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Impact of CALL on language learning outcomes

Background:  The literature on the efficacy of CALL is still scarce. While some studies investigating different variables in different settings exist, we are still uncertain about how effective the use of technology in language learning is on the whole. In the context of having invested enormous amounts in terms of time and money this is rather unsatisfactory.

Research question:  Broadly: What is the impact of CALL on language learning outcomes?

More specifically the researcher would look at how the use of technology in various forms (CD-ROM, Web, Internet, Intranet, video- and/or computer-conferencing, etc.) affects learning outcomes as specifically defined for the study. These could include achievement measures as well as affective variables such as attitude or self-concept, and learning strategies and styles.

Suggested methodology/comments:  Two interesting (and complementary) ways of doing this would be:

1. to carry out a meta-analysis of all available relevant studies.

2. to set up a study which compares two equivalent groups learning the same materials, preferably with the same teacher but with or without the use of technology. Probably best carried out in a time series analysis design.

Contact: Uschi Felix   uschi.felix@arts.monash.edu.au

Reader Comments:

May 1, 2003: Xiaoyu   xiuwenwang@hotmail.com.  It is interesting. Are there some articles or papers available on this subject? If there are, could I obtain them and how? Thank you.

August 6, 2003: Stephen Nightingale nakidorioka@yahoo.co.uk  It seems to me that motivated students will spend much more time studying foreign languages, and studying through foreign languages, outside the classroom than in.  The greater effectiveness of CALL technology is in just these situations where the teacher is unavailable. How can we 'measure' students progress given the varying learning methods they claim to use outside the classroom? Studies in which the teacher is to use CALL as contact-time teaching aid would seem to miss out on the fact that language is largely learned outside the classroom. I suggest that studies in which the complementary roles of Teacher and CALL Technology in a total language learning program are more promising.

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