Mobile-Assisted Language Learning: Research-Based Best Practices for Maximizing Learner Success

Mobile-Assisted Language Learning: Research-Based Best Practices for Maximizing Learner Success

Katharine B. Nielson (Voxy, USA)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0783-3.ch042
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Abstract

This chapter outlines practical findings from the emerging body of research on Mobile-Assisted Language Learning (MALL). After briefly situating the conversation within a framework of how best to use technology for language instruction, the chapter opens with a review of what we know about how to use mobile technology for language learning. Then, the discussion turns to how to best apply these findings in various instructional contexts, including K–12, higher education, and workplace training. By the end of the chapter, students will have both a solid understanding of how mobile technology can facilitate second language learning as well as concrete examples of how to develop and execute a mobile language learning strategy in various educational contexts.
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Introduction

Mobile-Assisted Language Learning (MALL) is a relatively new subfield of Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL), and best practices for how to incorporate it into an overall language learning curriculum are just beginning to emerge. As with all mobile learning, MALL offers a convenient way for learners to access instructional materials on the go, and it also provides access to instruction for learners who lack desktop computers or laptops. Further, unlike many other instructional domains, MALL has the potential to offer learners significant real-world practice with their field of study.

At its most basic, people learn languages in order to communicate with other people—through conversations, written exchanges, and audio- and video-recordings. And the primary use of mobile phones is to talk to people and to send them written messages. Any discussion of MALL, therefore, needs to include both using mobile devices for specific “educational” programming as well as using the features of mobile devices themselves as a means to foster the real-world practice that we know results in language learning.

The aim of this chapter is to consider what is currently known about how MALL can influence the second language learning process through an examination of existing empirical findings, both those that investigate the use of mobile devices for instructional materials as well as those that evaluate the benefits of using the devices for genuine communicative practice. Because MALL research is relatively new, the discussion will also include areas where MALL has the potential to be effective given established best practices for second language instruction. The chapter will conclude with concrete examples of how to develop, execute, and evaluate a cohesive mobile strategy in instructional settings. Each instructional setting, from K-12 to corporate training, has unique needs, so the settings will be considered one by one in terms of how to best use MALL to maximize learning outcomes.

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