An Integrated Approach to Effectiveness Research in CALL
Chapter 6 - Case Study 1: Evaluating digital platforms 133
Chapter 6 Case Study 1: Evaluating digital platforms Introduction and definitions By definition, a platform is foundational, a launch-pad for software; one might also see it as a skeleton, with software as the muscle. Without plat- form or software, CALL pedagogy is homeless. For this reason digital platforms are the first of the three ‘P’s that will be looked at, programs the second ‘P’ and pedagogy the third. Each ‘P’ has its own separate iden- tity and may be evaluated separately, and usually is. Like modern medi- cine which, since the discrediting of diagnosis of illness by means of the humours, has tended to look at the individual parts of the body for the causes of disease rather than the whole system, ef fectiveness research has tended to be atomistic rather than holistic. Such measurement is easier, having fewer variables to deal with and being, therefore, a more precise science. This narrowly-focused approach may, however, sometimes miss the wood for the trees. The Case Studies look at the three ‘P’s and their sub-elements as sepa- rate entities, then step back and look at the whole. Their overarching goal is to see how the one ‘P’ relates to and interacts with the others and see if there is a synergy at work. Platforms, like programs and pedagogies, can dif fer vastly from one to the next, are designed to meet functional and human needs, and have the capacity to motivate, surprise, and infuriate. They can enhance, or detract from, the performance...
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