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Skills needed for telecollaboration in a multilingual environment: framework and task

Elsa Chachkine et Isabelle Salengros-Iguenane
Cet article est une traduction de :
Compétences pour télécollaborer dans un environnement plurilingue : référentiel et tâche [fr]


In this article, we propose a framework of skills for telecollaboration in a plurilingual environment. It can be used by language teachers in higher education to prepare students for telecollaboration, using plurilingual practices and digital resources. The framework we have designed is anchored in a humanistic conception of education (Maslow & Rogers, 1971; Ryan & Deci, 2017). More specifically, we place the skill of collaborating at distance (Henri & Lundgren-Cayrol, 2003; Daele & Charlier, 2006) at the very centre of the telecollaboration skill. Digital literacies (Ollivier et al., 2018) and plurilingual practices (CARAP, 2012; REFIC, 2019) complete the skills framework. An example of a task, which relies on the framework, is proposed. The task is intended for engineering students and doctoral students from two French higher education institutions.

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We warmly thank Françoise Demaizière, our first reader, who helped us anticipate criticism. However, this text and its scientific value only reflect the authors' opinions.
Our warmest thanks to Daniel Morgan for his expert review of the English version of this article.

1. Introduction

1International work exchanges often take place through videoconferencing. Professionals who speak different languages often choose to use a single language for these exchanges. However, we believe that in order to solve problems collaboratively at a distance, the use of multiple languages by participants, aided by digital tools and resources, is relevant.

  • 1 The French version of this article uses the term "plurilinguisme" rather than "multilinguisme". In (...)

2Research shows that in multilingual1 work contexts, the use of a single language is not sufficient to collaborate constructively in multicultural environments (Rossette & Pujol Berché, 2019), and does not enable the resolution of many practical problems (Fillietaz, 2019). According to Rossette and Pujol Berché (2019), when professionals use a variety of languages to solve problems and make decisions, it becomes easier for a diversity of perspectives to emerge, which is essential for collaboration. Along with Escudé (2016, p. 177), we share the view that the world is multilingual and that it is not spoken in one language, but rather "through the great richness of points of view that it can best appear. The real and only question will therefore be how to manage these points of view, how to bring them into tune with one another" ("c'est au contraire par la grande richesse des points de vue qu'il peut le mieux apparaître. La vraie et seule question sera donc de savoir de quelle manière gérer ces points de vue, les accorder").

3Although using the multilingual repertoire of people working together in a group with the help of digital tools and resources does not seem natural for many professionals, it is important to train future professionals in these practices. Language training courses in higher education in France, particularly French as a Foreign Language courses, provide a favourable laboratory for experimenting with the consideration of learners' multilingual repertoires. These courses bring together students of various nationalities and offer an opportunity to introduce them to distance collaboration–which we refer to as telecollaboration and define in Section 2–and to the richness of multilingual practices. For our language training context of engineers and PhD students, the use of language diversity has a practical dimension for telecollaboration. However, it also means preserving and prioritizing multilingual practices, "to act as an antidote to the crushing of academic and scientific cultures and to guarantee the plurality of viewpoints" ("pour se poser comme un antidote à l'écrasement des cultures académiques et scientifiques et être garant de la pluralité des perspectives") (Berthoud, 2016, p. 167).

4Designing a task with the objective of developing skills for telecollaboration in a multilingual environment requires identifying the skills to be utilised by learners. This is what we propose in this research, by trying to identify the skills necessary for telecollaboration in a multilingual environment, which we present in the form of a skills framework. We then illustrate our proposal with an example of a task based on this framework; instructions for telecollaboration and evaluation for learners and tutoring instructions for language teachers are also based on this framework. In order to develop a skills framework for telecollaboration in a multilingual environment, it is important to first define the terms "collaboration" and "telecollaboration." The focus should be on the "collaboration" aspect, where group members have equal status as they work together to solve a shared problem. Motivational levers that encourage young adult learners to become engaged in the activity should also be considered.

5The framework should also take into account the contributions of multilingual approaches and digital tools and resources that support telecollaboration in multilingual environments. The concept of digital literacy can be used to integrate the social dimension of telecollaboration, with a focus on videoconferencing as a central digital resource.

6Based on Henri and Lundgren-Cayrol's model of distance collaboration and analysis of various frameworks, a skills framework can be developed in line with humanistic approaches to training. Finally, we offer an example of a task to raise awareness of these competencies among learners of French as a foreign language, with the aim of encouraging professionals to use their multilingual repertoire in telecollaboration practices. This is particularly important given the trend towards unilingualism with English as the exclusive lingua franca in Europe.

2. (Tele)collaboration in a multilingual environment

2.1. Collaboration

7Collaboration can be characterised by the equal status of the members of a group, by the fact that they carry out activities together to solve a shared problem and that they participate in social interactions (Daele & Charlier, 2006; Dillenbourg et al., 2003). A conception of collaboration described as "constructive" by Damon and Phelps (1989), supported by the socio-constructivist current, also emphasises that members succeed in solving the problem and building new knowledge essentially through dialogue, but also through the sharing of their knowledge and the coordination of their actions.

8Henri and Lundgren-Cayrol (2003) add that cohesion and productivity are two conditions for successful collaboration. Cohesion, according to these authors, is expressed through supportive behaviour and regular participation of members. Cohesion increases when members feel attracted to the group and identify with it. Strong cohesion promotes productivity. Conversely, productivity, which "refers to the feeling that group members have when their interactions result in an output that they find satisfactory" (p. 82), feeds cohesion. Finally, fostering positive interdependence also stimulates cohesion (Henri & Lundgren-Cayrol, 2003).

9Social interactions play a central role in the construction of cohesion and productivity within a collaborative group. Sharing ideas, communicating one's vision of things, developing hypotheses, discussing and agreeing on the direction to be given to the work, reconciling points of view, finding a unifying thought (Schrage, 1990), negotiating meaning: all these acts of language show how dialogue is at the heart of collaboration. Schrage (1990) explains that dialogue is what forms the basis of collaboration and that dialogue has a mediation function: by supporting negotiation, it brings thoughts closer together and reduces the gaps in knowledge between collaborators; the collaborators adapt to each other, make their knowledge explicit, appropriate that of others and bring out new points of view until a collective scheme emerges which will allow the collaborative production to move forward (Henri & Lundgren-Cayrol, 2003). According to this approach, dialogue is indeed the basis of collaboration (Lemke, 1993), which places language and the choice of languages to be used within a multilingual collective in a central position.

10Finally, it should be pointed out that the effects of collaborative situations depend on the quality of the interactions developed by learners. Consequently, the goal in research on collaborative distance learning is to develop tasks that have a positive impact on the quality of interactions (Dillenbourg, 2002). We hypothesise that humanistic approaches to collaboration, coupled with the use of the group's multilingual repertoire and a reflection on the distance scenario of the collaboration, will help improve the quality of interactions.

