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Analysis of the effect a student-centred mobile learning instructional method has on language acquisition

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In this study a self-paced instructional method based on the use of Apple's iPod Touch personal mobile devices to deliver content was compared with a group-oriented instructional method of content delivery in terms of learner acquisition of course material. One hundred and twenty-two first-year Japanese university students in four classes were used in the study. The subjects were placed in two experimental groups and two control groups, and each researcher taught one control and one experimental group. An independent samples t-test performed on the groups’ placement scores on the university's English entrance examination showed no significant difference between the two groups in terms of general English ability at the outset of the experiment. During the treatment sessions the control groups studied in a group-oriented classroom environment while the experimental groups studied the same course material but did so with a self-paced method that used Apple's iPod Touch personal mobile devices. As such, the subjects in the experimental group were allowed to study at a rate they chose rather than having the timing of the language input controlled by the teacher. The curriculum for both the control and experimental groups was based on the course textbook (Science English: Communication skills for scientists and engineers, Daniels, 2007, Tokyo: Thomson). The same standardized tests were given to all students involved in the study and the scores of the control and experimental groups were analysed using independent samples t-tests supported by Mann–Whitney tests. The post-treatment data showed a significant difference emerge between the groups, while the experimental group scored consistently higher than the control group. Results of a post-treatment survey given to the experimental group also indicated very positive learner attitudes towards the self-study iPod Touch-based instructional method.

Keywords: iPod Touch; mobile learning; self-study

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Language Education Center,Surugadai University, Saitama, Japan 2: Department of Core Studies,Kochi University of Technology, Kami, Japan

Publication date: 2013-04-01

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