Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Surveying and Modeling Students' Motivation and Learning Strategies for Mobile-Assisted Seamless Chinese Language Learning

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Surveying and Modeling Students' Motivation and Learning Strategies for Mobile-Assisted Seamless Chinese Language Learning

Article excerpt


In recent years, language learning scholars (e.g., Little, 2007; Tedick & Walker, 1995) have become cognizant of the limitations of classroom-only language learning. Salient criticisms of classroom-only language learning include decontextualization of the learning material and processes, and the lack of autonomous learning and authentic social interactions. These issues typically undermine learners' holistic language development, especially for real-life interactions. In turn, there is an emerging consensus that the language learning process could be extended beyond the classroom, and that learners could be provided with opportunities to use the target language meaningfully and extensively in their daily life (Benson, 2013; Canagarajah & Wurr, 2011).

The advancement of mobile technologies could potentially address the aforementioned problems that bedevil classroom-only language learning. Mobile technologies offer pedagogical affordances that educators can leverage to promote meaningful learning among learners, both inside and out of the classroom. The most salient pedagogical affordance of mobile devices is that they allow learning to happen in the real world, which contributes to the authenticity of the learning and situated meaning making (Pachler, 2010).

Armed with their mobile devices, learners can actively construct digital artifacts whenever and wherever they have the intention to learn. Subsequently, they can upload the constructed artifacts for sharing, peer critiquing and coconstruction, thereby making learning more collaborative. Researchers have characterized this form of learning wherein there is 24/7 access to at least one mobile device (1:1) as seamless learning (Chan et al., 2006). Since 2006, emerging designs of seamless learning that aim to create holistic and perpetual learning experiences have been reported. Formal and informal learning, individual and social, and physical and digital spaces are thus woven together with the mediation of mobile technologies (Wong & Looi, 2011; Wong, Milrad, & Specht, 2015). Among the 40 seamless learning projects identified in a recent review (Wong, Chai, & Aw, 2015), ten projects were dedicated to the design of language learning tasks in multiple settings.

Despite the emergence of studies on seamless language learning (SLL), few researchers have explicitly examined the role of motivation and learning strategies in SLL. This is an important gap given that the likelihood of success in any learning activity is largely determined by students' motivation and learning strategies (Weinstein, Husman, & Dierking, 2000). This lack of research is partly due to the lack of appropriate measures of motivation in technologyenhanced learning environments, as well as the lack of instruments to measure the relevant learning strategies that students use when they are engaged in seamless learning. Furthermore, most SLL studies reported to date have been limited by small sample sizes (e.g., Ogata et al., 2008; Wei, 2012).

Students' perceptions of and strategies for SLL offer valuable data that can allow researchers to assess the efficacy of their designed activities, and that can be used for further refinement of the learning designs. In addition, how students' motivation contributes to SLL activities is also a crucial issue to consider, especially in second language acquisition (SLA) settings. Student-centered learning design is associated with learners' motivation and autonomy (self-directedness) to learn. This research therefore aims to address the stated gap by developing and validating an instrument, namely, the Mobile-Assisted Seamless Chinese Language learning Questionnaire (MSCLQ), to measure students' motivation and perceptions of strategies for seamless Chinese language learning through confirmatory factor analyses. Although the current questionnaire was focused on Chinese language learning, we believe that the instrument can easily be adapted for use with other languages. …

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