2.2. Telecollaboration

11Our definition of telecollaboration in a multilingual environment could fall within the scope of telecollaboration as defined by O'Dowd and Lewis (2016).

Telecollaboration, also referred to as Virtual Exchange or Online Intercultural Exchange, involves engaging students in task-based interaction and collaborative exchange projects with partner-classes in other locations through online communication technologies under the guidance of their teachers.

12In particular, it could fall under this definition:

telecollaboration is based on student-centred, intercultural and collaborative approaches to learning where knowledge and understanding are constructed through learner interaction and negotiation (Müller-Hartmann & O'Dowd, 2018, p. 3).

13However, our approach to telecollaboration differs from this definition in several ways: firstly, it is not exclusively dedicated to the development of (inter)cultural skills, since the language aspect is central. Secondly, the "collaborative" nature of telecollaboration is often limited to "discussion or information exchange activities" (Nissen, 2019, p. 167), yet collaboration is central to our approach. Lastly, the multilingual dimension is absent in these telecollaboration projects, with the exception of some, such as Garbarino and Leone's (2020) on oral telecollaboration in intercomprehension. In the Global Virtual Teams approach, which aims to prepare students to work in a globalised world, unilingualism prevails. The use of English lingua franca as the only European language is emphasised, with the emphasis on group work in a multicultural environment. However, according to our approach, the unequal mastery of a language of communication leads to unequal relationships, which is contrary to our conception of collaboration (cf. 2.1). Moreover, in our view, the use of the group's languages enriches the group's communication, both for the resolution of the shared problem and for the well-being of the group and its commitment to the group.

14Thus, we could define telecollaboration in a multilingual environment in the language classroom as follows: members of a multilingual and multicultural group telecollaborate in learning a language that is common to them (French as a foreign language in our context), relying on the other languages and socio-cultural elements mastered to varying degrees by the group, to solve a shared problem. The equal status of the members, the recognition of shared languages and cultures and the exchange of knowledge encourage commitment and dialogue among members, stimulating the cohesion and the productivity of the group. The pedagogical design (tasks, tools) includes the use of various communication tools (synchronous audio channels as well as synchronous and asynchronous written media) as well as tools such as dictionaries and automatic translators to support exchanges between the learners.

2.3. Motivations to (tele)collaborate

15There are various motivations that can lead members of a group to participate in (tele)collaboration. The literature on human motivation, to which we refer, is based on humanistic psychology, which conceives human beings as active organisms, oriented towards the integration and actualisation of their capacities and potentials. In particular, Deci and Ryan (2002) and Ryan and Deci (2017), who originated the theory of self-determination, identify two main motivations, one intrinsic and the other extrinsic. The first consists of performing an activity solely for the pleasure an individual experiences in doing it; intrinsic motivation also finds its source in the pleasure of interacting and taking part in the life of a group. For extrinsic motivation, the activity is not regulated intrinsically but by sources of control external to the individual. These different ways of triggering and regulating activity (individual or in a group), whether autonomous or controlled, have a consequence on the commitment of participants in the group.

16When collaboration provides an effective means of learning and problem solving, it can be a utilitarian activity and an extrinsic motivation (Henri & Lundgren-Cayrol, 2003). Collaboration can also take on a utilitarian character when a task can be accomplished that a collaborator would not be able to do alone. But the group also helps to satisfy basic psychological needs under certain conditions. These conditions are to satisfy basic needs for humans to be naturally active. According to Ryan and Deci (2017), three basic needs underlie all human motivations: the need for autonomy, which is the need to be the source of one's action, to perform an action that is chosen or for which one feels responsible; the need for competence, which is the need to interact effectively with one's environment; and the need for social relationships, which is related to feeling connected to others, being attentive to others and having a sense of belonging to a community of people. When the basic needs are met in a group, individuals will become more engaged in a task, the more interesting it is and the more it leads to well-being and thus to the individuals' development.

17(Tele)collaborative learning environments are precisely the kind of group that satisfies basic needs (for social relations, for a sense of competence, for the need for autonomy) and in which equality of status, sharing of knowledge and supportive behaviour prevail. We are thus considering proposing this model to groups of multilingual learners in the language classroom in order to ensure that the internationalisation of exchanges is not "a standardisation embodied by a necessary monolingualism" ("une standardisation incarnée par un nécessaire monolinguisme") (Escudé & Gajo, 2016, p. 166).

2.4. Multilingual environment

2.4.1. Issues in training for multilingual (tele)collaboration in language courses

18Kereluik et al. (2013) suggest three kinds of knowledge and fields of application for the skills to be learned in the 21st century: fundamental knowledge (to "know"), meta-knowledge (to "act") and humanistic knowledge (to "evaluate"). The competency "to collaborate" which is part of the category of meta-knowledge, is often associated with multicultural and multilingual teamwork. It is, therefore, an important form of meta-knowledge in the 21st century and is a training issue.

19Collaborative work in multilingual/pluricultural teams requires speaking more or less laboriously in a language that is not one's own. Speakers then run the risk of expressing themselves and being understood in a rudimentary way. They express their thoughts less precisely and may be tempted to give up. However, it is regrettable to give up a very good idea even if it is badly formulated. The importance of recognising, valuing and supporting multilingual practices in educational policies and professional contexts is highlighted in the Dylan project, a research programme conducted by Berthoud, Grin and Lüdi (2013). For these authors, there is a strong interest in using a multilingual language repertoire, so as to be able to express in one or more languages what cannot be expressed in a single language, to share a broader range of ideas, to maximise participation and thus to make (tele)collaboration fruitful.

20As mentioned above, French as a foreign language courses in French higher education are composed of heterogeneous allophone learners of different nationalities, which allows for the presence of a great diversity of languages. Working with these multilingual learners offers the opportunity to take advantage of the different language-cultures present to mobilise the learners' plural language and cultural repertoire, as Di Tillio Lacruz and Salengros-Iguenane have done in the Spanish-French interlanguage project at École des Ponts ParisTech (2022). Heterogeneity is a useful resource for stimulating the emergence and accompanying the implementation of language skills necessary for (tele)collaboration in a multilingual environment. Our project is in line with the work on multilingualism because it aims to encourage learners "to respect and be open to the diversity of languages and cultures in a multilingual and multicultural society" ("au respect et à l'ouverture face à la diversité des langues et des cultures dans une société multilingue et multiculturelle") (Beacco et al., 2016, p. 15). Indeed, while having a common language of communication, the use of other languages in the learners' language repertoire during teamwork not only allows constructive (tele)collaboration and the respect of a certain equity between learners, but also encourages recognition of shared languages. This is another training issue which is to mobilise the learners' entire language repertoire.

