The Effects of Blended Learning Approach through an Interactive Multimedia E-Book on Students’ Achievement in Learning Chinese as a Second Language at Tertiary Level

The Effects of Blended Learning Approach through an Interactive Multimedia E-Book on Students’ Achievement in Learning Chinese as a Second Language at Tertiary Level

Siew Pei Hwa (Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia), Pang Set Weei (Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia) and Lew Hoi Len (Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia)
DOI: 10.4018/ijcallt.2012010104
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Abstract

Almost all higher institutions in Malaysia offer Chinese as a second language (some may consider as a third language) course. Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman offers an elective subject called ’Introduction to Chinese Language I’ to teach the basis of Chinese to non-Chinese educated students. In general, the majority of foreign language is taught face-to-face in classrooms. There are three crucial challenges in learning Chinese as a second language: pronunciation, Chinese writing, and verbal communication skills. Hence, Chinese language is recognized as one of the most challenging and difficult languages to master. Teaching a language in the classroom improves significantly when technology complements and extends the functionality of the traditional methods. In view of the limitations of traditional instruction and e-learning approaches, this paper explores the possibilities of introducing a blended learning approach in TCSL (Teaching Chinese as a Second Language) classrooms at a tertiary level. The focus of this study is to determine the efficiency of the blended learning environment in which instructions are imparted through the blend of existing instructional methods and an interactive multimedia e-book. It also studies the impact on students’ achievement in Chinese language proficiency.
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Second Language Learning

Communication is an essential element in human interaction. Effective communication enhances many aspects of human life. According to Tonkin (2003, p. 2), David Crystal has defined language as “the systematic, conventional use of sounds, signs, or written symbols in a human society for communication and self-expression”. This means that language is obviously a vital tool for social communication between human beings, and in a society. Throughout history, different people in the world have developed different languages as their specific means of communication. Consequently, there are thousands of different languages and dialects in the world. Languages differ in many ways such as their structures, writing systems, vocabularies, and so forth. Every language has its own specific features.

Language is generally ignored by its native speakers. The native language or first language is the language that a person first acquires naturally during their early childhood in the rich native language environment. The first language comes natural to native speakers as does breathing and is an automatic behaviour. In this age of globalization, learning a foreign language as a second language (or sometimes as a third language) has become a necessary tool to broaden the horizons and gain a better understanding of foreign people and their cultures. El Bahr (2007) noted that second language is any language a child learns after the first language or mother tongue. He added second language becomes umbrella terms for second and foreign languages. Ranjini (2009) asserted that foreign language plays a magnificent role in the domain of science, foreign affairs, publicity, tourism and communication.

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