Authors: Megan Short, Zhao Huang, Greg Ashman
Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) is a widely used pedagogical tool for advancing language learning and teaching. The most dominant use of CALL is to aid language learning. The purpose of this research was to gain insights into the advantages and challenges of using CALL in English language teaching and learning from the perspective of Asian learners, and to explore the connection between students’ different languages, cultures and learning backgrounds and the way they utilize CALL when learning English. An on line anonymous questionnaire was used to obtain qualitative data from twenty participants who were recruited from level 7 and six students in the English Language Centre (ELC) of a regional Australian University. Open coding was the primary method of analysis. The findings indicated Asian students held a positive attitude toward CALL as it was thought to offer convenience and flexibility for their study. However, there were some challenges for Asian students who utilized CALL, especially to improve their writing and speaking skills. From the learners’ perspectives, the opportunities for communication and in time feedback and assistance were inadequate in their CALL experience. Learners found it hard to motivate themselves to engage with CALL. The Asian students’ cultural and educational backgrounds may have triggered these difficulties. The students may also have had insufficient computer skills, low independent learning skills and potentially have lack intrinsic motivation. All of these learning skills are critical in employing CALL. These findings suggested that for the Asian students who were in the process of transition from a traditional teacher centered approach to a student centered approach, more assistance and guidelines were needed for them to gradually develop their computer skills, independent learning skills, and selfmotivational skills to benefit from using CALL.
Keywords: computer assisted language learning; learning styles; international students