2.4.2. The richness of multilingual approaches

21Our research is based on a multilingual perspective of language teaching and, to this end, we draw on research that studies the negotiated use of several languages during interactions between groups of multilingual learners and the analysis of tasks that encourage multilingual exchanges (Degache & Mangenot, 2007, p. 13; Araùjo e Sá, et al., 2007). Our research is also inspired by work on multilingual practices such as language awareness, intercomprehension between parent languages and intercultural approaches, which are often associated with digital technology. These approaches to language teaching use languages in a complementary way, implementing teaching-learning activities involving several language and cultural varieties. They also value learners' entire language repertoire and see it as a useful, evolving resource (Venaille & Carrasco Perea, 2020; Berthoud, 2016).

22In order to identify ways of preparing students for the multitude of other languages/cultures that coexist with the main language in the classroom (Treguer-Felten, 2019), translanguaging can also be a relevant resource. Indeed, it is a "mobilisation and combination of multiple linguistic repertoires in order to overcome linguistic asymmetries in order to reach a common ground of intercomprehension" ("mobilisation et combinaison de répertoires linguistiques multiples afin de surmonter les asymétries linguistiques en vue d'atteindre un terrain commun d'intercompréhension") (Lecomte et al., 2019, p. 216).

23Getting ready for shared language-cultures in a workgroup could involve so-called "multilingual franca" (Janssens & Steayaert, 2014), where language is seen as "a social activity of co-construction of reality" ("une activité sociale de co-construction de la réalité") that mobilises multiple language resources (Lecomte et al., 2019, p. 216).

2.4.3. Main focuses for organising knowledge, skills, attitudes and strategies for collaborating in a multilingual environment

24The Skills reference data of multilingual communication in intercomprehension (REFIC, De Carlo & Anquetil, 2019) was used to establish a list of the main knowledge, skills, attitudes and strategies required to collaborate in an incompletely mastered target language (French in our case) and to make use of the other languages mastered by the collaborators. The Reference Framework for Pluralistic Approaches to Languages and Cultures (CARAP, Candelier et al., 2012), the Dylan (Berthoud, 2010), MAGICC (2011) or Evlang (Candelier, 2003) projects have added to this list.

25We have organised this list of skills, attitudes, strategies and knowledge that are essential for collaborating in a multilingual environment according to five main areas of focus: an evaluative and reflexive focus on the languages shared in a group, in which students are systematically inquiring about the languages mastered by the different collaborators; an "active listening" focus, such as knowing how to go beyond the different accents in comprehension; a focus on "modulation of one's expression" (REFIC, De Carlo & Anquetil, 2019) which will require prior knowledge of the collaborators' linguistic profiles in order to adapt one's speech to others and be understood without too much effort; an area of focus on "mediation" which invites learners to anticipate problems or solve them, etc. Finally, there is an "alterity" focus in which learners are encouraged to decentre themselves with regard to their ideas and beliefs. The following is a non-exhaustive list of the knowledge, skills, strategies and attitudes, divided into the five areas, which we believe are important for learners to develop.

26Evaluative and reflexive focus: to be aware of the various languages mastered or partially mastered in the group, to evaluate the mastery of the different languages shared; to take into account the linguistic specificities of the languages of the group, to know how to compare linguistic and cultural phenomena and to perceive their proximity or distance (CARAP, Candelier et al., 2012), comparing concepts from one language to another and checking whether their meaning is similar or not in the collaborators' different languages; "comparing communicative cultures" ("comparer les cultures communicatives") between different collaborators (CARAP, Candelier et al., 2012, p. 87).

27"Active listening" focus: coping with different accents, awkward phrasing, persevering with active listening despite a very strong accent, using strategies such as asking a group member to write down an incomprehensible word or phrase or to formulate what they are saying in another language.

28"Modulation of expression" focus: choosing formulations to make one's speech accessible to other collaborators by adapting lexical complexity, choosing words that are likely to be transparent (words of scholarly origin, for example), resorting to other languages mastered by the group to be understood, supplementing with examples of translanguaging practices, including lexical redundancies to facilitate comprehension, organising the message in a clear and explicit manner, adapting the informational density, using non-verbal elements to facilitate access to meaning (REFIC, De Carlo & Anquetil, 2019).

29"Mediation" focus: managing comprehension problems in the interaction, anticipating them by explaining what has been understood, clarifying or illustrating to expand on what a collaborator has said; unblocking communication breakdowns by repeating audibly, reformulating what the other person means to ensure common understanding (REFIC, De Carlo & Anquetil, 2019), using other languages mastered by the group, possibly using an automatic translator to suggest a translation of what has not been understood, giving examples in several languages; communicating comprehension difficulties and asking for help from colleagues (REFIC, De Carlo & Anquetil, 2019).

30"Alterity" focus: to decenter oneself, "to develop creativity by going beyond one's own cultural model" (Saurel et al., 2019, p. 224), to be open-minded in order to succeed at developing a collective thought, to be aware of the singularity of one's thought and to defend it.

31With our multilingual perspective explained, we now need to identify the knowledge and skills needed to telecollaborate in such environments mediated and supported by digital artefacts.

2.5. Digital literacy and telecollaboration

32In order to fully integrate the social dimension of collaboration into digital practice, we will consider the notion of "digital literacy". This term includes the most commonly accepted technological dimension, but also the literacy of interaction, which is central to our purpose, as well as that of the construction of meaning.

2.5.1. Digital literacy

33Ollivier and e-lang (2018, p. 10), who position their work within an ethical and critical framework of digital literacy, consider digital literacy "as the result of the interconnection of three main components" ("comme le fruit de l'interconnexion de trois grandes composantes"), which are "technological literacy, meaning-making literacy, interaction literacy" ("la littératie technologique, la littératie de la construction du sens, la littératie de l'interaction"). Technological literacy means "the ability to identify digital tools and resources (device, software, application...) and to know how to use them" ("la capacité à identifier des outils et des ressources numériques (appareil, logiciel, application...) et à savoir les utiliser") (Ollivier et al., 2018, p. 11). Our target audience of international engineers, doctoral students and master's students, although accustomed to this type of technological literacy, gains from becoming familiar with tools to which they are not exposed in their home country as well as with interfaces in a language other than their language 1 (L1). On the other hand, digital literacy in relation to collaborative learning and multilingual environments is specific and may require the identification of new tools for new uses.

34Meaning-making literacy, on the other hand, includes informational literacy. This literacy means being able to recognise and identify one's information needs, to find, evaluate and organise information, and even to create, use and communicate it to address issues or problems; it is part of the basic human right to learn throughout life (UNESCO, 2001). Meaning-making literacy includes media literacy, ie "the knowledge that one can have of the ways in which information is produced and disseminated" ("la connaissance que l'on peut avoir des modes de production et de diffusion de l'information") (Ollivier et al., 2018, p. 11) as well as visual literacy, which consists of knowing how to create meaning from visual elements (Ollivier et al., p. 11). Multilingual information literacy will be central to our discussion.

35Interaction literacy, similarly, is essential for the development of telecollaboration skills in a multilingual environment. Ollivier et al. (2018, p. 12) bring together under this term the communicative and collaborative dimensions, both of which involve interactions between several people.

