Increasing Observational Learning using Google Sheets

Screenshot 2015-06-14 12.53.02Observational learning is an important part of the social learning experience and considered beneficial in increasing self-efficacy[cite num=”1″]. Increasing visibility in social learning is therefore an important fundamental. Google Sheets can be a useful tool for increasing observational learning as it allows for editing permissions to be set for individual cells in a spreadsheet.

When using Google Docs as a text editor, we can share the entire document in a variety of forms, but we cannot share individual sections of the document. However, using Google Sheets, we can change the editing permissions of individual cells.

So, for example, a student could fill in an individual table describing their own project plan while the entire spreadsheet could be made visible to the whole class. This provides an easy way to increase observational learning while avoiding accidental changes being made to other student’s sections.

The video below provides a brief tutorial in the setting of individual cell permissions.


1.[cite num=”1″ return=TRUE] Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological review, 84(2), 191-215. DOI 10.1037//0033-295x.84.2.191

Practical Teaching Ideas

Wouldn’t it be nice if language students could manage their own discussions?


Students managing themselves in a “Round Table” discussion is one example of a Collaborative Learning activity. Not only do they provide¬†benefit to the students in developing learner autonomy, but as a teacher they can provide a new way to lead students in critical discussion.

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How Cloud Computing should be Changing our Pedagogy


One of the most amazing technological advances in recent years, in my opinion, is cloud computing. However, as teachers we have only just begun to see its implications.

For those of us in homogeneous EFL environments, like Japan, getting students to communicate with each other spontaneously using the target language is one of the biggest challenges we face. And yet, we have opportunity to circumvent this obstacle using technology.

Imagine an ELF (English as a Lingua Franca) environment where students from different countries are being matched within a project group. Target language communication would be a must in this situation. Impossible?

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