Effects of Social Network Information on Online Language Learning Performance: A Cross-Continental Experiment

Effects of Social Network Information on Online Language Learning Performance: A Cross-Continental Experiment

Abrar Al-Hasan
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/IJeC.20210401.oa1
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This study examines the value and impact of social network information on a user's language learning performance by conducting an online experiment in a peer-to-peer collaborative language learning marketplace. Social information or information about others in one's network can present a socially networked learning environment that enables learners to engage more in the learning process. Experimental research design in an online language learning marketplace was conducted. The study finds evidence that the mere visibility of social network information positively impacts a learner's learning performance. Learners that engage with social interaction perform better than those that do not. In addition, active social interaction has a stronger impact on learning performance as compared to passive social interaction. The study concludes with implications for platform developers to enable the visibility of social information and engineer the user experience to enhance interactive learning.
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Web 2.0 technologies such as e-learning platforms, podcasts, social network sites, mobile applications, and online learning marketplaces are now used as a source of language learning (Godwin-Jones, 2018). Web 2.0 learning tools have helped in making foreign languages more easily accessible and offer endless possibilities for authentic interaction with native speakers in any target language (Sylv & Sundqvist, 2017).

In the past decade, the potential link between Web 2.0 learning tools and language learning has been frequently examined and has been a subject of debate (Alhamami, 2019; Shadiev, Hwang, & Huang, 2017; Y.-F. Yang, 2018). A meta-analysis of this stream of research found that the relationship between the use of Web 2.0 tools and language learning performance is weak and inconclusive in terms of direction and substantial effect (Luo, 2013; Parmaxi & Zaphiris, 2017). On one hand, studies have found that technological innovations can increase learner interest, pleasing value, and motivation (Chang, Chen, & Chiang, 2019; Collins & Halverson, 2018), providing students with increased access to the target language (Ahn & Lee, 2016), providing new learning opportunities for the unfortunate (Schröder, Grüttner, & Berg, 2019), providing increased engagement opportunities (Batanero, de-Marcos, Holvikivi, Hilera, & Otón, 2019), and facilitating peer learning (Lim, Ab Jalil, Ma'rof, & Saad, 2020). On the other hand, studies have found that the use of Web 2.0 learning tools can result in inappropriate input, shallow interaction (Anshari, Almunawar, Shahrill, Wicaksono, & Huda, 2017), inaccurate feedback, frustration with the digital channel (Fisher, Howardson, Wasserman, & Orvis, 2017), and distraction from the learning task (Garcia, Falkner, & Vivian, 2018). With empirical evidence supporting both sides, it is difficult to see the nature of the actual relationship. The findings thus far seem to suggest that different types of Web 2.0 tools, designs, and use relate to differential impacts on learning performance (Parmaxi & Zaphiris, 2017; C. Wang, Fang, & Gu, 2020). Whether or not Web 2.0 learning tools fosters or undermines language learning remains a topic of discussion among scholars (Luo, 2013; Parmaxi & Zaphiris, 2017), and in particular, the design characteristics that promote learning in Web 2.0 learning tools is not yet clear (Gray, Thompson, Sheard, Clerehan, & Hamilton, 2010).

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