list of criteria

Evaluation of selected online-tools for language teaching and learning
General information
Name of the product
Randall’s ESL cyber listening lab
URL of the product
Sort of product / short
 Language-learning programme
 Teacher’s resource site (Worksheets, complete lesson plans,
using literature in the classroom, classroom games,
conversation activities etc.)
NA Dictionary
NA Vocabulary-trainer
NA Drill & practice
NA Information-system
NA Additional material
NA Co-operative learning (chat, forum etc.)
 Others: the main focus is on developing listening skills
Short description:
Randall’s ESL cyber listening lab is a free listening website for
English learners, from basic to advanced level. The site provides an
ample choice of listening activities and navigation within the
various sections is quite easy. It offers different types of listening
activities like conversations, listening quizzes, etc.
The general listening section is divided into three different levels
(easy – medium – difficult) and deals with functional language skills
and everyday conversations and topics.
Furthermore, learners find listening quizzes for academic purposes,
which offer topics of academic nature that might help students
preparing for their jobs/ profession and TOEFL or similar tests.
Additionally, one can find vocabulary lessons/activities which help
the learners to build their skills in preparation for the listening
Target group/s
NA Children (3-7, 8-11)
 Teenagers (12+)
 Adults
© Astrid Divischek, Elisabeth Feigl, Petra Reidl
November 2011
 Advanced Beginners A1+ – A2
 Advanced; up to level: B 1 – B 2 – C 1 – C 2
Comments: The Easy level is designed for false or advanced
beginners, and not for true beginners.
 Target language: English
 Source language: English
 Multilingual: no
 Every day/common language
 Business/special/technical language
Costs / Value for money
 Free of charge
NA Fee-based service
Costs for end-user: ….
 Value for money
 Technical requirements:
Internet browser, like Internet Explorer, Google Chrome,
and Firefox. All of these are free.
Media player like Real Media Player or Windows Media
 Optical design /layout: good
 Navigation within the product: easy to navigate
Comments: There are also video tutorials for first time users which
will help the students learn how to use many of the features of this
site for their learning.
Graphical quality
Language & sound quality
Film quality
Animation quality
Comments: no animation
Which topics are covered?
a) General Everyday English: e.g. Hotel reservations, vacation
plans, car accident, job hunting, clothing styles, TV guide, family
relationships, phone messages, movie review, leisure activities,
medical advice and more.
b) Listening quizzes for academic purposes: e.g. Immigration,
cosmetic surgery, our aging society, environmental problems,
learning languages, Internet access and more.
© Astrid Divischek, Elisabeth Feigl, Petra Reidl
November 2011
(Inter)cultural information and activities
If yes, which: there are some activities dealing with American
customs and traditions, e.g.: Valentine’s Day, Christmas, holiday
Types of texts and material
Types of texts and material:
NA Authentic texts (newspaper articles, colloquial texts etc.)
NA Reading texts
 Listening practice
NA Films (DVDs, videos, spots etc.)
 Tutorial (e.g. Help!)
NA Flashcards
NA Photos and/or other pictures
NA Others
Examples of types of texts: everyday conversations, dialogues,
Enhancing teaching and learning
Gap-filling exercise
Answering questions
Role play
Vocabulary training
Writing activity (partly)
Drill and practice
Multiple choice
Others: ideas for online investigations
b) What can be improved?
Sentence structure
c) Variety
 Variety of activities
NA Balance of four skills: not really, as the emphasis is on listening
d) Extent/Adequateness
 Sufficient possibilities for practice
 Activities are adequate for the resp. learning task
e) Revision/Revision of
 Repetition of contents and forms in different settings
a) Kinds of activities
Comments: Each listening comprehension is structured in the
following phases:
I. Pre-Listening Exercises: This section helps the learner to prepare
for what he/she is going to hear. E.g. Brainstorming to generate
ideas/vocab that might appear in the listening activity.
