Why Blended?
Rationale and Learning Objectives Considering the importance of technological literacy for working, learning and living in Canada, it is essential that instructors embrace technology to facilitate language learning in LINC classes.

Learner Centeredness: An online open platform such as Wikispace Classroom places learners at the center of learning by offering flexibility (Chambers, Gnida, Messaros, Illot, & Dawson, 2011) in terms of accessing the learning materials anytime and anywhere. It would also encourage m-Learning through personalized, situated and connected learning and facilitate learning that is personal, universal and closely linked to learners’ identity ((Romrell, Kidder & Wood 2014). A blended approach has been adopted to in this thematic unit so that LINC learners who have diverse needs can be in control of their own learning. Some of the task have been substituted, augmented, modified and even redefined (Dudeney and Hockly, 2012) to keep learners at the centre of language learning process.
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Although at substitution level, all the learning materials are made available online. Making the materials online has an added advantage as learners will be able to access the listening materials outside the classroom. Attempts have been made to assist students to “sort through the exponential mass of language” (Kessler, 2013, p.618) either by providing them the mediated text on this website or by providing the hyperlinks that can be easily accessed. Some of the activities particularly those targeting vocabulary development have been modified to make it compatible with the use of technology even outside the class. Other tasks including the assignments have been redefined to include technology based learning outcomes.
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Individual difference: Blended learning accommodates individual differences through responsive instructional approaches, and thereby “allow for deliberate, creative variety to meet the needs of all students in the class” (Oxford, 2003 p. 16). Blended learning creates an environment where relaxed and comfortable students can learn more in shorter periods of time. Calvert and Sheen’s (2015) study revealed the online component in the blended mode helped learners to familiarize with cultural concepts, increase familiarity with the linguistic items and to provide students with more practice in what has been done in the class. Similarly, blended learning helps learners to follow up unfinished tasks (Calvert and Sheen 2015). This online component is particularly important for LINC learners who in their early days of settlement in Canada are likely to miss class due to commitments outside class schedules.

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Collaborative Learning: This blended thematic unit emphasizes interaction and collaboration among learners beyond the brick and mortar classrooms through the use of emails, discussion boards, chat rooms and blogs and thereby help “students co-construct their knowledge by building on one another’s experience” (Larsen-Freeman, 2011, p. 200). Group interaction beyond the classroom walls supports cross-cultural learning (Warschaur, Black & Chow, 2010) and community building (Larrotta, 2009).
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Intrinsically Appealing: This technology-rich thematic unit provides tools and resources that are intrinsically appealing (Walqui, 2000), and would support the pedagogical shift from information presentation to theories of human development (Mifsud, Vella & Camilleri, 2013). As Puentedura (2013) suggests, “technology allows for the creation of new task previously inconceivable." Roy (2014) suggests a sense of holistic learning environment can be created by employing web-based platforms to enrich the process and quality of language learning. Sucaromana’s (2013) comparative study of blended and face-to-face learning of Korean university EFL learners found that students who attended blended mode of learning demonstrated a significantly higher level of intrinsic motivation for learning English, a better attitude towards English as a subject and a better satisfaction with the learning climate. In addition, as Dudeney and Hockly (2012) point out a computer connected to the internet allows teachers to bring the wealth of resources offered by internet into the classroom much more easily and make classrooms learning much more active.

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