The effects of two delivery systems for listening comprehension exercises on the language performance and attitude of beginning Spanish students
Scott Despain, Indiana University, United States
Indiana University . Awarded
Educational institutions are incorporating computer technology into many areas of the education experience. This study addressed the integration of computer-delivered listening comprehension exercises into the university-level foreign language curriculum. The study attempted to answer four fundamental questions: (1) Will students who use computer-delivered listening comprehension exercises learn the language more effectively than students using a cassette tape and lab manual? (2) Will these students learn the language more efficiently? (3) Will they find the digital exercises more appealing? and (4) Will they have an improved attitude towards learning a foreign language?
Eighty subjects in five sections of a beginning Spanish language class were randomly assigned to a traditional instruction, or a computer-based instruction group. Every other aspect of the course remained constant for both groups except for the delivery system used to deliver the listening comprehension exercises. Listening comprehension pretests, practice tests and post-tests, and various attitude surveys were used to measure effects of the respective attributes of each delivery system on subject learning achievement and attitude throughout the study.
Results of the study suggested that: (1) students tend to learn more effectively/efficiently using the computer delivery system; (2) students who complete more exercises learn more (significant only for the computer group); (3) there is a time advantage to using the computer; (4) students who complete the exercises via computer have a more positive attitude toward the listening comprehension exercises, and yet a less positive attitude towards the delivery medium, when compared to their counterparts using the traditional format; (5) students in the computer group have a more positive attitude towards language learning in general.
Conclusion. There are few, if any disadvantages to students using computer-delivered listening comprehension exercises, and in fact there appear to be several advantages. However, the study is preliminary and the results should be treated with caution.
Despain, S. The effects of two delivery systems for listening comprehension exercises on the language performance and attitude of beginning Spanish students. Ph.D. thesis, Indiana University.
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