The Effect of Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) on United Arab Emirates English as a Foreign Language (EFL) School Students' Achievement and Attitude

Article excerpt

This study investigated the effect of Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) on elementary-prep school students' improvement in English as a foreign language (EFL). Eighty-three students in Al-Tamayoz Elementary-prep School, United Arab Emirates, were selected and divided into experimental and control groups (43 and 40 participants respectively). Results of Analysis of variance (ANOVA) showed a significant difference between CALL users and nonusers in favor of the experimental group (p < .05). In addition, a questionnaire was administered to CALL users to investigate their attitude, perceived utility, and intention to use CALL in the future. Students in the experimental group had a positive attitude toward CALL, perceived its utility for helping them learn EFL, and had a strong intention to use it in the future. Results of this study have provided evidence of the effect of CALL on learning English as a foreign language. Implications and recommendations for future research are presented.

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Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) is a technique for using technology in the field of language learning. Many studies worldwide have been conducted to investigate the effect of CALL on learning languages. Research results demonstrated a positive effect of CALL on students' learning and language competency.

In the context of UAE, studies involving CALL use are minimal. Almekhlafi (2004) investigated the effect of interactive multimedia (IMM) CD-ROM on the achievement of sixth grade students in relation to their learning styles. Results showed no significant difference between the two groups in the overall achievement. However, results showed that field-independent learners scored significantly higher than field-dependent (1). One of the recommendations stated in the study was that IMM should be investigated as an individualized learning tool. Therefore, this study focused on independent CALL use by elementary-prep school students in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It investigated the effect of CALL on students' achievement of English as a foreign language (EFL) and their attitude toward CALL use.

According to Wikipedia encyclopedia (2005), CALL is defined as an approach to language teaching and learning in which computer technology is used as an aid to the presentation, reinforcement, and assessment of material to be learned, usually including a substantial interactive element. In the light of this definition and for the purpose of this study, the researcher defines CALL as the use of multimedia CD-ROM combining text, pictures, audio, and video files for the purpose of teaching English as a foreign language.

REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE

Research on the effect of technology in general on teaching and learning has been conducted and continues to be investigated. One of the most prominent fields of research has been on interactive multimedia and its effect on leaning in different fields including language learning. Literature review for the purpose of this study focuses on two domains (a) multimedia and language learning and teaching, and (b) CALL.

The Use of Multimedia in Teacher Education

Many researchers have called for and emphasized the importance of the inclusion of technology in teacher education (Volk, 2000; Gentile, Lonberger, Parana, & West, 2000; Chester, 2001; Schnackenberg, Luik, Nisan, & Servant, 2001; & Berlin & White, 2002). Educational research investigating the utility of technology for learning and teaching has been continuous for several decades. One form of this integration is with the use of multimedia. The educational benefits of multimedia are well documented (Moore, 2000). Multimedia has been used with student teachers to improve their training and hence the quality of education (Almekhlafi, 2004). However, multimedia research was not always consistent in its results. Some studies yielded positive effect (Soboleva & Tronenko 2002; Moreno, Mayer, Spires, & Lester, 2001; Frear & Hirschbuhl, 1999; Vignola, Kenny, Andrews, & Schilz, 1999; James, 1999; Vrtacnik et al. …