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Jl. of Interactive Learning Research (2006) 17(2), 121-142

The Effect of Computer Assisted Language Learning


(CALL) on United Arab Emirates English as a
Foreign Language (EFL) School Students
Achievement and Attitude

ABDURRAHMAN GHALEB ALMEKHLAFI


United Arab Emirates University, Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates
almekhlafi@uaeu.ac.ae

This study investigated the effect of Computer Assisted Lan-


guage Learning (CALL) on elementary-prep school students
improvement in English as a foreign language (EFL). Eighty-
three students in Al-Tamayoz Elementary-prep School, Unit-
ed Arab Emirates, were selected and divided into experimen-
tal and control groups (43 and 40 participants respectively).
Results of Analysis of variance (ANOVA) showed a signifi-
cant difference between CALL users and nonusers in favor of
the experimental group (p < .05). In addition, a questionnaire
was administered to CALL users to investigate their attitude,
perceived utility, and intention to use CALL in the future.
Students in the experimental group had a positive attitude
toward CALL, perceived its utility for helping them learn
EFL, and had a strong intention to use it in the future. Results
of this study have provided evidence of the effect of CALL on
learning English as a foreign language. Implications and rec-
ommendations for future research are presented.

Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) is a technique for using


technology in the field of language learning. Many studies worldwide have
been conducted to investigate the effect of CALL on learning languages.
Research results demonstrated a positive effect of CALL on students learn-
ing and language competency.
In the context of UAE, studies involving CALL use are minimal.
Almekhlafi (2004) investigated the effect of interactive multimedia (IMM)
CD-ROM on the achievement of sixth grade students in relation to their
learning styles. Results showed no significant difference between the two
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122 Almekhlafi

groups in the overall achievement. However, results showed that field-inde-


pendent learners scored significantly higher than field-dependent1. One of
the recommendations stated in the study was that IMM should be investi-
gated as an individualized learning tool. Therefore, this study focused on
independent CALL use by elementary-prep school students in the United
Arab Emirates (UAE). It investigated the effect of CALL on students
achievement of English as a foreign language (EFL) and their attitude
toward CALL use.
According to Wikipedia encyclopedia (2005), CALL is defined as an
approach to language teaching and learning in which computer technology is
used as an aid to the presentation, reinforcement, and assessment of material
to be learned, usually including a substantial interactive element. In the light
of this definition and for the purpose of this study, the researcher defines
CALL as the use of multimedia CD-ROM combining text, pictures, audio,
and video files for the purpose of teaching English as a foreign language.

REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE


Research on the effect of technology in general on teaching and learning
has been conducted and continues to be investigated. One of the most promi-
nent fields of research has been on interactive multimedia and its effect on
leaning in different fields including language learning. Literature review for
the purpose of this study focuses on two domains (a) multimedia and lan-
guage learning and teaching, and (b) CALL.

The Use of Multimedia in Teacher Education


Many researchers have called for and emphasized the importance of the
inclusion of technology in teacher education (Volk, 2000; Gentile, Lon-
berger, Parana, & West, 2000; Chester, 2001; Schnackenberg, Luik, Nisan,
& Servant, 2001; & Berlin & White, 2002). Educational research investi-
gating the utility of technology for learning and teaching has been continu-
ous for several decades. One form of this integration is with the use of mul-
timedia. The educational benefits of multimedia are well documented
(Moore, 2000). Multimedia has been used with student teachers to improve
their training and hence the quality of education (Almekhlafi, 2004). How-
ever, multimedia research was not always consistent in its results. Some
studies yielded positive effect (Soboleva & Tronenko 2002; Moreno,
Mayer, Spires, & Lester, 2001; Frear & Hirschbuhl, 1999; Vignola, Kenny,
Andrews, & Schilz, 1999; James, 1999; Vrtacnik et al., 2000; Buckley,
2000; Wydra, 2001; Cairncross & Mannion, 2001; Almekhlafi, 2001),
while others did not (Smith & Woody, 2000; McKethan, Everhart, &
Sanders, 2001; Vichitvejpaisal et al., 2001; Nutta et al., 2002; & Hayes,
Taub, Robinson III, & Sivo, 2003).
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The Effect of CALL on Students Achievement and Attitude 123

In the field of language learning, multimedia has been investigated by


many researchers. Results indicated a positive effect of multimedia on learn-
ing languages (Liou, 1995; Johnston & Milne, 1995; Asay, 1995; Chun &
Plass, 1996; Al-Segheer, 2001; Tsou, Wang, & Li, 2002; Noriko, 2002).

Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) Research


CALL research has been ongoing for decades investigating CALL use in
different contexts and with different languages worldwide. Its potential for
learning and teaching in the field of foreign languages has been discussed
and documented by many researchers (Crosby, 1997; Peterson, 1998;
Charischak, 2000; Vrtacnik et al., 2000; Ayres, 2002; Nesselhauf &Tschi-
chold, 2002; Egbert, Paulus, & Nakamichi, 2002; Robert, 2002; Cushion &
Dominique, 2002; Schwienhorst, 2002; Jung, 2002; Bayraktar, 2002; Chika-
matsu, 2003; Fenfang, 2003).
Charischak (2000) stated that for long time, basic drill and practice soft-
ware programs dominated the market in CALL. Supporting this claim,
Robert (2002) pointed out that the use of computers to assist learners in their
language studies has increased phenomenally over the past decade.
Cushion and Dominique (2002) described how recent technological
developments have provided the possibility of overcoming technical prob-
lems in conjunction with the Java programming language and the Unicode
character numbering system. Schwienhorst (2002) discussed CALL and
focused on the benefits of virtual reality environments, particularly for for-
eign language contexts.
For many years, foreign language teachers have used the computer to
provide supplemental exercises. Recently, due to technology advancement,
teachers started to consider the use of computers as an essential part of daily
foreign language teaching and learning. Technology has the potential to play
a major role in foreign language teaching and learning. A lot of attention has
been paid to the use of CALL in foreign languages teaching and learning.
In other words, CALL gained considerable attention from different enti-
ties including researchers and writers. Peterson (1998) stated that CALL has
developed from small beginnings into a major element in many university
language programs in Japan. The number of individual educators incorpo-
rating CALL materials into their classes has increased markedly. This
increase of interest in CALL, and educational technology in general, has
also been manifested in the increase in the number of CALL facilities creat-
ed within universities and schools.
Some writers devoted whole books for the discussion of CALL. For
example, Kulik and Kulik (1991) stated that a meta-analysis of findings
from 254 controlled evaluation studies showed that computer-based instruc-
tion (CBI) usually produces positive effects on students. The studies covered
learners of all age levels from kindergarten pupils to adult students.
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124 Almekhlafi

In the year 1997, The Computer Assisted Language Learning Journal


devoted a special issue, The virtual learning environment, reviewed by
Crosby (1997) for CALL environment and effect on learning and teaching.
Following the same path, Levy (1997) wrote Computer Assisted Language
Learning: Context and Conceptualization, a discussion of CALL including
a historical review of CALL projects from the 1960s to the 1990s.
Conrad (1996) noted that there had been a meager output of CALL effec-
tiveness research published by the recognized second language acquisition
journals, and that the 19 empirical studies he did uncover represent almost
as many different specific areas of CALL applications. Research conducted
in this area has documented many positive effects on students achievement
and learning. Recently, Jung (2002) presented a bibliography on CALL.
Most citations were post-1997 journal articles and book publications.
In a similar vein, Bayraktar (2002) conducted a meta-analysis of the
effectiveness of computer assisted instruction (CAI) on student achievement
in secondary and college science education compared to traditional instruc-
tion. Results showed a small positive effect for CAI use when used in sim-
ulation or tutorial models, with individual computer use, and when used as
a supplement to traditional instruction.
Attitudes towards CALL and other types of technology have been inves-
tigated. In most cases, positive attitudes towards CALL were documented.
For example, Escalada & Zollman (1997) demonstrated in their study, the
effects on student learning and attitudes of using interactive digital video in
the physics classroom, showing that interactive video materials were appro-
priate for the activity-based environment used in the course on concepts of
physics. Klassen and Milton (1999) evaluated the effectiveness of a multi-
media based English language learning program at a Hong Kong university.
Results demonstrated positive attitudinal changes for the multimedia
enhanced mode of learning. Similarly, Vrtacnik et al. (2000) stated that most
of the studies reported about higher achievements and better attitudes
towards science and computers when computer-based approaches were
introduced in the classroom.
More recently, Ayres (2002) examined students attitudes towards the use
of CALL and reported that the subjects attitudes towards English Learning
increased significantly. The study also revealed that there was a link between
pupils attitudes and their level of computer literacy, language level and age.
Holmes (1998) surveyed 100 Japanese first year students investigated the
influence of CALL in their language classroom and on language education
in Japan in general. Similarly, Robert (2002) examined students' attitudes
towards the use of CALL, and their perceived view of its relevancy to their
course of study. Vrtacnik et al. (2000) examined the effects of interactive
multimedia tutorial teaching unit on students perception and understanding
of chemical concepts in the Netherlands.
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The Effect of CALL on Students Achievement and Attitude 125

