Chapelle (1997) states the following as a vital question to be asked with respect to computer assisted language learning, “How good is the language experience in CALL for L2 learning?” (n.p.) In order to truly answer this question, investigators need to look to the learner and his concerns. In planning curriculum or designing a program, teachers and administrators normally look toward learner needs. However, these educators are also known to fully implement a new program, at times, without consideration of learner concerns. This appears to be especially true with the use of technology in the second language classroom. Research is needed to look at how the learner feels about technology. Former studies (Fuller, 1969; Hansen, 1996) have focused on the concerns of teachers or preservice teachers, but little research has been done focusing on the actual concerns of the learner.
The current study focused on the concerns of over two hundred young adult missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints who studied foreign languages at the LDS Missionary Training Center (MTC) for two months, with the aid of a Technology Assisted Language Learning (TALL) program. The subjects answered a background questionnaire upon beginning their study of a foreign language. At the end of their study program, the missionaries responded to a questionnaire where they could express their concerns about learning through technology. In addition, interviews with selected participants were conducted at the end of the missionaries' program.
The data were analyzed and categorized and focus was given to the types of concerns expressed and how the concerns differed for language group, learner rate, gender, and other background factors. Four major categories of concerns were identified: instructional, language, software, and none. Most of the concerns expressed by the learners dealt with instructional issues such as the amount of variety and learner control as well as how learners review material and receive feedback from the computer. Chi-square post hoc analyses showed the greatest differences in the number of concerns within the Portuguese learners. Concerns of fast versus slow learners appeared different as well. Tests showed that slower learners were significantly more concerned about the computer going at a pace that worked well for them, becoming bored easily, and not having enough time on certain computer activities. Profiles describing those and other differences were created based on the interviews conducted with several learners.
College and Department
Humanities; Linguistics and English Language
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Lindsay, Elaine T., "Learner Concerns at the Missionary Training Center in the Technology Assisted Language Learning Program" (2000). All Theses and Dissertations. 4880.
Brigham Young University, Missionary Training Center, Language, languages, Study, teaching, Audio-lingual method, Language teaching