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Relative effectiveness of various user interactions; computer vs. print activities

Background:  Though CALL has been with us for many years, it still seems that the kinds of activities, interactions and tasks we place in CALL are still thoroughly informed by print culture. This should not be surprising, since I would guess that all current academics have been trained in a traditional university setting. Yet I suspect that there are many ways of doing CALL that we have simply not thought of yet.

Research question:  What kinds of user interactions are most beneficial to CALL? Why are some interactions more beneficial than others? Which are more beneficial than print-based activities? Which are not as effective as print? And how would these differences be assessed in a theoretically satisfying fashion?

Suggested methodology/comments:  Addressing this topic will require that the extensive literature in psychology of learning also be brought into the discussion. Eventually various interactions, both old and new, will need to be prototyped and used by groups and control groups to attempt to assess which are more beneficial (however that is to be defined). This will probably involve both qualitative and quantitative assessment tools. Because it will be difficult to isolate just the interactions from other factors (the material itself, computer environment, student ability, familiarity with technology, etc.) it will probably take many attempts to arrive at a satisfying and rigorous means of assessment to try to tease out important factors for constructing maximally effective CALL interactions.

Contact: Lee Forester   forester@hope.edu

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