Academic journal article English Language Teaching

The Effect of Asynchronous/Synchronous Approaches on English Vocabulary Achievement: A Study of Iranian EFL Learners

Academic journal article English Language Teaching

The Effect of Asynchronous/Synchronous Approaches on English Vocabulary Achievement: A Study of Iranian EFL Learners

Article excerpt


The contribution of computer-assisted instructional programs to language learning process has been the focus of researchers for about two decades. However, the effect of synchronous and asynchronous computer-assisted approaches of language teaching on improving L2 vocabulary has been scarcely investigated. This study explored whether synchronous, asynchronous, and integrated approaches had any significant impact on vocabulary achievement of Iranian EFL learners in an intensive reading program. The participants were 120 students, majoring in English Teaching and Translation Studies at Islamic Azad University of Abadan. The participants were at intermediate level of language proficiency. They took a vocabulary pretest and posttest before and after the treatment. The results showed that there was a significant difference between the traditional approach and the other three approaches. That is, computer-assisted teaching approaches significantly influenced EFL learners' vocabulary learning. The findings also manifested that integrated approach exerted significant influence on improving L2 vocabulary achievement of language learners. The findings implied that language learners, who were thought under computer-assisted approaches, had more autonomy and self-efficacy and showed more intrinsic motivation to learn the target language than the learners who were taught under traditional approach. Thus, computer-assisted approaches can help language teachers create more fruitful learning atmosphere to reduce distressful factors and accelerate learning process.

Keywords: asynchronous approach, synchronous approach, integrated approach, CALL programs

1. Introduction

Numerous of research has examined the role of technology in Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL), and some studies (e.g., Davis & Lyman-Hager, 1997) placed special emphasis on the attitudes of language learners toward using computer technology in language teaching programs. Saffarian and Gorjian (2012) asserted that the use of multimedia in different areas of education has significantly changed people's learning processes. The findings of earlier studies manifested that properly designed multimedia instructional programs can improve learners' performances in different areas of study, including science, mathematics, and literacy (e.g., Gee, 2003). Earlier studies also indicated that Computer-Assisted Instruction (CAI) programs can improve learners' motivation, enable learners to cope with challenges of learning, increase their curiosity and control over learning process, and promote their fantasies about different dimensions of learning, particularly in children (e.g., Chuang & Chen, 2009; Tzeng, 1999). Although using computer-assisted instructions are of great benefit to leaners in different academic fields, they are often discounted by curriculum planners and teachers.

Definitely, the use of computer-assisted instructional programs is of benefit to language learners and can improve the efficiency of language-teaching programs. Iranian students enthusiastically embrace the use of technology in learning English. The integration of technology in foreign language teaching and learning has developed rapidly In Iran. Gorjian (2008) believed that the more words one possesses, the better one can communicate. Furthermore, the better an individual acquires new words, the more control he/she has over the academic progress. Thus, the more words language learners can comprehend and apply, the more effectively they can process reading texts.

Deficiency in English vocabulary can be a great limitation to anyone that needs to survive in an environment where English is a tool of politics, education, commerce, religion, and exchanging information. Although vocabulary is just one component of English syllabus, lack of a wide vocabulary causes serious problems, affecting language learners' performances in other areas such as reading, listening, speaking, and writing. …

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