Formalizing Informal CALL in Learning English Language Skills

Formalizing Informal CALL in Learning English Language Skills

Norizan Abdul Razak (Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Malaysia), Amr Abdullatif Yassin (Ibb University, Yemen) and Tg Nor Rizan Tg Mohamad Maasum (Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Malaysia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2116-8.ch008

Abstract

This chapter aimed at exploring how to formalize informal CALL in learning English language skills. The focus of the study was on learners' ICT skills and learning strategies and CALL elements. The data were collected through semi-structured interviews with four learners. The findings showed that adult learners in this age of technology do not need any training to use CALL to study English language. Moreover, adult learners have acquired the learning strategies needed for studying English informally through CALL. In terms of CALL elements, the findings showed that there is a need to integrate the elements of behaviorist CALL, cognitive CALL, and constructivist CALL to make informal CALL more effective. Therefore, the focus should be directed to providing professionally-designed CALL tools that suffice the needs of the learners by those who have educational background about language teaching and learning. This will enhance informal CALL learning and make self-directed learning more efficient.
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Introduction

The wave of IT (Information Technology) has influenced every aspect of our life, and technology has become a must in the field of language teaching and learning (Bahrani & Sim, 2012). Informal CALL (Computer Assisted Language Learning) has become a part of everyday activities through which learners can improve their language. This makes informal CALL a main trend in the process of language learning, as students all over the world spend time to learn English through CALL informally. Most of the students use CALL to improve their language, especially language skills. They come across and can easily access different materials (Selwyn & Gorard, 2004). This informal CALL has attracted most of the learners (Hague & Logan, 2009; Livingstone, 2001). That is, there is little need to attend a class or a course in order to use CALL to improve your language. Informal CALL materials are available all the time, which makes it a chance for interested students to access at any time to learn English language. However, informal CALL still needs more attention to make it more useful. The main concern regarding informal CALL is that students usually use websites and materials that might not be authentic. Perhaps, novice practitioners who have no background about learning theories or learning pedagogy prepare these materials and websites. This might make informal CALL not that useful as it lacks the basics of language teaching and learning.

Therefore, the fact is still that most learners use informal CALL to learn English language on their own. This makes the investigation in formalizing informal CALL an essential issue. To do so, there is a need to focus on learners’ skills and CALL elements needed to formalize informal CALL. According to Kessler (2007), most of the teachers in the worldwide context lack formal preparation to use CALL in teaching. Although teachers are absent in informal CALL, their role is still essential in the process of designing and developing reliable CALL tools. Thus, the focus of this paper is on learners’ ICT skills and learning strategies, and CALL elements.

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