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effectiveness and efficiency; cost efficiency
Background: Despite much enthusiasm for CALL, we don’t really know whether it works effectively or whether it is better than. All we have is anecdotal information, usually reported by enthusiastic practitioners.
My own work in the area
showed that it is measurably and significantly effective. The study did
not show whether that effectiveness was because of CALL or because of my
enthusiasm for seeing it work.
This is annoying, because
effectiveness and efficiency would be so easy to measure in a
scientifically valid manner.
What is the impact, if any, on the use of CALL? More
Do students learn more of a foreign language with it —as
measured by an impartial study?
If it is effective, is it also more efficient than other
methods of learning? (I.e., if it works, is that just because students
spend more time on studying with CALL?)
Is CALL cost-effective? Even if students have access to
computers because of other needs, the software itself costs something.
Does using CALL enable instructors to handle more students? Does it give
them more (or less) free time?
The test(s) would have to be (a) on a specific software
package and (b) be repeatable with other software packages, to test not
CALL in general but a specific application of CALL
2) A big problem is getting a control group that does not use the software. Most students will not want to be in the control group that is to do poorly if the software proves effective. A solution might be to alternate between using the software one year and teach the classes without software the following year. The test would then have to run at least four years, for in any two years one can find natural discrepancies between students.
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