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Learner-content interaction is an indispensable part of online courses (Murray, Perez, Geist, & Hedrick, 2012). According to Murray et al. (2012), the learning process in online courses can be enhanced through the use of technology for delivering and accessing the course content. During the learner-content interaction, learners can engage in “reading informational texts, using study guides, watching videos, interacting with computer-based multimedia, using simulations, or using cognitive support software (e.g., statistical software), as well as searching for information, completing assignments, and working on projects” (Bernard et al., 2009, p. 1248).

Learner-content interaction can entail students’ interaction with (a) technology (Battalio, 2007) or computers (Chapelle, 2001) and their interface, and (b) course content and information (including materials, resources, activities, assessments, etc.) mediated via technology. In fact, researchers differentiate among learner-content (Moore, 1989; Tsang, 2010), learner-information (Sabry & Baldwin, 2003), learner-technology (Strachota, 2003), and learner-interface types of interaction (Cho, 2011; Hillman, Willis, & Gunawardena, 1994). In our context (i.e., online language education), however, we normally use learner-content interaction in a broader sense which combines the technology and the content aspects; hence, we can call such type of interaction “learner-content technology-mediated interaction.”

Technologies that enable learner-content interaction in online classes can be used for the following purposes:learning new content with a focus on the input (i.e., interactive reading, listening, or watching). Examples:an interactive reading task in which a text is supposed by multimedia glosses, thereby creating an interactional modification of the input for L2 learners an interactive video-based listening task enhanced with subtitles that can create “modified interaction” or scaffold it.practicing new content with a focus on the output (i.e., interactive writing or speaking). Examples: an interactive writing task that entails multimedia-enhanced input (e.g., a video, a text), followed by a prompt that requires a written interactive speaking tasksassessment and evaluation. Examples:computer-generated (implicit) feedback that identifies the existence of an error in the learner’s output, but leaves it up to the learner to identify the error; such feedback leads to better learning gains (Chapelle, 2001, p. 73) intelligent feedback provided by computers (i.e., explicit corrective feedback that identifies errors) is generally more effective than implicit feedback. Qualities of technology-enhanced language learning tasks that may affect the effectiveness of learner-content interaction (adapted from Chapelle, 2001, p. 68):language learning potential (i.e., Does the task encourage learners to focus on form during their interaction with the content?)learner fit (i.e., Is the difficulty level of the task appropriate for the learners?)meaning focus (i.e., Does the task encourage the learners to use the language to construct meaning?)authenticity (i.e., Does the learners’ performance during the interaction correspond to the interaction outside the classroom?)impact (i.e., Do learners have a positive experience with technology while completing the task?)practicality (i.e., Is technology appropriate for enabling a successful learner-content interaction during the completion of the task?) Suggested references

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