It is about being able to interact and act together in an effective and appropriate way, using the technologies available. This requires, in particular, an awareness of the specificities of digitally mediated communication.

Il s'agit d'être capable d'interagir et d'agir ensemble de façon efficace et appropriée, en utilisant les technologies à disposition. Cela demande notamment de prendre conscience des spécificités de la communication médiatisée par le numérique (Ollivier et al., p. 12).

36More specifically, in the European Reference Framework for Digital Competence (Digcomp, Carretero et al., 2017), five competencies related to literacy are specified.

        • "Communicating and collaborating": interacting with technologies (for our multilingual context, this would mean knowing how to use a variety of tools that support multilingual exchanges such as chat, split screen, automatic translator, online dictionary, visual supports).

  • "Sharing content", and in our context, evaluating the most appropriate tools for sharing content in several languages;

  • "Engaging as a citizen with technology": not only varying the tools for participation in society, but also giving a place to other languages mastered by the group members and adapting the tools for this purpose;

  • "Telecollaboration": choosing the appropriate tools for co-constructing and co-creating;

  • "Overcoming technical problems": for our telecollaboration context, knowing how to identify the problem, test and find solutions together, help a collaborator if needed, etc.

2.5.2. Videoconferencing

37Among the digital resources central to telecollaboration is videoconferencing. Videoconferencing has become widely used in higher education and in many professional situations for several reasons. The widespread availability of broadband has increased the quality and reliability of videoconferencing, enabling synchronous exchanges with eye contact and face-to-face dialogue. The forced remoteness of teaching and many professional situations during the Covid-19 pandemic has also increased the competence of students, teachers and professionals. This is the case, for example, of the doctoral students at the education and training sciences research laboratory of the Cnam (Conservatoire national des arts et métiers), analysed in Chachkine et al. (2021). Videoconferencing is therefore considered, for this research, as a central digital resource for multilingual telecollaboration.

38By "videoconferencing" we mean any software that can be implemented on a computer device and that allows communication based on the sound and image of the participants (Cappellini, 2020). Videoconferencing is an opportunity for telecollaboration in a multilingual environment. Indeed, multichannel communication, aided by the use of support tools, can enrich multilingual communication: the ability to use oral and written communication simultaneously, to mix synchronous and asynchronous exchanges (oral in the videoconference and asynchronous written, for example) or to favour the alternation of languages depending on the tools, helps participants to avoid interrupting oral communication by making remarks through another channel such as chat. On the other hand, the closeness of faces on the screens, thanks to the perception of facial expressions, and oral exchanges that are relatively close to face-to-face situations are likely to create a form of remote presence. The perception of one's own image is another feature of videoconferencing and can be seen as an advantage. Being able to see oneself makes it possible to be aware of the image one is projecting, and thus to regulate it, by checking its framing, the adequacy of one's expressiveness and the background, for example.

39These advantages of communication via videoconferencing require that the participants take into account the specific characteristics of this type of communication and take a few precautions. A typical mistake would be to think that videoconferencing allows communication similar to face-to-face communication (Kern, 2014). However, in videoconferencing communication, attention to framing is crucial in order to make appropriate use of multimodal semiotic resources (gestures, head movements, gaze, facial expressions, prosody, flow, screen proxemics) for the construction of meaning in the interaction (Cohen, 2017; Cappellini, 2020). This is because, in order for gestures, facial expressions, glances, etc. to be visible, interlocutors must be aware of the gestures they wish to make visible, adjusting the camera appropriately so as to find an optimal posture and framing, and avoiding going out of the field, being inaudible, etc.

40Another point of vigilance concerns the multiple focus points of users' attention in videoconferences (Codreanu & Celik, 2012). Multichannel systems certainly enrich communication, but this implies a division of attention over several activities, which can be unproductive. This lack of attention can be coupled with the discomfort of video-conferencing because of the lack of eye contact. It is, in fact, impossible to look at the camera and one's interlocutors simultaneously. While a "camera glance" is a conceivable way (Guichon & Tellier, 2017, p. 35) to show interest in others and to demonstrate one's presence, this glance directed towards the camera is difficult to sustain over time. It can only be fleeting. It is therefore important to know how to employ presence signals other than eye contact (emoticons in chat rooms, approving signals to indicate active listening, etc.).

3. Building a framework of skills for telecollaboration in a multilingual environment

3.1. Sources consulted and approach for building a competence framework for telecollaboration in a multilingual environment

41We designed the framework in three main steps.
First, we drew on the Henri and Lundgren-Cayrol's (2003) model of collaboration, which we complemented with the "collaborate" competency of the Doc Pro (n.d.), Vitae (2011) and REFIC (De Carlo & Anquetil, 2019) frameworks, for example, when these were compatible with our conception of training. As a reminder, for the language classroom, we consider multilingual collaborative learning environments to provide spaces that satisfy the basic needs (Deci & Ryan, 2002) of social relations, sense of competence, need for autonomy, and in which equality of status, sharing of knowledge and supportive behaviours prevail. We then proceeded to rephrase these models from the point of view of a group and propose a coherent set.

42Secondly, we integrated the list of knowledge, skills, strategies and attitudes specific to telecollaboration in a multilingual environment and organised it according to the five areas of focus mentioned in 2.4.3: an evaluative and reflective focus on the languages shared in a group, an "active listening" focus, a "modulation of one's expression" focus, a "mediation" focus and finally an "otherness" focus.

43Finally, we added the components of digital literacy for telecollaboration in multilingual environments mentioned in 2.5.1, such as knowing how to identify tools that support multilingual exchanges and knowing how to use them appropriately, or how to use multilingual informational literacy. We also introduced the knowledge of the strengths and limitations of videoconferencing for interacting and constructing meaning in interaction.

44Here are the references consulted.

Table 1–References consulted.



Skills reference tool for plurilingual communication in intercomprehension


Created in 2019 for the European MIRIADI programme by Maddalena de Carlo and Mathilde Anquetil, the Skills reference tool for plurilingual communication in intercomprehension provides a basis for assessing the competences acquired in the context of a plurilingual approach to language learning such as intercomprehension

The skills reference descriptors cover knowledge, skills, as well as the most important and the most effective attitudes and strategies that the intercomprehension teacher or trainer can develop with the trainee, and which the teacher or trainer must acquire beforehand.

The Framework of Reference for Pluralistic Approaches to Languages and Cultures (CARAP)

In The Framework of Reference for Pluralistic Approaches to Languages and Cultures ("CARAP in French"), a reference framework entitled "Competencies and Resources" is proposed for language and non-language educators to adopt pluralistic approaches. The framework is divided into "competencies and micro-competencies" and "resources" which are knowledge, skills and know-how (CARAP, 2010, p. 25) 

Common Framework of Reference for Languages - Complementary volume, new descriptors

This complementary volume to the CFRL clarifies aspects and amplifies descriptors, such as "mediation" or "using a plurilingual repertoire".


