Learner Characteristics, Learner Achievement and Time Investment in Online Courses for Dutch L2 in Adult Education



For the growing group of adult migrants, flexible solutions for second language (L2) acquisition are increasingly important, while concerns about the efficacy of online language learning abound. This study on the L2 situation in Flanders has 4 key aims: analyzing adult learner profiles in fully online Dutch beginnersí courses; comparing learner achievements in fully online and face-to-face (F2F) courses; reporting on differences in learner achievement considering learner profile variables and comparing time investment in F2F and online courses.


A quantitative design was adopted, including a survey among the online students; assessment scores and data on learner profiles of online and F2F learners. The survey dealt with biographical variables and variables related to online learning. Results show that i) the online Dutch L2 learner is typically highly educated and employed; ii) online learners spend less time on the course than F2F learners, but perform significantly better in reading, listening and speaking skills; iii) writing skills are better achieved in F2F learning and iv) prior educational level and the language spoken by the host community have no significant impact on learner achievement. The findings indicate that online L2 learning can be as effective as F2F learning, even for learners with a lower educational level, or lacking contact with native speakers.