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  • 26. Jan 2022

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Slovene Language at Hand

In recent years, the development of digital learning resources is being strongly promoted in line with the digital transformation of society and the educational system. One of these is also the innovative freely accessible e-learning environment Slovene Language at Hand.

The innovative freely-accessible e-learning environment Slovene Language at Hand was launched at the University of Maribor to enrich Slovene language teaching from the sixth grade up to the end of secondary education. It contains numerous exercises and tasks pertaining to spelling, grammar, phrases and proverbs as well as texts. Emphasised are those contents which turned out to cause the most problems to young people.

Innovative open access e-learning environment . . .

Slovene Language at Hand is a novelty among e-learning materials. It is based on state-of-the-art language technologies and takes into account the benefits of the digital medium. As part of the project, tools were developed for automatic capturing of examples from backend corpora and automatic evaluation of answers. The high level of automation enables the creation of an almost unlimited number of exercises and at the same time automatic answers on how successfully they have been solved as well as keeping statistics. The e-environment is adapting to prior knowledge and needs of each individual, so that it automatically guides individuals through exercises and according to the results also through different difficulty levels. It is the first Slovene e-learning environment for Slovene language enabling creation of a connected learning community in which teachers can assign tasks to students, follow their work and progress as well as communicate with them, and students can solve exercises and tasks within the assigned obligations, choose them independently from a list or leave it completely up to the e-learning environment to guide them through exercises of various difficulty levels and subject areas. Throughout the whole process, students can access explanations that can be retrieved as an aid when implementing activities. This way, they can use the e-environment also independently, thus independent of the teacher’s help and directions. Exercises are based on authentic examples of use, which is also a novelty. Characteristic for the e-environment is the thoughtful integration of gamification elements, whereby the focus is on the scoring system and rewarding performance.

is the result of cooperation of key stakeholders . . .

The e-learning environment was designed and developed in cooperation of the Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science as well as the Faculty of Education. Its preparation brought together researchers from the fields of didactics, Slovene studies, language technologies and programming. In all project phases close cooperation was also established with 15 educational institutions from all over Slovenia (primary schools, gymnasiums, high school centres). The preparation of the e-environment was co-financed by the Republic of Slovenia and the European Union from the European Social Fund.

In its preparation we have linked findings from research pertaining to didactics, Slovene studies and language technologies with the development of digital learning resources. Slovene Language at Hand enables the introduction of flexible and innovative forms of learning and formative monitoring of students. It includes the latest professional linguistic developments and fills in the white patches in the field of transferring modern linguistic terminology into schools. It follows the guidelines for preparing digital materials, links and upgrades them appropriately. It pays special attention to the graphics and its elements that are adjusted to the target audience and enable intuitive usage.

for transferring state-of-the-art language technologies . . .

The e-learning environment Slovene Language at Hand has numerous advantages for students and other users as well as teachers. It offers a comprehensive set of various exercises and tasks for strengthening language skills as well as professional explanations of linguistic terms or rules of standard language. It enables enrichment and modernisation of teaching Slovene. For students, it contributes to increasing the motivation for learning Slovene and developing language and digital skills. For teachers, however, it contributes to preparing and correcting exercises as well as following the work and progress of students. Automation processes enable each user to have a unique experience with the e-environment which is never the same as the experience of another user. Characteristic for the e-environment is the free access to information that increases the possibility of spontaneous and informal obtaining of knowledge based on the principle anyone, anywhere and any time.

into schools and a step towards digitalisation.

The e-environment Slovene Language at Hand is an important step towards the digitalisation of learning materials for Slovene. It represents the first version that can be upgraded in the future based on the evaluation of user experience (in terms of upgrading source corpora, extending content sets and adding new exercises and tasks) as well as linked to other subject areas, for example to foreign language teaching.

The preparation of the e-learning environment Slovene Language at Hand was complex from the viewpoint of Slovene studies as well as from the viewpoint of language technologies and programming. Project members tried to connect their ideas with the needs in the educational process and thus contribute to the development of a quality e-learning environment that will be useful in teaching Slovene in primary and secondary schools. We are convinced that it will also address a wider range of users who would like to test, strengthen or upgrade their knowledge of Slovene in an innovative and modern way. The e-environment is freely accessible and enables Slovene to be always at hand from now on.izr. prof. dr. NATALIJA ULČNIK, project manager

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  • 26. Jan 2022

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