Following the same path, Noriko (2002) developed a language tutor pro-
gram to develop learners grammatical and sentence production skills in
Japanese language. The study revealed that students achievement improved
tremendously. To measure their attitude towards the program, the researcher
designed a questionnaire. The results indicated an enthusiastic student
response.
Likewise, Chikamatsu (2003) pointed out that CALL gains popularity
and is becoming standard in foreign language classrooms. The researcher
examined the effects of computers on writing efficiency and quality among
intermediate learners of Japanese. One of the findings was that accuracy
rates and number of kanji characters used were significantly different, indi-
cating that learners benefited from computer writing.
From previous research, it can be concluded that the use of CALL is very
beneficial for language learning and students attitudes toward CALL was
positive, particularly if CALL applications were well-designed and used. For
example, CALL effectiveness and students positive attitudes toward it was
documented in many research studies (Conrad, 1996; Vrtacnik et al.; 2000,
Ayres, 2002; Bayraktar, 2002; Jung, 2002; Noriko, 2002; Robert, 2002).

THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
As the use of CALL in this study involved the use of technology and par-
ticipants attitude towards this use, Fishbeins (1963, 1967) Reasoned Action
Theory (RAT) and constructivism were used as the theoretical framework to
illuminate the results of the study. The RAT developed by Fishbein, is a cog-
nitive theory that is designed to predict and explain any human behavior that
is under volitional control. It deals with the relationships between beliefs,
attitudes, subjective norms, intentions, and behavior (Chitamun & Fin-
chilescu, 2003). It is usually used to investigate attitude toward an object or
some specific behavior toward that object (Almekhlafi, 2001). The theory
has been tested, validated, and used by many researchers (Pryor, 1990, 1994;
Trost et al., 2002; Zint, 2002; Chitamun & Finchilescu, 2003). Trost et al.
used RAT to evaluate the relative utility of the theory in explaining inten-
tions and physical activity behavior in white and African-American eighth-
grade girls. Similarly, Zint used RAT to predict science teachers' intention
to incorporate environmental risk education.
Constructivism refers to the idea that learners construct knowledge for
themselves building upon the foundation of their previous learning. Con-
structivism is being applied in different fields, one of which is in technolo-
gy rich classrooms. Collins (1991) pointed out that technology appeared to
be coming down on the side of constructivists, who have been trying to
change the prevailing societal view of education. According to Collins, stud-
ies show that in technology rich classrooms there are many observable
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126 Almekhlafi

changes as opposed to traditional instruction, some of which are: (a) stu-


dents are more actively engaged, (b) students learn different things instead
of all students learning the same thing, and (c) an integration of both visual
and verbal thinking instead of the primacy of verbal thinking. Lebow (1993)
described five principles of the application of constructivism on technology,
These principles are: (a) provide a context for learning that supports both
autonomy and relatedness, (b) embed the reasons for learning into the learn-
ing activity itself, (c) support self-regulation through the promotion of skills
and attitudes, and (d) strengthen the learner's tendency to engage in inten-
tional learning processes, especially by encouraging the strategic explo-
ration or errors. These changes and principles come side by side with con-
structivism principles. Bailey (1996) pointed out that new technology, such
as the use of multimedia, can afford rich opportunities for constructivist
approaches in the field of education. Hence, constructivism is an appropri-
ate framework for this study as it will be able to explain any results yielded
as a result of independent CALL use. Similarly, RAT will interpret CALL
users attitude toward its use.

STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM


Due to the fact that the number of students studying foreign languages is
increasing worldwide, the need to improve their proficiency in these lan-
guages is crucial. English language is becoming an international language
and is being used widely in businesses, universities, and other domains of
life. Research efforts have been going on to investigate ways to improve
learning languages including learning English as a foreign language.
One of the most recent efforts institutions, universities, and companies
have been pursuing is to enhance the process of language learning has
involved computer technology (Al-Sagheer, 2001), in the form of CALL.
Research on the effect of CALL on learning EFL in the UAE has not yet
drawn researchers attention. Most importantly, the UAE has a unique cul-
tural and historical origin. It is working hard to become a global citizen
where international companies and entities can prosper in the county. Thus,
the UAE is committed to developing a well-educated population with profi-
ciency in international languages, particularly English.
Due to the fact that EFL in the UAE schools is taught on average 4-6 peri-
ods weekly, and its use is limited to the classroom, students' EFL proficien-
cy is limited and does not meet higher education institutions demands. There
have been complaints from universities and colleges that K-12 students'
preparation in English is weak. Furthermore, students speak their native lan-
guage outside the classroom and at home. This negatively affects EFL and
results in a decrease in students proficiency.
Hopefully, CALL will constitute the solution to overcome the language
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The Effect of CALL on Students Achievement and Attitude 127

competency problem of school students. Due to its flexibility, students can


use CALL inside and outside classroom. They can use it as drill-and-prac-
tice software. They can use it as a reinforcement or a remediation tool to
strengthen their English language competency. Consequently, students can
join UAE universities and colleges with a strong background. It is worth
mentioning that UAE main university scientific colleges (e.g., Engineering,
Information Technology, and Science) teach their curriculum in English.
Recently, the college of Education at the UAE University, which is the main
public college, in the country, started to teach many of its courses in Eng-
lish. Hence, building a strong English language background will definitely
result in better education.
In addition, this study investigated CALL effects on learning EFL as an
effort to increase EFL proficiency hoping to start the steering wheel for
CALL research in the UAE. Taking Almekhlafis (2004) research recom-
mendation into account, this study focused on the independent use rather than
classroom use of CALL by elementary-prep school students in the UAE.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The study addressed the following questions:
1. Is there a significant difference in students achievement in EFL
between CALL users and nonusers due to treatment regardless of
instructor?
2. Is there a significant difference in students achievement in EFL
between participants due to instructor regardless of treatment?
3. Is there a significant difference in students achievement in EFL
between participants due to the interaction effects on achievement?
4. Does CALL have any effect on students achievement in EFL based
on their computer competency, years of computer experience, and
number of hours using the computer daily?
5. Does the use of CALL affect the students perceived knowledge
gain of EFL achievement?
6. Does the use of CALL affect students attitude toward, perceived
utility, and intention to use it in the future?

HYPOTHESES
Ho1: There is no significant difference in students achievement in
EFL between CALL users and nonusers due to treatment regard-
less of instructor?
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128 Almekhlafi

Ho2: There is no significant difference in students achievement in EFL


between participants due to instructor regardless of treatment?
Ho3: Is there a significant difference in students achievement in EFL
between participants due to the group-instructor interaction effects?
Ho4: There is no significant difference between achievement mean
scores of CALL users based on their computer competency,
years of computer experience, and number of hours using the
computer daily?
Ho5: There is no significant difference between perceived knowledge
gain mean scores of participants before and after CALL use
(experimental group).
Ho6: CALL use has no effect on users mean scores in attitude towards,
perceived utility of, and intention to use CALL in the future.

