Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Fostering foreign language learning among less successful learners : exploring the role of self-directed multimedia learning environments
Authors: Kao, Pei-Lun
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Multimedia CD-ROM based materials are widely used for self-directed language learning purposes, but their use remains an under-researched topic in the field of computer-assisted language learning (CALL). Previous research on successful foreign language learners shows a significant correlation between success in learning a foreign language and individual traits. This study therefore examines the learning processes of less successful learners in self-directed multimedia language learning environments and the impact on individual traits. Viewing self-directed multi-media language learning as a social practice, rather than an instructional tool for learning a foreign language, this exploratory study attempts to understand how participants are involved with human-computer and human-human interaction and how the processes reconstruct individual traits in self-directed multimedia learning environments. Factors such as multi-media features, non-multi-media settings (e.g. peers, the instructor, and reflective activities) learners' beliefs and affective status are considered. The study recruited twelve university students in northern Taiwan, who were low achievers in foreign language (FL) learning and who displayed foreign language anxiety symptoms such as low self-confidence, high FL anxiety and lack of intrinsic motivation. The self-study course lasted for one academic year and the data collection period lasted for two years. The research approach is qualitative, combining intensive interviews, learning diaries, observation, debriefings and inductive data analysis. The focus of this study is an exploration of the participants' initial perceptions of multi-media environments and non-multi-media factors and their impact, an investigation of problems and challenges encountered and how the participants' coped with these, as well as an examination of the perceived impact of the multimedia learning experience on the learning of English and other subjects. The findings suggest that, in addition to the mixed but mostly positive impression and attitudes at the initial stages, there were major challenges associated with technical aspects, managing learning and coping with language learning tasks, as the participants strived to learn the target language using various methods and strategies they developed through the interaction with computers and other participants. The results reveal active, struggling, complex and rewarding processes that were constantly affected by a variety of factors: multimedia features, peers, the instructor, and learners' individual traits, especially motivation, self-confidence, strategy use and beliefs about learning. Specifically, the unique feature of this study is that it documents the learning processes at different stages and the multi-layered and changing nature of factors when learners were faced with different tasks. The results also demonstrate the essential and complex role of peers and the instructor in helping the learners reconstruct their individual traits and in providing scaffolding to reach the ZPD. The process appeared to have a profound impact on the participants in this study and has implications for language researchers or practitioners who intend to employ multimedia for individual use. They should find it useful to consider the problems and challenges learners encountered at the different stages in this study, and the importance of offering both a reflective and social language learning context to facilitate self-directed learning.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Kao, P-L 2010.pdfThesis14.5 MBAdobe PDFView/Open
dspacelicence.pdfLicence43.82 kBAdobe PDFView/Open

Items in DSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.