The MOSAIC English language program for adult learners with diverse first language and education backgrounds is learner-centred and task-based - and all about improving communicative language - so the negotiation demanded by the process of making a video together, especially as part of the process is in online forums and wikis, is a rich framework for learning and applying learning. The task is expressed clearly as a language task. For example, after functional langauge lessons on explaining a process/ giving directions, learner groups are required to produce a "How To" video on a subject of their choice. Criteria match the 'best practice' items learners culled from unit lessons, as well as a maximum lemgth and a deadline. Final videos are peer-assessed to the criteria, and the teacher assesses individual learners on participation and language production.
Regarding the need to learn software specific skills: Previous programs had discrete computer use support classes. Because our feedback data showed that students had a fair range of skills (although in L1), we designed the program to rely on informal peer learning, referral to external online tutorials, and direct support if needed. For example, with continuous intake, we teach an orientation to the online part of the blended course, including online tools, only every few months. The orientation lesson teaches learners how to give an orientation, so a new students is mentored into the online course and projects by experienced students. Again, a great language task as well. Our projects are modest, of course, in comparison to a university program, but almost one year into the model we have had no huge problems re software skills. Indeed, I have learned so much from the students!
Students who don't know where to start or seem overwhelmed: Participation of all group members is a project objective. Non-participation can be seen quickly through the online coursework. The teacher facilitates inclusion and support among the group.
I confess that I see collaborative video projects as processes to hang language on. I sometimes feel guilty as I blithely delete the end products of so many learner hours . . .