Evaluating Mobile Instant Messaging for L2 Development: A Longitudinal Investigation

Evaluating Mobile Instant Messaging for L2 Development: A Longitudinal Investigation

Alberto Andujar (University of Almeria, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7286-2.ch008


This chapter presents a longitudinal investigation of the use of mobile instant messaging (MIM) to develop second language skills in the foreign language classroom. A three-year investigation is presented where the author attempted to analyze the potential of the application to provide language opportunities and foster interaction in the target language. WhatsApp application is used as a virtual platform where its multimodal characteristics are exploited in order to expand students' in-class time. Thus, one text-based and two voice-based WhatsApp groups are analyzed trough an experimental design with control and experimental groups. Statistical analysis as well as a systematic tracking of the messages sent throughout the interaction were implemented to observe any potential language benefit in the participants. Results indicated that students experienced an improvement in terms of accuracy as well as different speaking skills; nevertheless, task design was found to be fundamental to encourage participation and interaction.
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Mobile Learning

Education and language environments have to keep pace with the latest technological advances, thus it is fundamental to focus on designing teaching material that appropriately meet students’ needs. In this vein, mobile learning becomes a growing field where the latest devices are able to develop many of the pedagogical activities that were previously developed through text books. The ubiquitous characteristics of these devices allow learning to take place in a multiplicity of real-world settings (Kukulska‐Hulme, Lee, & Norris, 2017) that must be taken into consideration when designing tasks.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Recasts: Type of negative feedback in which the message is reformulated in a more target-like form.

Negative Feedback: Information provided following an error made by the learner.

Elicitations: Type of negative feedback which consists of a response to a previous message aiming at a more target-like form without providing any metalinguistic information.

Quasi-Synchronous: A type of communication that many times resembles face-to-face communication due to prompt replies, and where both synchronous and asynchronous modes coexist.

Rich Input Environment: A situation where learners are surrounded by appropriate target language input to foster acquisition.

Autonomy: Freedom to learn any kind of content without the need for a teacher or traditional tuition methods.

Language-Related Episode: A situation where learners reflect on the language used and negotiate meaning in order to understand the message.

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