II. Listening Exercises: Learners listen and have to answer multiple
© Astrid Divischek, Elisabeth Feigl, Petra Reidl
November 2011
choice questions afterwards (listening to details). After doing the
activity, learners can check their score, or reset and start again.
III. Vocabulary: Using topic related vocabulary or new words in
context, usually 3-4 different activities, e.g.: mixed up sentences,
drag and drop exercises, text completion quiz, matching exercises
IV. Post-Listening Exercises
The focus is no longer on receptive skills, but also on active
/productive speaking or writing skills.
 further training of listening skills: watching a video on a
similar topic + activities
 writing skills: learners share their ideas with other learners
in Randall’s blog to this topic
 Ideas and suggestions for online research
 This section also contains some kind of speaking activities
/ideas for discussion, and students have to work together
with other students. Working with other students and
discussing the content of the listening activities or
discussing questions beyond the content of the activities
help learners to improve their communication skills and
the learners can actively practice what they have learned
 Also possible for classroom use
Cooperative learning / Interaction
Opportunities for cooperative
learning and interaction
Others: Blog
Comments: Learners can share their ideas on the topics at
Randall’s ESL Blog and thereby improve their writing skills.
Independent learning
(How) is independent learning
NA Core curriculum (deemed by the programme developers)
 Dynamic, flexible learning progress according to individual
needs and present knowledge of the language
Comments: Learners can choose from the various listening
comprehensions according to their level of English and within each
level they can choose various topics that are of interest to them.
Learning progress
How is the learning progress
NA The learner can build on his/her former knowledge
NA Grading at the beginning (test, self-assessment etc.)
NA Identifying learning aims and needs
© Astrid Divischek, Elisabeth Feigl, Petra Reidl
November 2011
NA Predefined learning outcomes
 Progress (self)assessment
If yes, in which kind: A self-study guide helps visitors to organise
their study goals and objectives. The website also provides
handouts that can be used to help students keep track of their
Feedback and error
Correction: yes
Other forms of feedback and control (self-assessment,
repetition, feedback by tutor etc.)
Comments: After doing an activity learners can check their score,
or reset and start again. When one checks the score, one sees the
result in percentage. If one chooses the wrong answers, the correct
answers are given as well.
Is motivation stimulated by
the tool?
The tool:
 creates a pleasant learning environment
 leads to higher learning efficiency
 roses curiosity
 has a surprise effect
 makes you laugh
 boosts creativity
Others/ comments: As there is such a big variety of topics, one can
engage in various listening activities without getting bored. The
user can select the topics that interests them, which in turn
increases their motivation.
Usage in the language-class
How can the tool be used in
the language class (incl.
preparation and independent
learning in between face-toface classes)?
Tips and experience:
The site was mainly designed for self-access learning where
learners engage in the listening activities on their own. However,
the site can definitely also be used in the language classroom, e.g.
when teachers ask their students to complete certain exercises as a
means of supplementing their classroom activities. Furthermore,
the pre-listening and post-listening activities contain various open
questions for brainstorming and discussion. This could also be done
in a classroom setting, in groupwork or in pairwork. Students can
engage in different conversational activities to apply what they
already know or expect about the topic or what they have learned /
heard in the listening activity.
The website is also ideal for independent learning in between faceto-face sessions. Teachers can ask their students to do the prelistening activity and the listening activity itself at home (including
vocabulary work). They can then further work on the topic in a
© Astrid Divischek, Elisabeth Feigl, Petra Reidl
November 2011
face-to-face session and discuss the questions in the post listening
or follow- up activities in class. This website can also be used as a
round up/ revision of a topic that was worked on in class. Or
teachers can tell their students to do one of the online
This website also contains handouts that can be used to help
teachers and students keep track of their learning on this site.
Teachers are welcome to copy and distribute these materials for
personal or classroom use.
Name and contact-information of the evaluator:
Reidl Petra , [email protected]
© Astrid Divischek, Elisabeth Feigl, Petra Reidl
November 2011