The Digital Competence Framework 

This reference framework for digital competencies, which was initiated by the European Commission in 2010, is intended to support European countries in the design of courses to promote the development of digital skills (DIGCOMP 2.1, EC, 2017).


Founded by the Association Bernard Grégory, the Conférence des Présidents d'Université and the MEDEF, DOCPRO offers a representation of the skills that PhD students develop at each stage of their career.

Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF) 

Created by a not-for-profit programme within the Careers Research and Advisory Centre (CRAC), the Researcher Development Framework was developed from data collected from researchers. The descriptors are structured into four domains (knowledge and intellectual skills; personal effectiveness; governance and organisation of research; engagement, influence and impact) and twelve sub-domains (knowledge, skills and professional standards needed for research...).

Guidelines for the teaching-research profession (French Ministry of Higher Education, research and innovation)

This document was drawn up by a group of institutional stakeholders (Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, Permanent Commission of the National Council of Universities, etc.) as well as non-profit and professional networks dedicated to teaching.

This reference framework is composed of two parts, a definition of the activities of lecturers and a reference framework of competencies (competencies common to all activities; competencies at the intersection of research and training activities; competencies specific to training; competencies specific to research).

References and Guidelines (R&O) of the Commission des titres d'ingénieur (CTI) 

The "References and Orientations" (R&O) are designed by the Commission des titres d'ingénieur (CTI). Modified every three years, these documents bring together the references and the major criteria for accreditation of the engineering qualification.

CDIO (Conceive - Design - Implement - Operate)

The Conceive - Design - Implement - Operate (CDIO) syllabus, the result of an international collaboration between several hundred universities and engineering schools, provides a framework for training. It consists of four parts, including interpersonal competence (teamwork and communication).

3.2. Presentation of the skills framework for telecollaboration in a multilingual environment

45The reference framework we propose is organised around three areas of focus:

  • fostering Group Cohesion: Building a Multilingual Identity and Shared Goals;

  • communicating to build results collectively;

  • coordinating and building results collectively.

46This reference tool is intended as a flexible framework for developing design training courses. It is adaptable and can be modified to suit different needs. Importantly, it is not prescriptive or normative (Postiaux, 2013). The use of verbs in the infinitive form denotes the actions of the group or some of its members.

Table 2 ─ Skills framework for telecollaboration in a plurilingual environment.

  1. Fostering Group Cohesion: Building a Multilingual Identity and Shared Goals

1. 1. Belonging to the group

Take note of the diverse languages that the members of the group are fully or partially proficient in.

Acknowledge that each person contributes to the accomplishment of the shared objective, notwithstanding the varying degrees of proficiency in the common language.

Identify and reconcile the expectations of members in a kindly manner.

Demonstrate efforts in engaging with the group's work.

Proficiently utilise a multitude of tools to facilitate multilingual exchanges within the group, such as chat, split screen, automatic translators, online dictionaries, iconographic aids and so on.

1.2. Building Group Cohesion

Foster mentoring and supportive interpersonal relationships aimed at facilitating comprehension and expression of ideas in the foreign language common to the group, while also striving to recognise and cultivate the members' talents.

Foster constructive and creative exchanges and choose appropriate tools for these exchanges.

Avoid monopolizing the discussion, particularly in situations where one member possesses an exceptional command of the common language.

Show patience and respect towards members who encounter difficulty expressing their ideas owing to their limited proficiency in the common language.

Go beyond one's own frame of reference and remain receptive to alternative perspectives.

Employ multimodal semiotic resources (such as gestures, head movements, and gaze) judiciously in order to foster cohesion.

Proactively anticipate conflicts by addressing comprehension issues that may arise during interactions, through means such as clarifying or illustrating a group member's remarks, resolving communication breakdowns, reiterating or paraphrasing in other languages known to the group to ensure mutual understanding, leveraging automatic translators, providing examples in multiple languages, and utilising new communication channels as appropriate.

1.3. Fostering group productivity

Assess the progress of the group's work, (re)clarify shared objectives, highlight the singularity of achievements that result from the group's multilingual and multicultural composition.

Be aware of developing multilingual skills while constructing a common goal and appreciating the added value of diverse ideas, reasoning, and methods of expression for the project's progress.

Improve the ability to recognise and identify information needs, as well as to find and evaluate information, and organise it effectively for problem-solving.

Also ensure efficient use of time.

2. Communicating to build results collectively

2.1. Communicate ideas

Express ideas during brainstorming sessions and discussions, providing information, developing ideas presented by others, questioning and self-reflecting, offering constructive criticism, reconciling differing points of view, generating unifying thoughts, taking a stand for certain ideas and being aware of the nuances of communication mediated by digital technology while employing these skills.

Modulate one's expression in order to be understood: select an appropriate framing that enhances audibility and utilise non-verbal elements to aid in meaning comprehension, choose phrasing to make one's speech accessible by employing transparent words, adapt lexical complexity, use other languages known by the group or resources (dictionaries, translators), adjust the density of information to optimise understanding.

Establish connections between the ideas expressed by others. To this end, employ strategies for analysing statements and extracting essential points, reformulate them in the common language or in another language shared by group members. Compare different points of view and concepts from one language to another.

Be aware that one's way of thinking may be unique and be prepared to defend it.

Describe and report on one's actions.

2.2. Understanding the ideas of others


Adopt and encourage active listening, making appropriate use of multimodal semiotic resources.

When faced with challenges such as different accents or awkward phrasing, develop strategies such as persevering with active listening despite a strong accent, requesting a group member to write down incomprehensible words or phrases, requesting that they reformulate their statement in another language or using a voice synthesiser to facilitate communication.

Make an effort to identify and understand other members' ways of thinking, even if individuals have differing expertise, professions, languages and cultures.

Ensure a common understanding among all members, utilising various strategies such as rephrasing statements to ensure comprehension, employing languages that the group is proficient in, utilising multiple channels of communication, breaking down complex information, simplifying dense information by emphasising key points.

  1. Coordinating and building results collectively

3.1. Coordinating

Coordinate group activities: divide facilitation responsibilities among team members, engage in discussions regarding the languages mastered by each individual to move from a monolingual to a plurilingual perspective, and select main digital resources (communication tools and telecollaboration tools that support multilingualism).

Coordinate tasks, establishing clear objectives and agreeing upon the project to be carried out, organizing deadlines, distributing tasks and creating an operational mode that accommodates the contributions of all team members, regardless of their level of fluency in the group's primary language of communication.

If necessary, review the objectives and tasks of each member throughout the project.

Know how to solve technical problems together.

3.2. Building results collectively

After establishing common working methods and dividing tasks into individual sub-tasks or sub-groups, regularly report on the progress made by agreeing upon the appropriate tools for sharing updates and collaborating effectively.