METHOD
Participants
Participants in the present study were 83 elementary-prep school students
with an age span of 11 to 13 years old. They were studying EFL in the aca-
demic year 2003-2004. These students were randomly chosen from Al-
Tamayoz elementary-prep school, located in Al-Ain, Abu Dhabi in the UAE.
Participants English language proficiency was intermediate as determined
by language tests conducted by their teachers who participated in the data
collection. One of the reasons could be because EFL is considered as one of
seven courses in the curriculum students study every academic year. EFL in
the UAE school is taught from 1st grade and aims at preparing students to be
able to communicate in English and join university programs that provide
content instruction in English. The overall content of EFL in the UAE takes
all language skills into account. On average, EFL is taught for one hour a
day of structured English instruction. In addition, English is not used as a
means of communication in everyday life.
The EFL syllabus used in the study is the syllabus mandated by the Min-
istry of Education and Youth, which is a series of textbooks chosen to be
used in UAE schools. The CALL material is the same materials in the text-
books as it was developed for that purpose.
As the study was conducted in a model school, technology infrastructure
and access was granted for all students. The school had a computer lab with
a multimedia capability, a videoconferencing unit, a technology coordinator,
and a computer engineer.
Participants' computer literacy is good for the following reasons: First,
Al-Tamyooz is one of the models schools that pay special attention to tech-
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The Effect of CALL on Students Achievement and Attitude 129

nology integration into the curriculum. Computer is taught to all students as


a subject. Students study computer applications and learn different comput-
er skills regularly. They spend at least two class periods weekly at the com-
puter lab using numerous software application and productivity tools such as
interactive multimedia CD-ROMs. Second, the majority of students at Al-
Tamyooz, as reported by the teachers, own their computers at home. There-
fore, participants experience with computers is sufficient enough to enable
them to use CALL successfully.
Participants selection was random regardless of the classes. The final
number of participants yielded 43 students in the experimental group and 40
students in the control group; a total of four classes. All subjects have the
same learning situations such as size of classroom, same text of English,
same amount of exposure, and same availability of teaching aids. Two
instructors were involved in the study with similar educational background
holding masters degrees in English, and having more than five years of
teaching experience. Both instructors were English teachers, were proficient
in English as measured by tests and interviews conducted by the education-
al zone as part of the requirements to work in a model school. Each instruc-
tor had one control group and one experimental group.

Materials
English as a foreign language (EFL) material was the focus of this study.
The syllabus covered in the study is the same syllabus used by UAE ele-
mentary-prep school for the EFL course. This material was available into
two forms: (a) hard copy for the control group, and (b) CALL in the form of
CD-ROM, EFL Skills DeveloperTM, that included video and sound clips, pic-
tures, and the feature of interactivity for the experimental group. The CALL
CD was designed and developed by an EFL teacher who was heavily
involved in technology integration in EFL settings and who is currently
working on a PhD degree, and by a computer science engineer, who had pre-
vious experience in computer programming and networking. EFL Skills
DeveloperTM was developed, tested and validated to insure its high quality
and appropriateness for the intended audience (see Appendix for samples of
materials used in the study).

Instruments
Pretest. The pretest consisted of a test of English proficiency as a foreign
language (EFL). It covered items that reflect overall understanding of the
language such as grammar items, comprehension items, and vocabulary
items, which are supposed to be covered in elementary-prep school curricu-
lum with different degrees of depth. According to the EFL curriculum taught
in UAE schools, students proficiency in these EFL skills are supposed to
increase as they go to higher grades.
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130 Almekhlafi

The total test score was 100 points distributed among multiple choice and
open-ended test items. The aim of the pretest was to measure the participants
general knowledge and competency in EFL before beginning the experimen-
tal treatment of using CALL. The test was created by EFL instructors in Al-
Tamayooz elementary-prep school and validated by a number of EFL instruc-
tors and supervisors in Al-Ain school zone (district). In addition, it was vali-
dated by a number of professors of English and educational technology
majors from UAE University. A pilot study was conducted in the second
semester of the academic year 2001-2002 in the same school. The reliability
of the test, using alpha, was .85, while it was .87 using Guttman Split-half.

