Collaborative online international learning among peers as a means to improve English proficiency: A perception study of Hong Kong students

Li Xia, Yuk Wan Grace Lim, Stefan Rudolf Sonntag

Research output: Unpublished conference presentation (presented paper, abstract, poster)AbstractAcademic researchpeer-review


Peer collaborative method has been proven effective in improving learners’ English language proficiency when English is the medium of communication between peers(i.e.: Nelson, 1996; May, 2007; Estes and Mintz, 2016). However, little research has discussed how peer collaboration helps to improve second language learners’ English language proficiency in the subject content of design in a virtual environment. In this paper, we report a cross-institutional project aiming to fill this gap. The project involved 65 students from Hong Kong and 60 students from the United Kingdom. Its implementation was entirely online. The research team has examined Hong Kong students’ perception of their English proficiency level before and after the collaboration, their viewpoints towards their language and cultural barriers faced when communicating with their UK counterparts, and the strategies they adopted to overcome both the language and cultural barriers based on data from two rounds of questionnaire surveys, 41 written reflections and eight selected interviews.
Overall, the results demonstrated that international peer collaboration is a valuable and applicable method in improving students’ English language proficiency and their cultural awareness in an online environment. The method and results can be of great use to both teachers and linguists who would like to infuse language improvement into content knowledge learning in virtual environments and to motivate students to engage more in their subject learning.

Estes TH and Mintz SL (2016) Instruction: A Models Approach. New York: Pearson.
May T (2007) Fractional language learning. Asian EFL Journal 9(4): 189-205.
Nelson K (1996) The Emergence of Mediating Language. Language in Cognitive Development: The Emergence of the Mediated Mind. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusNot published / presented only - 20 Jun 2022
Event17th International Conference on Language and Social Psychology - Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Duration: 22 Jun 202225 Jun 2022
Conference number: ICLASP17:2022


Conference17th International Conference on Language and Social Psychology
Abbreviated titleICLASP17
Country/TerritoryHong Kong
CityHong Kong
Internet address


  • English for communications
  • Intercultural competence
  • English in the discipline
  • collaborative learning,


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