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development models; considerations of learner population differences
Background: Many CALL practitioners fail to accomplish needs analysis before software design and development. In a similar manner, they do not consult prior research studies or theoretical works to develop a framework to underpin the needs analysis. In an era of shrinking support budgets for IT, resources should be allocated in an intelligent manner, and development without a solid theoretical foundation holds little promise as a research tool or as a working software solution to a real instructional problem. Proceeding on mere hunches or basic intuition is costly and time-inefficient, both for the institution and for the individual, whose publication and research record may suffer according to the “wasted” time and effort.
Research question: What developmental models have been developed to guide the entire software creation process, which include needs analysis, defining the target population, testing and evaluation, assessment of results, etc.? What important questions have emerged from existing published studies? Which population of learners benefits the most from which type of CALL activities?
At this point, an extensive research of the literature in the
areas of cognitive science/computational linguistics, software
engineering, individual differences, conducting needs analysis, and a
summary of the results would be the first step of the research.
The second would be to articulate the important unanswered
questions suggested by a review of the literature.
The third would be to determine which studies address individual
differences (learning styles, cognitive styles, etc.) and how software
design is affected or influenced by these differences.
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