This thesis project embarked on a journey with the beliefs that online communication environments would have positive effects on language learners’ understanding of target cultures and learners’ spoken language proficiency, by bringing together foreign language learners and native speakers of the target language located in geographically distant places.
In this dissertation the effects of computer mediated communication via telecollaboration with native speakers on foreign language learning are studied. We chose to look at the role of tasks and the environment and their effect on learners’ spoken language proficiency and their understanding of target cultures. We believed that not only the relevance of meaningful tasks in conjunction with the technological environment but also an international setting with native speakers would help to enhance intercultural spoken communication skills. We wanted to find out which characteristics of these online exchanges are that enhance interaction and promote learning. We also investigated whether these computer mediated interventions have any added value over the more traditional education or if, on the contrary, they are just another burden for teachers.