—In the field of increasing communicative
competence in ESL (English as a Second Language) studies,
practice with native speakers of English is ideal, but it is
typically impractical for a variety of reasons in a University
setting in Japan. However, for some time commercial English
online conversation services have been used successfully by
Japanese businesses in preparing staff for working in English
speaking environments. This paper outlines the initial results of
a university in Nagasaki making use of a similar online service
as part of an ESL course in a blended e-learning format.
The online course required students to make appointments
with the online service staff at times mutually convenient. The
service consisted of one 25-minute lesson per one or two days.
Initial observations by teaching staff noted increasingly high
average levels of communicative competence in the pilot course
students, and formal interviews confirmed this. Furthermore,
resulting overall English grades were found to correlate closer
to “time spent conversing in English online” than to “student
initial pre-course scores.”
A survey of the pilot course students was taken and the
results are outlined in the paper. Student feedback uncovered a
wide variety of problems ranging from lesson booking logistics,
personal teacher preferences, and connection (Skype) problems;
however, most comments were very positive regarding how they
enjoyed speaking online in this blended e-learning environment.
Increased motivation and a sense of making progress in being
able to communicate better and with increased confidence in
English were also commonly cited.
—Blended e-learning, communicative
competence, motivation, online English conversation.
M. J. Lawn is with the Medical-Engineering Hybrid Professional
Development Program at the Nagasaki University Graduate School of
Biomedical Sciences, 852-8521, Nagasaki, Japan (e-mail:
E. Lawn is with Nagasaki University, Japan (e-mail:
Cite: Murray J. Lawn and Etsuko Lawn, "Increasing English Communicative Competence through Online English Conversation Blended e-Learning," International Journal of Information and Education Technology vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 105-112, 2015.