Create and maintain a creative mindset: this involves organizing ideas, making decisions, formulating them in different languages if necessary, and through different channels.

Negotiate decisions by making positive use of diversity and difference to enrich outcomes and by drawing on people from related disciplines.

Validate collective work by ensuring that collaborators have a shared understanding across different languages.

4. Proposed task to raise awareness of and adopt these skills

4.1. Overview of the telecollaboration task

47This task is intended for engineering, master's, or doctoral students who are taking a language course at the B1+/B2/C1 level (in our case, French as a Foreign Language, but it can be adapted to other languages). These distance-learning language courses bring together students of different nationalities, which is necessary for the task to be transferable to other contexts. Additionally, the task requires an intermediate-advanced level in the target foreign language.

48The aim of this task is to reduce the temperature in the institution's premises by two degrees during the hot season from May to July, when face-to-face meetings take place. To accomplish this, students are asked to collaboratively develop a solution by sharing their experiences and perspectives from diverse geographical, social, and academic backgrounds.

49The aim of this task is to prepare students linguistically for telecollaboration in a common foreign language while taking into account the richness and diversity of the cultures and languages involved. The task encourages students to develop skills for "interlingual communication" (Frepa, Candelier et al., 2012, p. 56) and to "mobilise plurilingual skills" (Frepa, Candelier et al., 2012, p. 55). To facilitate the task, students are grouped into small teams of four, collaborating remotely to solve the problem. Digital resources and language bridges are provided (Escudé, 2016) to support their collaboration. Language bridges include the use of pivotal languages based on linguistic proximity, reformulations or translations of certain parts of the exchanges, and alternation of languages for comprehension and production. This allows for additional nuances that would be difficult to convey in the common target language. Additionally, teams may combine oral communication with written communication through chat in one or more languages.

4.2. Learning scenario and tutoring

50In this section, we present the learning scenario and tutoring. Activity descriptors are taken from Chachkine (2011). The learning scenario includes a title, a general description, time indications, learning and digital resources to be provided, a section titled "how to do it" which would include instructions (general, telecollaboration, assessment) for a mediated scenario on an online learning platform. The tutoring scenario concludes each task that makes up the overall task.

4.2.1. Task 1: carry out a literature review to identify keywords


Task 1: carry out a literature review to identify keywords

General description

Conduct a literature review on actions taken in one's country and first language to lower the temperature of buildings that do not have air conditioning or electric ventilation systems. Identify and record keywords in the student's first language that are relevant to the topic.


45 minutes

Learning resources to be provided

An example in France (​normandie/​seine-maritime/​rouen/​vague-de-chaleur-quelles-solutions-pour-faire-baisser-la-temperature-en-ville-2544344.html?_format=html; keywords: cool areas; vegetate (greening); remove asphalt (asphalt); sustainable paving; ultra-draining material.

Form to be filled out (containing key concepts in each student's first language and their French equivalents).

Self-assessment form.

Multilingual dictionary.

Digital resources

Videoconference software.

A document to be shared for synchronous writing, in order to fill out the form for each country.

How to do it

Set up small groups of four students, each with a different first language, and place them in videoconference areas. If necessary, the group of four students reschedules the meeting.

Each student investigates an example of an initiative carried out in their country. Once the student has identified an inspiring project, they should record five keywords that are relevant to the topic and suggest the French equivalent.

Note down the L1 words and their French equivalent in the shared sheet.

Present them to the three other members of the group (respect the idea of contextualising the words).

Telecollaboration guidelines

In theory, the video conferencing software for small group work is provided by the institution.

Once the five words have been identified, show them in context to the other three members of the subgroup by sharing your screen, and suggest a French equivalent for each word. Take advantage of this activity to share information about one's L1 and any other languages one may know.

Assessment guidelines

Self-evaluation sheet to be completed in a group

Did each member present five keywords (or group of keywords) in their native language? And did they provide one equivalent in French for each keyword or group of keywords?

Have I identified each member's L1? Is it a language similar to my own?

To facilitate the exchanges, did I make sure to:

  • find the right distance from the microphone so that other members can hear me well?

  • make my speech accessible to everyone by giving examples, rephrasing, simplifying my words, using transparent language, and utilising chat and screen sharing?

Tutoring guidelines

Create spaces for group work

Give the learners access to the keyword sheet to be filled in and the intended French translations. It may be useful to show the group where the sheet is located in the workspace.

The emphasis on information gathering in students' native languages aims to raise awareness of their countries of origin, as well as any initiatives that may be taking place there. This encourages students to adopt the role of a curious observer of the socio-cultural elements that make up their homeland.

Ensure that students do not encounter any obstacles that could impede their understanding of the instructions.

To limit the number of words to five, explain that this can include groups of keywords (eg "urban cooling island"), and that a word or group of words can include the parent words (eg "urban reforestation" includes "forest").

Ensure that students have completed the list with a French translation within the given time frame.

4.2.2. Task 2: creating a multilingual glossary of keywords.


Task 2: creating a multilingual glossary of keywords

General description

With the keywords of each member of the small groups, create a multilingual thematic glossary.


60 minutes

Learning resources to be provided

An example of a multilingual glossary (plurilingual lexicon in a wide range of languages, see examples on the Eole website, 2005).

Digital resources 

Different automatic translators: DeepL, Google translate, Reverso, and Linguee.

French-French and multilingual online dictionary:​

French synonyms dictionary:​des/​

How to do it

In turn, the members will present the keywords or groups of keywords they have identified, explain them in French, and suggest a French translation of these word groups. To do this work, students can rely on two or three automatic translators such as DeepL, Google Translate, Reverso, or Linguee. They should compare the translations proposed by these tools, ensuring that they enter paragraphs of text and not just isolated words or groups of words (Rus Rucart, 2022).

For each presentation of new words, members question whether there is an equivalent word in their L1. They can also discuss the proximity or distance between different equivalents in their L1 and French.

After the list of words and their translations into the different L1s of the students have been presented, the students will enter the keyword (or group of keywords) in French into an Excel file or other software proposed by the students. They will provide an explanatory sentence in French and enter the equivalents in the L1s of all four group members.

Discuss the proximity or distance between different translations, discuss possible differences in definitions in the students' L1s.

Telecollaboration guidelines

Ensure that each member understands the selected and translated keywords.

In case of doubt, do not hesitate to rephrase what the other person says to ensure that it is well understood and to facilitate understanding by others.

Do not hesitate to ask for a reformulation, simplification, or language change.

Do not hesitate to use other languages mastered by the group and to vary communication channels (oral and written) to anticipate communication problems.

Assessment guidelines

Self-assessment sheet to be completed in small groups

Are the students' keywords similar to each other? Or are they more similar to French keywords?

What are the best practices for utilising an automatic translator effectively?

Does my French accent hinder the understanding of other group members? What strategies are helpful to be better understood?

