Integrating Extensive Listening into Coursework through Mobile-Assisted Language Learning

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Gregory Strong
Joseph Dias
Hamilton Armstrong
Kazuko Namba


This action research project evaluates students’ use of mobile-assisted language learning (MALL) for an extensive listening (EL) module in a listening course over a 15-week semester. In EL, language learners listen to large amounts of high-interest content that is roughly within the “comfort zone” of their comprehension to improve such listening abilities as comprehension, vocabulary, confidence, and motivation. In this project, three classes of Japanese freshmen and sophomores (N=67) completed the module as part of their course homework. Students used mobile devices, primarily smartphones, to stream their choice of videos from a commercial website with an online library. Also, they carried out language learning tasks including listening comprehension, vocabulary recognition, and speaking. A mixed method design was employed to assess student use of the module and their attitudes toward using their smartphones for educational purposes. An online 21-item survey indicated that students recognized the benefits of EL but had mixed attitudes toward using their smartphones as an educational tool. Successful student engagement was tracked in forms of videos watching; lines from the videos, spoken aloud, and vocabulary items studied; suggesting a promising technology for language learning. In addition, the two most engaged and the two least engaged participants in each class were interviewed, indicating the importance of teachers monitoring students and encouraging them.

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