Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Exploring the Relationship between Self-Regulated Vocabulary Learning and Web-Based Collaboration

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Exploring the Relationship between Self-Regulated Vocabulary Learning and Web-Based Collaboration

Article excerpt

Introduction

Accessing the Internet has become the most popular means by which college students communicate with one another on a daily basis, such as via email (Lee, Cheung, & Chen, 2005). Such Web 2.0 social tools have been considered to support the meaningful and collaborative learning (Gao, 2013; Tsai & Tsai, 2013) that underlies a social cognitive view of self-regulated learning (SRL). These tools reportedly motivate students to become independent learners who are able to direct and take control of their own learning and to evaluate their learning goals in order to acquire knowledge and skills (Pintrich, Smith, Garcia, & McKeachie, 1993; Zimmerman, 1990). There has been a substantial amount of research into SRL in an attempt to examine the importance of an individual's internal (e.g., interests and motivation) and external (e.g., interaction between interlocutors) characteristics in both face-to-face settings and technology-based environments (e.g., Cho & Jonassen, 2009; Cho & Kim, 2013; Schmidt, Boraie, & Kassabgy, 1996). It has been stated that those who are seeking language-use opportunities outside the classroom in technology-based settings "have been found to be more likely to take responsibilities for self-directing and self-managing their language learning and use technologies to regulate their language learning experience" (Lai, 2013, p. 103). Understanding the internal constructs in relation to contextual factors (e.g., learning mathematics) is essential, but there has been little research in this area (Hsin, Lin, & Yeh, 2005).

Building on previous work, this study aimed to provide a better understanding of whether the use of Web -based collaboration tool influences the vocabulary improvements of learners and whether the subscales of underlying variables are identifiable and interrelated. This study neither analyzed the negotiated interaction of the participants where they were using a Web-based tool (Google Docs in this case) nor assessed the effectiveness of the learning activities undertaken by the participants; instead, the aim was to measure the impact of collaboration on the vocabulary improvements of the participants in a Web-based environment. This study further aimed to identify the relationship between the constructs under investigation.

Literature review

Self-regulated second-language or vocabulary learning

SRL refers to individuals who "are metacognitively, motivationally, and behaviorally active participants in their own learning process" (Zimmerman, 1989, p. 329). This posits that SRL involves "not only cognitive but also motivational and affective factors, as well as social contextual factors" (Pintrich, 2004, p. 386). Broadening the scope of SRL in educational psychology to encompass second or foreign language (L2/FL) learning, learners can be said to actively employ strategic tactics to control their emotions (e.g., being anxious when conversing with native speakers of the L2) and to overcome unknown vocabulary or linguistic deficits in order to facilitate effective communication (Oxford, 2011).

Affective constructs, including motivation and attitudes toward L2 learning, have been empirically examined in relation to the use of L2 learning strategies (e.g., Schmidt, Boraie, & Kassabgy, 1996). It is believed that students with higher levels of motivation display higher quality learning strategies and outcomes. This is consistent with language strategy use being found to be inextricably intertwined with the motivation or self-perceived ability to determine the degree of outcomes. L2 learners with greater motivation are likely to employ more types of strategies, such as communication-oriented strategies, and to do this more frequently (Oxford & Nyikos, 1989). Instrumentally motivated students who were inclined to learn an L2 for practical reasons were found to prefer using strategies in connection with a first language and other languages more frequently, whereas integrative motivated students tended to learn the language just out of interest (Levine, Reves, & Leaver, 1996). …

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