Assessing the Impact of a Digital Ecosystem to Learn English Pronunciation

Assessing the Impact of a Digital Ecosystem to Learn English Pronunciation

Ana María Pinto-Llorente
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3062-7.ch002
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The present research is an innovative study that intends to analyse the effectiveness of a b-learning digital ecosystem implemented in the area of English phonetics and phonology. It also aims to highlight the benefits of some transmissive, interactive, and collaborative resources in learning of the subject. It is a quantitative research with an ex-post-facto design, collecting data through a questionnaire. The results demonstrated that pre-service teachers had positive views towards the digital ecosystem to improve their English pronunciation level and their ability to perceive and produce English more accurately. The findings also emphasized the potential of the digital ecosystem to provide a more natural environment for pronunciation practice and a more individualized instruction focused on learners who become active learners generating knowledge.
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Research in second language learning has used different methods in teaching pronunciation. However, it has revealed that there is a need to develop new methods and further investigate, especially teaching English pronuınciation in higher education. Therefore, the study in this chapter aims to contribute to the research in the field of phonology, English as a second language and e-learning in higher education by analyzing the effectiveness of a blended learning (b-learning) digital ecosystem implemented in English Phonetics and Phonology subject, which has been traditionally taught face-to-face. The current chapter presents a project which develops a digital ecosystem, using Moodle, the open-source learning platform, to create an adequate virtual environment in which pre-service teachers will be able to improve their phonological competence in all its dimensions. The digital ecosystem was made up of 4 modules: the organs of speech, vowel sounds, consonant sounds, and homophones, homographs, stress, unstressed syllables, weak and strong forms of the words, and intonation. All four modules included different transmissive (podcast and videocast), interactive (online glossary and online questionnaires) and collaborative (forum) technological tools to develop the e-activities and promote interaction between the participants.

The goals of the present quantitative research were to analyse pre-service teachers’ perceptions about the effectiveness of the blended learning digital ecosystem implemented in the area of English Phonetics and Phonology, and to highlight the benefits of some transmissive, interactive and collaborative tools such as podcast, videocast, online questionnaires, online glossary and forum in learning English Phonetics and Phonology. The study focused on three research questions:

  • 1.

    How do pre-service teachers perceive the digital ecosystem in terms of effectiveness?

  • 2.

    Do pre-service teachers believe that the digital ecosystem implemented provide a natural environment for authentic pronunciation practice?

  • 3.

    Do pre-service teachers perceive that the digital ecosystem supports individual and collaborative learning throughout technological tools?

The study also tried to test three hypotheses (H):

  • H1. English pronunciation learning level and the satisfaction of pre-service teachers will be higher with the implementation of the blended learning digital ecosystem.

  • H2. The digital ecosystem implemented will help pre-service teachers to develop their ability to perceive and produce English more accurately.

  • H3. The digital ecosystem will supply pre-service teachers with a natural environment for pronunciation practice.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Autonomous Learning: It refers to a situation in which learners are responsible for their learning. They take charge of their own learning and are actively involved, taking individual decisions according to their necessities or preferences focused on the goals they need to achieve.

Collaborative Learning: It refers to a situation in which a group of students learn together and have an active role in creating and sharing knowledge.

Quantitative Research: It is a structured and rigour methodological approach focused on quantifying the problem and finding out how frequent the results are in order to project these results to a larger population. The techniques used to collect quantitative data are mainly questionnaires.

Learner-Centered Pedagogy: It refers to a pedagogy that places students at the centre of the teaching-learning process. Students are more active and participative, and the process turns knowledge into a negotiation between teachers and students. Furthermore, this pedagogy starts from students’ interests and objectives, and it carries out a learning process based on real situations and materials, using the current technologies to favour this process.

Blended Learning: A kind of education modality that combines both face-to-face and online lessons.

Higher Education: It is the third level of education. It is beyond secondary education and is normally provided by universities or colleges.

Active Learning: It is a type of learning in which teaching tries to involve learners in the learning process. Students are actively engaged in the development of the lessons, activities, etc., and improve skills such as reflection, problem solving, and critical thinking, etc.

Learning Community: It refers to a group of students who work collaboratively, share knowledge and have common learning objectives.

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