Academic journal article Research in Learning Technology

English as a Foreign Language-Teachers' Perspectives on Implementing Online Instruction in the Iranian EFL Context

Academic journal article Research in Learning Technology

English as a Foreign Language-Teachers' Perspectives on Implementing Online Instruction in the Iranian EFL Context

Article excerpt

English as a foreign language--teachers' perspectives on implementing online instruction in the Iranian EFL context

Reza Dashtestani*

Department of Foreign Languages and Literature, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

(Received 20 November 2012; final version received 29 November 2013; Published: 14 March 2014)

This study set out to explore Iranian English as a foreign language (EFL) teachers' perceptions on the implementation of online EFL instruction. A mixed-methods design, including semi-structured interviews and questionnaires, was employed for the specific purposes of this study. A total of 242 EFL teachers participated in the questionnaire phase of the study. In addition, 46 EFL teachers participated in the interview phase of the study. The teachers worked at a number of universities, schools and language-teaching institutions in Iran. Results suggest that although the Iranian EFL teachers adopted moderately positive attitudes towards the implementation of online instruction, the majority of them preferred blended instruction to online instruction. At the same time, the study revealed that the implementation of online EFL instruction in Iran is challenging due to a number of perceived impediments and obstacles. The most considerable perceived challenges to the implementation of online EFL instruction comprise lack of online facilities and resources, lack of interaction in online instruction, cultural resistances to online instruction and teachers' limited knowledge of online instruction. The findings of this study provided crucial insights into teachers' perspectives on a number of measures that can be adopted to facilitate the integration of online instruction in the EFL context of Iran. The findings would provide valuable insights for educational authorities and course designers to integrate online instruction into the EFL curriculum.

Keywords: online instruction; blended instruction; teachers' attitudes; challenges; English as a foreign language

*Corresponding author. Email: rdashtestani@ut.ac.ir

Research in Learning Technology 2014. © 2014 R. Dashtestani. Research in Learning Technology is the journal of the Association for Learning Technology (ALT), a UK-based professional and scholarly society and membership organisation. ALT is registered charity number 1063519. http://www.alt.ac.uk/. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons CC-BY 4.0 License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), allowing third parties to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format and to remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially, provided the original work is properly cited and states its license.

Citation: Research in Learning Technology 2014, 22 : 20142 - http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/rlt.v22.20142

Introduction

In recent years, educational decision makers and course designers from a wide range of educational institutions and universities have expressed growing interest in the implementation of online instruction (Beatty and Ulasewicz 2006; Dawley 2007; Fish and Gill 2009). Accordingly, the implementation of online EFL instruction has gained increased popularity in language-teaching and -learning contexts (Hubbard 2008; Shin and Son 2007; Stickler and Hauck 2006). Online instruction would offer a plethora of benefits and merits for various educational stakeholders. The benefits of online instruction include the opportunity for ubiquitous learning, convenience, cost-effectiveness, provision of educational opportunities for learners and instructors, accessibility, learner-centredness and improvement of students' higher order thinking (Bijeikien?, Rasinskien?, and Zutkien? 2011; Britt 2006; Hill 2002; Hofmann 2002; Kim and Bonk 2006; Petrides 2002).

Some experts of educational technology and online instruction contend that the implementation of online instruction might create limitations and challenges. …

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