Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Podcasts: A Factor to Improve Iranian EFL Learner' Self-Regulation Ability and Use of Technology

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Podcasts: A Factor to Improve Iranian EFL Learner' Self-Regulation Ability and Use of Technology

Article excerpt

Introduction

Nowadays English language as an international language seems dominated every community. It is not only widespread in formal and academic organizations, but also in everyone's life around the world. People with different origins are trying to communicate and meet their needs through English language for a variety of purposes. One of the major needs of Iranian EFL learners to employ English in their life is improving their learning skills to learn in what way to learn, be innovative in their learning process and self-regulates the resources, duties, and tasks to set the goals of learning, and accelerate learning. Therefore, one of the foremost abilities to learn is to know how to develop, implement and create a flexible plan in order to obtain the desired outcome in learning the English language. For decades the academic associations were trying to enhance all skills, but still there are some intricacies to create an open learning context. Hence technology is one of the requirements of learners to be employed in today's life. There are various types of educational technology applications, gadgets, and software that could be useful to be used by the learners. Some of them seem more beneficial to support the learning process. Many researchers have investigated the application of technology by EFL learners not only synchronously in their classroom, but also asynchronously outside the class anywhere at any time.

McGarr (2009) noted that podcasting refers to the sharing audio or video files in digital layout. It can be downloaded manually from the internet or automatically distributed to subscribers. These files are accessible straight from the desktop or transmittable to a media device. The term podcasting came out from the application of Apple's portable audio player, the iPod. Moreover, other companies created a range of transportable audio and video players in which the term podcasting issued to describe the broadcasting of all audio or video files across the Internet.

Podcasting is a new means employed by teachers accompanying educational content to encourage learning (Hasan & Hoon, 2013). Based on a research done by Ashton-Hay and Brookes (2011) podcasting would enhance learners' language skills, especially at the field of speaking and listening. Much research findings suggest that podcasts can significantly help learners' language learning (Hasan & Hoon, 2013). The feasibility of podcasting to teaching English as a kind of educational technology needs researching. This paper explored if listening to podcast has any significant effects on improving self-regulation ability (SRA) of Iranian EFL learners to enhance language learning in the technology era.

(De) limitations of the study

The researcher samples randomly from EFL Iranian learners with upper-intermediate level of language proficiency in Torbat-e-Heydarieh, Khorasan Razavi, Iran. All participants are female adult learners with the same levels of language proficiency and social background. They enrolled at the private language institutions to be prepared for the IELTS test, and the number of the participants has been limited. As the participants are selected from the available sample, there was no control on their age range. Therefore, the participants' personal learning styles are not controlled in this study. Moreover, the nature or the type of material selected from the podcast listening files might be more interesting than the radio program for the learners, so we cannot generalize the results of this study. Therefore, those who are intended to draw on the findings of this study should be careful with generalizing the outcome.

Literature review

Podcast in language learning

Based on the investigations on podcasting pedagogy, podcast seems a tool to facilitate learners developing English language skills. Hasan and Hoon (2013) has shown that podcasts could support learning not only in speaking and listening, but also in other language skills and areas such as pronunciation, lexicon, and grammar, It also provides opportunities for EFL teachers to simplify learning a language and find a solution for the traditional teaching and learning methods difficulties. …

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