E-Language Lab is a part of the E-Cube English program developed by Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for Education (KITE) for promoting language proficiency in government and aided schools across Kerala. This program was created and implemented using MOODLE, which is a Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), and consists of stories based on relevant themes, along with activities and assessments, for the different grades in primary schools.
Inaugurated in March 2022, the project completed one year of implementation in 2022-2023. A third-party Impact Assessment Study of E-Cube English Language Lab, conducted jointly by the Regional Institute of English South India (RIESI) and IT for Change was aimed at understanding the implementation of English language Lab, and identifying specific possibilities for its strengthening. The study, which included baseline, midline and endline components, indicated that there has been a perceptible improvement in the English communicative skills of the students. The study also recommends a program with teachers that would help in getting the maximum benefit from the English language Lab.
By and large, students’ performance levels in the end line have shown a significant improvement vis-à-vis their baseline performance, particularly for listening skills, the ability to read images and writing skills. They were more confident while answering the questions and in most cases needed little to no encouragement to answer. The use of audio and video elements, interactive activities, and simulations seem to have enhanced the learning experience of students - which is also reflected in students’ increased interest levels as reported by teachers. It was also found that regularity in the implementation of English language Lab translated to greater improvements in students’ language proficiency
Although the inadequate technology infrastructure in schools and uneven implementation came up as major challenges, the strength of English language Lab was found to be in its interesting story English language Labing-based pedagogy, innovative implementation strategies developed by teachers, and a robust system for providing support and feedback to teachers and schools.
By providing supplementing instruction in English communication skills, which has had a positive impact on student abilities, English language Lab was found to be extremely relevant.
The study finds that there is scope revise the methodologies for the adoption and integration of English language Lab into classroom teaching.
- A set of comprehensive guidelines and FAQs can help teachers visualise the implementation of English language Lab and its integration with teaching of English language (ELT) better.
- Orientation/ training of all stakeholders has also been recommended to ensure clarity on the objectives of English language Lab, and subsequently, efficient implementation.
- The need for a comprehensive, continuous professional development plan for teachers which focuses on English language Lab-specific training, and improving their language proficiency and understanding of content and pedagogy, has been highlighted in the report. The study recommends that along with creating professional learning communities for teachers, they be provided continuous academic and technological support to build their comfort level, confidence and expertise in using English language Lab.
- For the coming years, the study emphasizes the need for a decentralised resource creation process. English language Lab should be envisioned as a curated repository of stories that are multilevel, multilingual and span multiple themes and contexts within (and outside) Kerala, to cater to young and adult learners alike.