Using Second Life and Skype for facilitating the development of listening comprehension in second language learners.

PhD Thesis


Levak, Natasha. 2013. Using Second Life and Skype for facilitating the development of listening comprehension in second language learners. PhD Thesis Doctor of Philosophy. University of Southern Queensland.
Title

Using Second Life and Skype for facilitating the development of listening comprehension in second language learners.

TypePhD Thesis
Authors
AuthorLevak, Natasha
SupervisorSon, Professor Jeong-Bae
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Philosophy
Number of Pages326
Year2013
Abstract

The study investigated the effectiveness of using Skype and Second Life as part of facilitation techniques for promoting the development of listening comprehension in learners of second languages. The languages used in the study were: English and Croatian. The 35 participants involved were studying at four universities located in Sydney and Brisbane in Australia, Split in Croatia and Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The effectiveness of the facilitation techniques, as measured by a pre-test and post-test, and the participants’ perceptions of the techniques, as discussed in the interviews, were investigated. Information relating to the affordances of each online tool was also collected during the interviews. Quantitative results indicated that both Second Life and Skype were beneficial tools for facilitating listening comprehension. Qualitative results assisted in building a more comprehensive understanding of the use of both Second Life and Skype for developing listening comprehension. Based on the interview results, a new version of the facilitation technique was developed that utilised both Second Life and Skype and focused on the pedagogical aims of tasks driving the selection of the most appropriate online tools, as determined by the tools’ affordances, to be utilised during the tasks. The framework for the selection and use of ICTs for facilitating second language learning was developed to assist educators in planning for using a range of learning tools effectively by aligning their affordances with the learning aims. The continuum of language learning spaces was created to assist in conceptualising the range of learning opportunities available to language learners in various environments and their benefits. Further investigation to identify the strategies language learners can use in virtual learning spaces is suggested. Investigation into the process of virtual acculturation and how it may assist learners’ cultural learning and preparation for visiting the target country is recommended. This study highlighted the importance of contact with native speakers and authentic texts and experiences for developing language learners’ listening comprehension and how online and virtual learning spaces can be used to facilitate interaction between learners. It also illustrated the need for the selection of online tools for language learning to be based on pedagogy.

Keywordsskype, second life, language comprehension, listening, second language, English, Croatian, tools, linguistics, strategies, virtual learning
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020470499. Linguistics not elsewhere classified
470399. Language studies not elsewhere classified
Byline AffiliationsSchool of Linguistics, Adult and Specialist Education
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