Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

Effects of Mall in Blended Learning on Iranian Efl Learners' Reading Comprehension

Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

Effects of Mall in Blended Learning on Iranian Efl Learners' Reading Comprehension

Article excerpt

1.Introduction

The rapid emergence of technological innovations over the past half-century has had a huge impact on the possibilities for learning. The term blended learning (BL) is being used with increased frequency in both academic and corporate circles. In 2003, the American Society for Training and Development identified BL as one of the top ten trends to emerge in the knowledge delivery industry (Rooney, 2003). BL is combining online and face-to-face instruction (Reay, 2001; Rooney, 2003; Ward & LaBranche, 2003; Young, 2002). There are many reasons that an instructor, trainer, or learner might pick BL over other learning options. Osguthorpe and Graham (2003) identified six reasons that one might choose to design or use a BL system: (1) pedagogical richness, (2) access to knowledge, (3) social interaction, (4) personal agency, (5) cost-effectiveness, and (6) ease of revision. In the BL literature, the most common reason provided is that BL combines the best of both worlds. Furthermore, with BL, students can stay on top of classwork anytime, anywhere with personalized tools. BL offers the best of online learning while giving teachers the time to work with students on by one and specially in small groups.

Undoubtedly, most of EFL/ESL education happens inside a classroom, and language teachers know that attaining the most ideal situation creates a challenge in most EFL/ESL situations. In such conditions, language learners have few and restricted opportunities to use L2 (Marsh, 2012). One of the biggest complaints that all language teachers have is that time is limited in the classroom, and despite the fact that all teachers are well aware of the need to provide their students with opportunities to practice the language in different and varied contexts, this is sometimes just not possible.

Language teachers strive to provide situations for their learners to meet their learning needs. One such attempt is to stimulate an environment in which actual use of the target language can be practiced. To do so, language teachers have resorted to a number of resources and tools, such as recording devices, video players and projectors, periodicals, and language labs which all provide different and varied access to content (Chapelle, 2001). They can employ a variety of activity types with group work and pair work, collaborative learning and independent learning to engage learners in communicative language practice. In fact, language teachers, in most situations, quite unconsciously try to employ a "blend" of teaching methodologies in order to create a rich learning environment for language learners (Ghahari & Ameri Golestan, 2013).

What seems to be more recent is the diversity of learning opportunities and environments that have been made possible, simply via using high tech to support language teachers as well as language learners (Marsh, 2012).

The employment of mobile devices for supporting continuous learning is a very powerful ways of helping non-English countries citizens address their need to learn English. In fact, mobilelearning (m-learning) can bridge formal and informal learning experiences (Wanger & Wilson, 2005) and also can work best when used as part of the blended method of teaching, as a supplementary tool that is used in combination with traditional methods, such as paper-based materials (Brown, 2005; Stead, Sharp, Anderson, & Philpott, 2006).

With the advent of technology, teachers can place courses online and off-line as blended learning, and communicate with students effectively in a variety of ways. Blended learning, which means integrating the online and face-to-face formats to create a more effective learning experience has become popular in second language learning (Brew, 2008). Under the blended learning environment, teachers should use online resources in their classroom activities to help students become more active and effective learners. Both off-line and online learning environments have their advantages; however, "a mixture of teaching and learning methods will always be the most efficient manner in which to support student learning because only then it is possible to embrace all the activities of discussion, interaction, adaptation and reflection, which are essential for academic learning" (Towndrow & Cheers, 2003). …

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