Handbook of Research on Web 2.0 and Second Language Learning edition:1st print pages:137-149
This case study describes how a project-based approach offers valuable new opportunities for graduate students to equip them with the necessary competencies and skills for bridging the gap from university to company performance in English. The project focused on the development of a Web 2.0 learning community in a virtual learning environment (VLE) using Google. Throughout the project a group of business and economics students reported to each other and to external experts about their progress. Google was compared to Blackboard, the official university VLE. Google does not score as well on privacy and structure, but a qualitative results questionnaire revealed that it performs better as a learner-pulled VLE. Our Google community led to (i) intensive interaction in discussion forums in the target language, (ii) confidence building as to spoken and written performance in an international business setting, (iii) meaningful content learning, and (iv) successful project management skills. The strengths of a Google community lie in user-friendliness, interaction, and the application of new technological tools and means.