DIAL4EU: an inclusive excellence project focused on digital teaching and learning practices for foreign languages

An Erasmus project focused on digital teaching and learning practices was funded by the European Commission up to 300,000 euros, after an evaluation of 93 points out of 100. DIAL4U aims to facilitate the evolution of online education and training in a key discipline supported by Erasmus: foreign languages.

The COVID-19 crisis and the unforeseen shift to online content has highlighted the gap in digital technologies to fully support inclusive education, facilitate creative and collaborative student-centred learning.

The situation of language learning/teaching requires our full attention as language acquisition mainly takes place through interaction and daily usage, which are not always easily developed through the tools adopted during the pandemic. At the same time, educators cannot ignore the development of informal language practice, which very often remains “invisible”. Similarly, the learners develop informal practice and are hardly aware that it could support their formal learning, while teachers ignore some practices that are part of the learners’ biography, with no transfer to the classroom context. Furthermore, the question of validating the level of language at the end of the learning process, through a language certificate has also very often led to the use of external language tests disconnected with the learning process.

In this context, the objective of the project is to co-develop an innovative approach and digital tools in order to: facilitate mediation in all dimensions of the language learning process; strengthen the capacities and autonomy of all language learners; develop or improve the digital/mixed teaching skills of language teachers; facilitate the recognition and validation of knowledge, skills and competences.

DIAL4EU proposes different levels of activities: Learning, teaching, training activities (LTTA), 2 Multiplier events (ME) et 2 Transnational Project Meeting (TPM):

For LTTA:
1. Short-term joint staff training events
2. Intensive programmes for higher education learners
3. Intensive programmes for teaching staff

For ME:
1. Panel session at the EAIE 2022 Conference
2. Digital Technology: challenges and opportunities for autonomous language learning and teaching

2 TPM:
1. kick-off meeting
2. mid-term evaluation meeting

The project’s goal is to facilitate mediation throughout formal and informal language learning, use digital pedagogy to develop learners’ autonomy and capacity to manage their learning, enable a better mediation of the learning process by the teachers and certify Life wide and Lifelong Language Learning with micro-credentials.

The DIAL4U partnership is also an opportunity for the European university network InclusU (https://www.inclusu.eu/about-us) to confirm its existence and its dynamism. DIAL4U will illustrate the InclusU “project factory” as one of its main activities. The synergy of the partnership will lead to the official recognition of language skills at European level and this project is an essential step towards this objective.

DIAL4U will also contribute to one of the 2025 targets of the European Skills Agenda by enabling adult learners, aged 25 to 64, to participate in learning / training activities.