THE TANDEM APP ROLE IN THE INFORMAL LEARNING OF ITALIAN LANGUAGE AMONG RUSSIAN SPEAKING STUDENTS
The down of social media has changed the life of every man, woman and child with consequences that are difficult to predict a longer-term view, as the process is still ongoing. The combination between social media and portable devices like smartphones and tablets made the virtual platforms potentially penetrating every single moment of our life. Leisure and work are no more separated domains, as well as learning is no more confined to the classroom. This latter phenomenon is particularly relevant our study, being the informal learning a good strategy to acquire knowledge without moving from home or from the workplace. As a consequence, one of the most affected spheres of knowledge is language learning. The last years saw an unprecedented growth of applications which claim to teach languages simply and effectively. Accordingly, researchers started to draw attention to the phenomenon. Starting from previously stated consideration, we tried to acquire relevant information on the informal learning of among Russian speaking adult students, in a context where the not recent principle of tandem language exchange has been eventually applied to an application. Though the idea was rated positively by the entire pool of interviewed students, there are some noteworthy shades, not always positive, we should take into account while starting this kind of learning. We tried the app for several months, looking for Russian speaking people, not only from the Russian Federation, willing to share their impressions about the learning process in place in the Tandem virtual community. Using raw data on the time spent per day, personal commitment to learn Italian L2, previous formal approach and others, and combining them with the overall users' judgment we tried to answer the question: "Is virtual language tandem effective to learn languages?" Certainly this study was limited to a certain audience and to a particular L2, thus we are far from giving a definite answer to the phenomenon, however this article could be a good starting point to shed some lights on the matter of the virtual tandem learning of the Romance languages by a Slavic audience.