Tutoring guidelines

Help students become aware of the different languages used to create the glossary. The tutor can use visual aids in the students' L1 to help them understand the various languages spoken in the group. The teacher can also ask about the students' proficiency level in the different L1s of the group, as well as their familiarity with the languages spoken by other students in the group. This is also an opportunity to discuss the linguistic similarities and differences between the languages used in the group, as well as differences in spelling and grammar.

If the word "Débitumisation" is chosen, help to find the root "Bitume," reflect on the French prefix "Dé" as in "Défaire," compare it in different languages, observe the suffix "ation" (which denotes an action), and compare it in the different languages present.

If the tutor deems it relevant, he or she can demonstrate the use of a web corpus exploration system in multiple languages (such as Linguee) for specific requests. For a more detailed presentation of web corpus exploration tools and reflective language activities, please refer to Schaeffer-Lacroix (2019).

Ensure a good sequencing of time: 45 minutes for the glossary; 15 minutes for self-evaluation.

If necessary, explain how to use and operate the tools, helping learners to overcome technical problems.

Foster a positive and inclusive atmosphere, where all participants are treated with equal respect and encouraged to contribute their knowledge.

If necessary, summarise, clarify what is said during the work, ask questions.

4.2.3. Task 3: Present an inspiring project from one's home country in French


Task 3: Present an Inspiring Project from one's country in French

General description

Each member in turn presents an inspiring project from their country to the whole group, orally, in French. This presentation is accompanied by a PowerPoint (PPT) consisting of two or three slides. The project title and key words must appear in French and at least one other language of their choice.


Total duration: 1 hour or 1 hour and 30 minutes depending on the size of the group, with 30 minutes allotted for individual preparation and three minutes for each student's presentation in the large group, followed by two minutes for questions or a brief summary in a common language of the group.

Learning resources to be provided 

A shared folder where each student submits their written material.

Digital resources 

Speech synthesis software to practice presenting your project in French using TTSreader (​fr/​ for example).

How to do it

For 30 minutes, each student individually prepares their presentation, selecting between five and ten sentences, writing material on a PPT, illustrating it with a picture, practising orally, and using text-to-speech software if needed, checking also the framing of the camera, background, and sound quality.

Each student presents for three minutes, followed by one or two questions.

The written material is then uploaded to a shared file on the platform.

Telecollaboration guidelines

After the presentations, encourage double thanks in chat or with emoticons available.

After each presentation, give very short summaries in a key language of the group, ie a language other than the target language of the presentation.

In the students' comments and questions, be sure to make links with previous presentations.

Assessment guidelines

Co-evaluation of presentations by peers.

After each presentation, the participants fill out an evaluation grid for their peers. The feedback is intended to be benevolent and constructive and includes the following aspects:

the interest of the project presented, its uniqueness;

adaptation to the online communication environment, including public speaking in front of the camera, adjusting voice volume and tone, posture, gestures, flow, and background;

the readability and complementarity of the written material in relation to the spoken word, keywords are displayed in several languages, etc.

Tutoring guidelines 

Ensure that each student knows where to find the screen share and where to put the PPT in the shared folder before the presentations.

Before the presentations to the group, it is important to emphasise the importance of framing, adequate lighting, and sound quality.

Ask if the keywords were helpful in understanding the presentation and grasping the main points of the project presented.

Discuss the proximity or distance between different translations and spellings, as well as possible differences in definitions in the students' native languages.

Encourage mentoring and group cohesion.

Remind students that they are developing plurilingual awareness while solving problems.

4.2.4. Task 4: Propose a solution plan to lower the temperature of the facility


Task 4: Propose a solution plan to lower the temperature of the facility

General description

Small groups of students will select inspiring solutions and produce a summary solution sheet in French to be sent to the school management. The sheet will include a title, an introduction with the context and the issues at stake, as well as the proposed solutions and the envisaged results.


2 hours

Learning resources to be provided

The shared folder with all the solutions presented in PPT form.

Model solution sheet.

Digital resources

Software allowing synchronous writing (Word or Excel Online on Teams, etc.).

How to do it

In sub-groups of four:

(Re)read all the proposed solutions.

Collectively select three or four solutions.

Write the solution sheet.

Plan a two-sentence presentation in a pivotal language for the large group and post it in the chat room during Activity 5 (submitting the cards).

Telecollaboration guidelines

For the collective selection of solutions:

Allow each person to express their opinion and justify the chosen solutions.

In case of divergent solutions, explain the choices, provide examples, compare the solutions, establish connections between the ideas expressed by others, negotiate the choices by leveraging diversity and differences, and use another pivotal language of the group if needed. Additionally, provide a written summary in one or more other languages of the group to ensure a common understanding.

To promote optimal understanding between students, extract the essence of others' ideas, compensate for unequal mastery of the shared language and anticipate communication breakdowns by reformulating in another language shared by the group. If necessary, use digital resources such as automatic translators to ensure a common understanding.

Validate the group work by ensuring that understanding is consistent across the collaborators' different languages.

Express gratitude to the group members for their contribution to the group's work.

Assessment guidelines

Small group self-evaluation of multilingual telecollaboration.

Commitment to the group:

Were you successful in getting each member to contribute towards the goal?

Did every member feel useful to the project?

Mobilisation of the plurilingual repertoire.

Are the group members aware of using their plurilingual repertoire?

Do they recognise that the target language has elements of other cultural languages (accents, different formulations depending on their L1)?

Do you see a connection between valuing the languages spoken in the group and the group's cohesion?

Did you use different languages for telecollaboration? If so, what advantages does the use of other languages bring?

Identification and assessment of digital resources used for telecollaboration.

Which digital resources were used during the telecollaboration, and how useful were they?

Were these resources helpful in improving mutual understanding, coordination, negotiation, and assistance? If so, under what conditions?

Tutoring guidelines

To raise awareness among students that everyone can contribute to the common goal despite different levels of proficiency in the shared language:

  • Encourage students to look beyond their own frame of reference and be open to other perspectives.

The tutor's role should be to ensure that the allocated time is adhered to and that instructions are understood. If the tutor is proficient in the languages spoken in the group, they should use them to ensure that the instructions and self-assessment questions are clear. Digital resources such as dictionaries, translation tools, and corpus exploration can also be utilised by the tutor to verify students' comprehension.

4.2.5. Task 5: Present a generated list of solutions to the large group and select one for implementation


Task 5: Present a generated list of solutions to the large group and select one for implementation

General description

Each group will present its solution. The students will then choose one list of solutions to present to the school's leadership for implementation. If necessary, they may decide to create a new list of solutions that incorporates different ideas.


1.5 hours

Learning resources to be provided

The solution cards (3 or 4, depending on the number of students) from each small group of 4.

Digital resources

An online voting tool (such as Framadate or Evento by Renater, for example).

