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Multimodality and CALL

Nicolas Guichon
Cathy Cohen


This chapter explores the issues pertaining to multimodality, which has always been considered as a defining characteristic of CALL (Chapelle 2009). The chapter begins by critically examining the various definitions of multimodality, especially in the field of second language acquisition and cognitive psychology and explores the distinction between mode, modality and channel. With reference to specific studies conducted in the field, we then investigate the potential of multimodality for second language comprehension and interaction. These studies support the idea that learning may be enhanced when teachers and learners have access to diverse modes. We also raise the question of cognitive load, especially crucial when information available in different modalities has to be processed, potentially leading to the division of attention between several channels. To address the issue of multimodality in CALL, we take an overview of computer-mediated tasks and discuss the challenges identified by researchers. Because videoconferencing used for telecollaboration brings together different challenges posed by multimodality, we focus on what is at stake both for the teachers and the learners when they are interacting online with a desktop videoconferencing system. First, we explore the potential of multimodality for CALL. The last two sections are devoted to studying multimodality in CALL, first from the learners' perspective and the literacies that need to be developed, and second, from the language teachers' point of view, especially with regard to training them for current and future mediated teaching.


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hal-01303401 , version 1 (18-04-2016)


  • HAL Id : hal-01303401 , version 1


Nicolas Guichon, Cathy Cohen. Multimodality and CALL. Farr, F & Murray, L. The Routledge Handbook of Language Learning and Technology., Routledge, pp.509-521, 2016, 0415837871. ⟨hal-01303401⟩
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