Korean EFL College Students' Acceptance of Smartphone Applications for English Language Learning

Korean EFL College Students' Acceptance of Smartphone Applications for English Language Learning

Sookyung Ahn (RISE Wonju Academy, South Korea)
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 27
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-6609-1.ch005
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Smartphones have deeply penetrated all aspects of our lives. The impact of smartphones has reached education and led to the development of countless language learning applications (apps). However, before merging this new technology with language education, it is critical to identify determinants affecting students' acceptance of smartphone apps for English language learning (SAELL). The purpose of this chapter is to investigate factors affecting the students' intention to use SAELL, and gender and academic major differences in acceptance of SAELL. A quantitative method was used to analyze data collected from 675 participants in Korea. The results indicated that perceived usefulness, perceived convenience, social influence, perceived enjoyment, and self-management of learning significantly affected the students' intention to use SAELL. Gender and academic major moderated the acceptance of SAELL. This chapter adds to the knowledge of how to use smartphones for language learning and provides useful insights on the acceptance of SAELL.
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The widespread adoption of mobile technology in recent years has brought about a tremendous increase in the number of people carrying mobile devices worldwide. Korea is no exception. Almost every teenager and adult in Korea have a smartphone. The Statista (2019), an online portal for statistics, reported that 99.9 percent of respondents aged 20 to 29 years in Korea own smartphones. They watch television, access social networking sites (SNS), listen to music, text and call, send emails, and perform various other daily tasks on their smartphones. In addition to this “smartphone fever,” the English education boom in Korea in recent years has encouraged the development of smartphone apps to support different aspects of English learning. Mobile apps are proliferating rapidly and may make desktop computing obsolete (Godwin-Jones, 2011).

The rapid emergence of smartphones has enabled foreign language learners to practice their target language skills “anywhere, anytime” (Geddes, 2004, p. 1) and to access various apps, which provide an ideal platform for informal, individualized language learning (Godwin-Jones, 2011; Pindeh, Suki, & Suki, 2016). The growth in the number of smartphone users has boosted the educational potential of Mobile Assisted Language Learning (MALL). However, the availability and prevalence of mobile apps do not guarantee their success in an educational context (Godwin-Jones, 2017; Liu, Li, & Carlsson, 2009). It is essential to understand that students’ acceptance of technology plays a critical role in determining the success of MALL. If students perceive that technology is useful and easy to use, they tend to show a positive attitude and higher satisfaction and motivation, which will drive them to capitalize on the technology (Azli, Shah, & Mohamad, 2018; Chung, Chen, & Kuo, 2015; Pindeh et al., 2016). Thus, it is essential to understand the factors that drive the students’ acceptance of smartphone language learning. Despite the popularity of smartphones and English learning apps, few studies have explored students’ acceptance of smartphone apps for English language learning (SAELL) in Korea. Therefore, this paper explores Korean EFL college students’ acceptance of SAELL.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Social Influence (SI): The degree of learner’s perception regarding whether teachers and peers believe they should use MALL.

Perceived usefulness: The degree of learner’s perception regarding whether using MALL helps improve their learning performance.

Self-Management of Learning: The degree of learner’s perception regarding whether they are self-disciplined and able to engage in autonomous learning, while participating in MALL.

Technology Acceptance: Users’ willingness, attitude, and perceptions toward using a particular technology continuously.

Perceived convenience: The degree of convenience associated with time, place, and execution, while learners are participating in MALL.

Smartphone Application (App): A specially designed application that runs on a smartphone.

Mobile-Assisted Language Learning (MALL): Language learning process in various contexts where learners are able to access learning resources and information anytime and anywhere through smart mobile devices.

Perceived Enjoyment: The degree of learner’s intrinsic motivation, including concentration, curiosity, and enjoyment, while participating in MALL.

Mobile Learning (m-learning): Any kind of learning where learners can access information anytime and anywhere through mobile devices.

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