HandsOnTurkish has been developed with support of the European Commission’s Lifelong Learning Programme.
The project has been funded as a Transfer of Innovation project within the Leonardo da Vinci Programme. It aims to build on the success of Arabic Online (arabiconline.eu), which won the European Language Label for 2013.
HandsOnTurkish aims to combine modern technologies and the most up-to-date approaches to language learning to deliver a vocational course of Turkish that meets the needs of European businesses and Vocational Education and Training (VET).
Why learn Turkish?
“If you address someone in their native tongue, they are 10 times more likely to buy from you — whatever their competence in English.”
(Gary Muddyman, FT.com, September 23, 2015)
Companies in Europe are attracted to Turkey as a supplier for textiles, electronics and other products, and they are keen to enter a huge untapped growing consumer market. In fact, Development Agencies throughout Europe are actively encouraging businesses to engage with Turkey, which is emerging as an economic powerhouse and an engine for “new growth”.
And yet many of the people inside the businesses – on the ground – often do not have the necessary linguistic skills and cultural understanding to deal with the challenge of doing business in Turkey, which is considered to be a “high context culture” (E. T. Hall).
Consequently they run the danger of making basic and avoidable mistakes.
HandsOnTurkish aims to provide businesses and individuals with a basic but necessary understanding of the Turkish language, culture and business etiquette.
Many existing courses of Turkish tend to attach importance first and foremost to vocabulary, structures and grammar. In other words, they adhere to traditional concepts and use outdated language learning methodologies. They also frequently neglect the ever more important aspect of cultural awareness and fail to recognise that a learner needs to be culturally competent in order to understand a language and interact adequately,
This requires a different kind of course to the ones on offer.
Many online eLearning courses rarely progress beyond “books on screen”. These courses are frequently presentational. The learner needs to bring considerable cognitive and analytical skills to the job of learning a language. Few people have the time or academic skills to learn successfully with such products.
Furthermore, these courses, whether in print or online, are rarely based on the Common European Framework of Reference, and the syllabus of the course is often oriented towards general levels such as ‘beginner’
The pedagogical approach of Hands On Turkish can be described as a cognitive constructivist approach to learning, in particular language learning, which is combined with the currently available technology of desktop/laptop computers, tablet computers and smartphones. This approach sees learning, as does Common European Framework of Reference, as an active process and learners as active meaning makers.
Learners will be guided by a task-based approach through a series of units, modules and steps to acquire Turkish and an awareness of Turkish culture.
The Hands On Turkish approach is particular suited to non-academic learners and vocational learners who are not in full-time study.
Cross platform access
Current trends indicate that today’s learners (especially business or vocational learners) are turning away from traditional print products to eLearning and online resources. Such learners will typically have constant access to the internet, preferring different devices during the course of a day (studies by Citigroup, FBR Capital Markets and Forrester Research, an independent technology and market research company).
High quality materials need to be available when learners can learn and directed towards their needs. The materials also need to be suitable for European learners and developed from a European perspective, if they are to have any impact.
Total immersion – e-ImmersionPlus
By delivering the course across multiple platforms and devices, the Hand On Turkish team have created a situation that strives to emulate a total immersion situation of language learning. This situation is defined as e-immersionplus®, a concept developed and a term coined by the project team.
The e-immersionplus environment ensures that the content of the course is customised in such a way that the complete course, or parts of the course respectively, is accessible on desktop/laptop computers, on tablet computers and also on smartphones, each of these technological devices complementing the others. This will allow learners to have the contact time with Turkish that is needed for sustainable learning to take place.
Digital badges are an assessment and credit-awarding mechanism that is hosted and managed online. Badges are designed to document and validate learning in both formal and informal settings. Badges can be downloaded and stored on personal websites and eportfolios. They are an innovative way to have learning achievements recognised and displayed digitally.
The Hands On Turkish team are currently developing digital badges for the online course, which can be trusted as a reliable and accurate record of achievement.
Hands On Turkish has been developed by a team of academic experts, teacher trainers, programmers and publishers from four European countries.
All of this has one goal: to make Turkish accessible to non-academic learners, boost the self-confidence of the learner and dispel the perception that Turkish is a difficult language to learn.