How to do it

A spokesperson from each group presents the group's sheet in French (for 3 minutes); another member of the same group posts a very brief presentation in a pivot language of the group in the chat, to ensure maximum understanding by the students and to routinise multilingual speaking strategies. The sheets are compared and discussed. Once the group agrees, the sheets are put to a vote and each member expresses their choice. If the group deems it important, the sheet that receives the most votes can be modified and improved by incorporating ideas from the other sheets.

Telecollaboration guidelines

Encourage the most reserved students to present. Following presentations, encourage double thanks in the chat room or with available emoticons. In students' remarks and questions, make sure to make links to previous presentations. Interact appropriately to create a climate of exchange. Give constructive and sympathetic criticism. Do not hesitate to ask for rewording or simplification of explanations and examples.

Assessment guidelines

Overall production:

Does each group present a solution card?

Is a synthetic presentation in another language proposed in the chat?

Does the group manage to select a solution card, justify the selection (originality of solutions, cost, feasibility?), and develop collective thought?

Quality of oral and written productions work:

For the oral presentation: ability to create an online presence, propose a lively oral presentation from a written document; quality of online posture (framing, lighting, gestures, eye contact, audible voice...), formulations appropriate for an online group (adaptation of information density, use of non-verbal components to facilitate access to meaning, providing examples).

For the card, following instructions, respecting the textual genre, richness and precision of vocabulary, mastery of spelling and grammatical control.

Quality of the debate: collegiality of exchanges (participation from the majority, good listening and respect of contributions during exchanges, etc.), well-argued choice.

Multilingual telecollaboration strategies present:

Strategies for switching from one language to another to explain, compare, etc.

Strategies for anticipating and managing comprehension problems.

Strategies for creating links between ideas, reworking ideas.

Strategies for creating cohesion in the group (eg thanking, showing affection, etc.).

Tutoring guidelines

Explain how this final activity will be assessed. Ensure that the time allowed for presentations and debates is respected. Ensure that a warm social climate is maintained, that knowledge is shared, that there is equality of status, and that there is solidarity. If necessary, summarize and clarify what is said during the selection of the final sheet, and ask questions. Ensure that the solutions proposed to school leadership are feasible given the institutional context (feasibility).

6. Conclusion

51Telecollaboration situations between people of different nationalities are frequent in professional environments. These exchanges offer the possibility of highlighting the value of multilingual communication practices. However, this is not the choice that is naturally made by participants in projects involving different European countries, for example. In these projects, only one lingua franca is chosen, almost exclusively English, and the collaborators do not think of adopting multilingual practices. We believe that it is important to take advantage of these telecollaboration situations in multilingual environments and, for this, to raise awareness in language classes, initial and continuing training, of (future) professionals working in international environments.

52The competency framework for telecollaboration in a multilingual environment that we have developed is based on a humanistic approach to education. This approach is consistent with the "principle of subjectivity" of multilingualism developed by Berthoud (2016, p. 172), which requires attention to others, management of complexity, and equity. The telecollaboration practices that we aim for, in the proposed task and related instructions, also seek to highlight the value of the cognitive asset of multilingualism, that is, to contrast, compare, integrate, alternate languages, and to carry out an enriched metalinguistic reflection by increasing opportunities for conceptualizing languages among themselves (Berthoud, 2016). The telecollaboration approach that we seek also aims to consider multilingual practices as assets for communication–for the broad range of possible expression allowed, for the maximization of understanding processes, for negotiating, more broadly, for telecollaborating. Digital resources are central to telecollaboration work. Distance communication tools, video conferencing software in particular, make it possible to bring together students of diverse nationalities who are located remotely. They also allow for the diversification of communication channels and the identified digital resources should make it possible to broaden the range of multilingual practices. The competency framework that we make available emphasises "multilingual speaking" (CARAP, 2012, p. 56) and encourages a change in posture, from monolingual practice to multilingual practice, supported by tools. This exercise of changing languages should allow for the recognition of the language of other collaborators, better cohesion of collaborating groups, the latter dimension being crucial for the well-being and productivity of the groups.

53We propose a task designed from this competency framework and built for students from two identified contexts (Cnam and École des Ponts ParisTech). The next step in this research is to experiment with this task in these two institutions. We will then seek to identify observable multilingual telecollaboration strategies mediated by digital artefacts and to compare them with the strategies used in face-to-face interactions in a multilingual group, such as those identified in the context of the Spanish-French interlanguage project (Di Tillio Lacruz & Salengros Iguenane, 2022). The experimentation will also allow us to verify the relevance of the task in terms of which competencies from the framework it mobilises. In the medium term, a longitudinal study would make it possible to see if the practice of multilingual telecollaboration is maintained in the professional environment, where the principle of progressiveness prevails (speed, cost savings, efficiency) (Berthoud, 2016). Although designed for master's, engineering, and doctoral students, transferability of the task to other university contexts and other target languages is possible. The task could also be adapted to equipped face-to-face situations.

54This framework is intended for language training designers who are incorporating digital technology into their practices, but it could also be shared with training managers in students' specialised fields. This multidisciplinary approach aims to use the skills from the framework for engineering, master's and doctoral projects with a strong international focus, outside of language classes. It would constitute an intermediate step towards a transfer to a real professional situation, which is the ultimate goal of this research project.

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1 The French version of this article uses the term "plurilinguisme" rather than "multilinguisme". In French, "plurilinguisme" highlights the individual and his or her dynamic and evolving language repertoire (Conseil de l'Europe, 2018, p. 28), whereas the term "multilinguisme" considers only "the coexistence of different languages at the social and individual level" ("la coexistence de différentes langues au niveau social et individuel") (Conseil de l'Europe, 2018, p. 28). The English translation does not allow this distinction to be made and we have chosen to keep "multinguism" for both meanings.

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Elsa Chachkine et Isabelle Salengros-Iguenane, « Skills needed for telecollaboration in a multilingual environment: framework and task »Alsic [En ligne], Textes à paraître dans le prochain volume, Traduction d'un texte déjà paru, mis en ligne le 27 août 2023, consulté le 02 octobre 2023. URL :

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Elsa Chachkine

Elsa Chachkine is a senior lecturer in education and training sciences. Her research focuses on training design in adult education. She designs training courses for research in the human sciences or for self-directed language learning. In the latter case, social interaction is a catalyst for learner autonomy. Facilitated by digital tools and the social web, this is reflected in the setting up of telecollaboration projects.
Affiliation: Conservatoire national des arts et métiers.
Address: laboratoire Formation et apprentissages professionnels (FoAP), 41 rue Gay-Lussac, 75005 Paris, France.

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Isabelle Salengros-Iguenane

Isabelle Salengros-Iguenane is a teacher-researcher at École des Ponts ParisTech. She is a specialist in French as a foreign language (FFL), and her research focuses on digital technology and its potential for educational design (interculturality, professionalisation of student engineers).
Affiliation: École des Ponts ParisTech, Erdli, France.
Address: École des Ponts ParisTech, département Langues-Cultures, 6 et 8 avenue Blaise Pascal, 77420 Champs-sur-Marne, France.

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