learning programs to become
outside the classroom, and students are able
more adapted to their students’ reality is the

Volume 12 − 2013
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