How effective are technology-enhanced teaching techniques in the EFL classroom?
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The past decade has seen almost exponential growth in online course offerings across the globe and online courses have now become ubiquitous. However, our current understanding of the effectiveness of this mode of delivery in learning, especially when compared to traditional face-to-face classroom instruction, remains insufficient. In fact, researchers have been engaged in an extended debate over the effectiveness of ‘online’ versus traditional ‘face-to-face’ classroom instruction. As part of this ongoing debate, there is now extensive research into the respective merits of these forms of instruction. This particular study responds to some gaps in this research. The first gap is that much of this work represents science-related subjects and relatively few studies concern the teaching and learning of foreign languages, such as English. Second, whereas there is a plethora of research outside Indonesia, relatively little, if any, has been conducted with student populations from this country, thus limiting our understanding of the merit of new technology in this particular context.Conducted in Indonesia, this study examines students’ learning experiences and learning outcomes in three different modes of delivery: conventional face-to-face, online, and hybrid instruction. Students across the three groups reported that they had experienced an interesting learning experience, a high level of interactivity, and quality learning. However, the online group reported more negative experiences than the other two groups, both in terms of types and frequency. Interestingly, it also reported unique positive learning experiences not found elsewhere. In terms of learning outcomes, as indicated by students’ pre- and post-test scores, all groups experienced a significant increase in their post-test scores. The difference in the groups’ post-test scores, after controlling for pre-existing differences in the pre-test, proved to be insignificant.This finding provides strong support for the well-known ‘nonsignificant phenomenon’, but offers new insights into the merit of new technology in the EFL classroom in this particular context. Overall, both students’ learning experience and their learning outcomes lead to the conclusion that online learning appears to be a viable mode of instruction, despite it being more challenging than hybrid and face-to-face tuition. The implications of these findings for the integration of technology into the language classroom have been critically examined in this thesis.
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