Harnessing Learner Interest: Integrating Interactive Online Learning in the Foreign Language Classroom


Asynchronous Online Discussion, Online Interaction, Engagement, Foreign Language, Discussion Board.


One of the most difficult challenges instructors face in any teaching environment is keeping learners engaged and interested in the course material; however, this challenge assumes an even greater significance in an online class.  In traditional classroom settings, engagement is easily accomplished through interaction integrated into teaching practices; however, in online settings, research underscores the need to provide learners with interactive learning experiences that keep them engaged with one another and with course content that can replicate the interaction that is inherent in traditional course environments (Schroeder-Moreno, 2010). In this article, the author explores the construct of interaction as it relates to the teaching of foreign languages in traditional, blended, or online settings. Topics discussed include: the importance of interaction within a course environment; interactivity and language learning; benefits of interaction to learners; and learner engagement strategies. An activity template illustrates an instructional approach for designing interactive learning activities and a process of integrating online interaction into a face-to-face (FTF) foreign language learning setting.