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Chinese EFL Learners: The Computer-Assisted Language Learning

Shao’s paper reports on the development of multimedia-based vocabulary acquisition. In particular, this research dwells on the effects of using computer-assisted language learning to help students acquire and understand foreign language vocabulary. The students being examined in this case are the Chinese EFL learners. After making a review of the literature on multimedia and related theories, Shao’s research uses a case study that employs survey methods to find out the interest level of college students from China with regard to the use of multimedia software. Besides, the attitude that the students are likely to develop after using the software are also explored. The study used 80 participants to collect the relevant data over a duration of one semester (from March to July 2012) and applied both the quantitative and qualitative methods to analyze the collected data (Shao, 2012). In brief, Shao’s paper aims at finding out whether it is possible to change the traditional role of a teacher by creating a multimedia environment.

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The study has numerous strong points that are illustrated by the use of clear and adequate evidence. According to Nezu and Nezu (2008), these evidence portray the effectiveness and relevancy of applying multimedia in enhancing acquisition of foreign vocabulary. The author has clearly developed appropriate research questions that help to provide some form of guidance while undertaking the study by ensuring that the research sticks to its original objectives. The author also gives reasons that expound the importance of all the research questions used in the study. For example, the question that seeks to determine the learners’ attitude towards the use of multimedia in acquiring vocabulary is well addressed. This has been achieved by using three aspects that help the researcher to arrive at accurate findings. This is an important strategy in the sense that it helps the researcher to have prior knowledge on whether the study is likely to be undermined in cases whereby the participants have negative reactions toward multimedia application.

The author also uses appropriate techniques to control some of the variables that are not relevant. He attains the latter by choosing two classes that can be used both for the experimental and controlling the group in the study (Babbie, 2011). The researcher clearly follows the required research practices by ensuring that the control group is subjected to multimedia teaching while another group is exposed to the traditional methods of acquiring vocabularies through instructions. It is also important to mention that Shao’s study has weak points in some sections. These weaknesses are as a result of the researcher’s inability to integrate the multimedia application within the teaching curriculum. This causes the development or emergence of very significant disparities especially between the learning processes that are computer-aided and the traditional methods of acquiring foreign vocabularies (Shao, 2012). Under such circumstances, it is highly likely that the study will not arrive at accurate findings. Such cases can be addressed by ensuring that all the technological and software limitations are handled before embarking on a research study.

Another weakness in this research study is the use of traditional methods to represent the control group. The researcher failed to understand the fact that some students are likely to find the traditional method of teaching more effective than the multimedia-based vocabulary acquisition. In addition, Shao did not consider the challenges that some of the students may encounter when using the computers. This largely affected the overall findings of the study because such students opted to rely on the traditional methods of acquiring foreign vocabulary. Apart from skill-related challenges, some students are likely to fear being victimized by their colleagues because of their inability to use multimedia application to acquire vocabulary. According to Reis and Judd (2000), the above challenges can be addressed by instilling a high level of motivation to the participants. Motivation contributes significantly in changing the attitude of students, especially those who strongly believe that it is extremely difficult to adopt the use of multimedia application to acquire foreign vocabulary. However, the promotion of this application may be hindered by lack of adequate multimedia tools or applications in classrooms.

The findings of this study may not be easy to interpret because a small number of participants were used to conduct the research (Melnyk & Morrison-Beedy, 2012). A sample of Eighty students may not reflect the overall perception of all the Chinese EFL learners toward computer-assisted language learning. The study was conducted for a period of one semester. This is likely to affect the study findings bearing in mind that using multimedia application to acquire foreign vocabularies is not always an easy task for students who are used to the traditional methods of acquiring. The fact that the researcher comes from China also increases the challenges that are likely to be faced while undertaking some of the investigation. Hence, this may affect the overall findings of the research study.

Although this study conforms to the standards of academic research, the researcher should have taken into consideration the vital ethical issues. For instance, listing the names of the participants in the questionnaire could easily make some of the participants shy away from giving accurate information.

References

Babbie, E. R. (2011). The basics of social research. Australia: Wadsworth / Cengage Learning.

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Melnyk, B. M., & Morrison-Beedy, D. (2012). Intervention research: Designing, conducting, analyzing, and funding. New York: Springer Publishing.

Nezu, A. M., & Nezu, C. M. (2008). Evidence-based outcome research: A practical guide to conducting randomized controlled trials for psychosocial interventions. New York: Oxford University Press.

Reis, H. T., & Judd, C. M. (2000). Handbook of research methods in social and personality psychology. Cambridge, U.K: Cambridge University Press.

Shao, J. (2012).A Study of Multimedia Application-based Vocabulary Acquisition, journal of English language teaching, 5(10): 202-207.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Chinese EFL Learners: The Computer-Assisted Language Learning'. 2 January.

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