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Learner Interaction in Synchronous CMC: A Sociocultural Perspective

Computer Assisted Language Learning Volume 22, Number 4, ISSN 0958-8221


This paper reports on a qualitative study that investigated learner interaction in a type of real time computer-mediated communication (CMC) where the communication is carried out within a user-created virtual world. The study, which involved undergraduate EFL learners based at two universities in Japan, examined from an interactionist perspective how the subjects managed their target language interaction during text chat involving four task types. Analysis of the transcripts revealed the presence of seven interaction management strategies proposed in sociocultural accounts of language development. Strategies identified in the data included requests for and provision of assistance. Analysis further showed the presence of continuers, self- and other-initiated correction. Although off-task discussion occurred, a striking feature of the data was the focus on task completion. The use of these strategies facilitated the creation and maintenance of a collaborative environment. Co-construction of the target language and a supportive atmosphere characterized the interaction. The data contained evidence that the subjects provided teacher-like feedback similar to that reported in non-CMC environments. In contrast to findings reported in previous research, these strategies appeared an effective means to facilitate the consistent production of coherent target language output focused on the tasks. (Contains 3 tables and 4 notes.)


Peterson, M. (2009). Learner Interaction in Synchronous CMC: A Sociocultural Perspective. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 22(4), 303-321. Retrieved October 22, 2019 from .

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