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LINGUIST List 22.2079

Sun May 15 2011

Diss: Applied Ling: Penilla: 'Learning a Foreign Language with a ...'

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        1.     Frédérique Penilla , Learning a Foreign Language with a Collaborative Web-Based Task : Processes and performances

Message 1: Learning a Foreign Language with a Collaborative Web-Based Task : Processes and performances
Date: 15-May-2011
From: Frédérique Penilla <fredpenillayahoo.fr>
Subject: Learning a Foreign Language with a Collaborative Web-Based Task : Processes and performances
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Institution: Edith Cowan University
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2010

Author: Frédérique Penilla

Dissertation Title: Learning a Foreign Language with a Collaborative Web-Based
Task: Processes and performances

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics

Subject Language(s): English (eng)
French (fra)

Dissertation Director(s):
Francois Mangenot
Francoise Raby
Rhonda Oliver

Dissertation Abstract:

Within language teaching and learning, tasks have been advocated for use as they
are thought to set up ideal conditions for language acquisition to occur. With
the emergence of the Internet in the last decade, and the deployment of
technology in schools, Web-based tasks, referred to as Computer-Assisted
Language Learning (CALL) are being used by an increasing number of teachers.
Teachers who employ Web-based tasks in their classrooms commonly set these up so
that learners complete them in a collaborative mode. This requires learners
engaging in a process of task negotiation and, at times, task redefinition,
which in turn requires more than just linguistic knowledge from the learners.

The purpose of the present research was to identify the impact of Web-based
tasks both on the learning process and the learners' performances. Three intact
classes from French high schools, consisting of learners of English as a foreign
language, completed a Web-based task. The product of the different stages of its
completion and the corresponding video recordings were the database for this
study. Attitude questionnaires and cultural awareness tests were also collected
and analyzed. In doing so, issues of attitudes and motivation as well as learner
competence and language proficiency were examined. These were documented in
different experimental settings, including in turn ICT and/or collaboration.

The results suggest tasks, whether Web-based or not, do not hinder language
production and, in fact, learners respond favourably to them, especially when
working collaboratively. Further, the study shows that collaboration has
measurable positive effects on the learners' attitudes, processes and
performances. These include: positive outcomes in relation to the learners'
persistence of effort; their involvement with the task; their understanding of
the task's implicit demands; their quality of writing; the products they
ultimately produce; and the processing higher-order skills. Yet the findings
also suggest that these benefits are somehow diminished when technology is used,
although this in turn is affected by the learners' familiarity with the tasks
and their levels of technological literacy. Even so, these results raise the
question of how Web-based tasks can be best implemented in language classrooms,
and suggest that further research is still required in this area.

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