Impact of Technology-Enhanced Language Learning on the Writing Skills of Engineering Students: A Case Study

Impact of Technology-Enhanced Language Learning on the Writing Skills of Engineering Students: A Case Study

Gurleen Ahluwalia (Punjabi University, India) and Deepti Gupta (Panjab University, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7663-1.ch060
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The present case study investigates the effectiveness of technology use in the writing skills of the students at the tertiary level. The subjects of this research were 80 students of an engineering college of Punjab, India. The project was implemented on the basis of the experimental method with a pretest-posttest control group design. At the outset of the project, all the subjects were given a standardized writing test. Following which, the students of the experimental group were made to perform their writing activities using technology in the language lab throughout the semester. Thereafter their performance was assessed and the results were further compared with the students of the control group as well as with their own performance in the pre-test. The results revealed that the achievement in the writing skills of the students under treatment improved significantly. Lastly, the researcher elicited information about students' perceptions on the use of technological tools.
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The ubiquity of computers, the Internet and the communication facilitated by them in this digital era has transformed the lifestyle of people. The cutting edge technologies are making their presence felt in almost every field and education should not remain an exception. It would be unwise to limit the teaching to the traditional set up only. Rather the fabric of education should be colored with all the different hues of technology. Since the use of the Internet and its new means of communication facilitating collaboration between groups and individuals all over the world are in full swing, the researcher thought of introducing this novelty into the language learning classes to prepare students for their prospective professional skills. The top managers in the service sectors as well as in the business environs expect the educational institutions not to churn out knowledge workers, but the knowledge managers and smart leaders equipped with 21st century skills. Needless to say that writing skill has emerged as one of the most powerful skills with the turn of the century. Hitherto considered as the Cinderella skill by the professional and technical students, it was generally relegated to the back stage, but the IT revolution and globalization of business have brought this skill to the forefront in the arena of academics and industry. Success in this competitive environment now not only depends on gaining content knowledge and hard skills, but equally on acquiring effective communication skills especially the writing skills. Therefore, the effective teaching and training of the writing skills of the future professionals have taken precedence over other technical skills. The National Employability Report (2014) by Aspiring Minds underlined that more than 80 percent of engineers in India remain unemployable because of poor communication skills. The findings, therefore, underscore the need to revamp the training in language proficiency so that the students can live up to the expectations of the job market.

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