Posttests. The first part of posttest was identical to the pretest as it had the
same type of items, number, and structure. The aim of this part of the test
was to measure the difference of participants knowledge and competency in
EFL after the study was completed.
The second part of the posttest (distributed to the experimental group)
was a questionnaire using a 7-point bipolar probability and evaluative scales
to determine CALL users overall attitude towards CALL, (b) perceived util-
ity of using CALL, (c) perceived knowledge gain of EFL before and after
the use of CALL, and (d) intention to use CALL in the future. It also includ-
ed two open-ended questions about the advantages and disadvantages of
learning through CALL. This questionnaire had previously been validated
and used by other researchers including Almekhlafi (2001, 2003), and Pryor
(1990, 1994). It had an alpha reliability of .80.

Procedure
First, a meeting with the instructors was held to demonstrate the EFL
Skills DeveloperTM software and to discuss the procedures of the study. Both
teachers became proficient in the use of the software and knowledgeable
about the relationship between the content covered by the software as cor-
related with the textbook curriculum.
First, a pretest was given to all students in the four groups. After the
pretest, each participant in the experimental group was given the CALL CD,
EFL Skills DeveloperTM, with a set of instructions on use, roles and respon-
sibilities, and expectations to study independently at home according to a
plan set by the instructor. The experimental group participants were taken to
a computer lab to check their performance and give them directions on how
to best use the software. Each student in the control group was given the cor-
responding material to study independently according to the same timeline
provided to the experimental group.
All participants in all groups were instructed to prepare for the lesson by
reading it, doing certain exercises, and answering questions. CALL users
were instructed to prepare for the lesson by using EFL Skills DeveloperTM
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The Effect of CALL on Students Achievement and Attitude 131

CD-ROM, while the control group prepared for the lesson using the hard
copy materials. The participants in both groups were required to spend at
least one hour daily, which was the estimated time to complete the exercis-
es needed for the next day lesson. However, CALL users might have spent
more time using CALL due to its interactivity and attractiveness.
As a check technique to make sure students did their work at home, the
teacher checks students preparation the next day. In class, each instructor
taught both groups using regular classroom procedures and materials.
Instruction lasted for three consecutive weeks (four sessions weekly). Two
additional weeks were used for preparatory demonstrations with teachers
and pre/post testing with students.

DESIGN
This study was a pretest/posttest experiment/control group design. Using
SPSS 12.0, three main types of data analysis were used: (a) analysis of covari-
ance (ANOVA) to control for variability in initial students EFL level, (b)
paired and independent sample t-tests, and (c) descriptive statistics. Analysis of
variance was used to test the null hypothesis there is no differences between
groups in achievement as a result of CALL use. Pretest was entered as a
covariate while the posttest was entered as the independent variable. Paired t-
tests were used to examine any differences in CALL users perception of their
knowledge gain as a result of using CALL. Independent sample t-tests were
used to test any significant differences between CALL users based on comput-
er competency, years of experience, and daily hours using computer. Descrip-
tive statistics was used for 7-point bipolar scales investigating users attitude
towards and perception of the utility of CALL. For analysis of covariance and
independent sample t-tests, the .05 level of statistical significance was selected.
The responses to the open-ended questions in the questionnaire were cat-
egorized into topics and presented in a frequency table based on Webers
model (1990) for analogy and reporting qualitative data.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION


To answer question number 1, Ho1 there is no significant difference in
students achievement in English as a foreign language (EFL) between
CALL users and nonusers due to treatment regardless of instructor? was
tested. The analysis of covariance rejected the null hypothesis revealing a
significant difference between CALL users and nonusers. CALL users
achievement in EFL was significantly higher than nonusers (f = 94.79, p
<.001). This significant difference between the two groups favoring CALL
users was an indication of the effect of CALL on improving students knowl-
edge and competency in EFL (Table 1).
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132 Almekhlafi

Table 1
Difference Between CALL Users and Nonusers in EFL Achievement

Source SS DF MS F p
Between groups 4585.82 1 4585.82 94.79 .00**
Between instructors 80.700 1 80.70 .67 .20
Group-instructor interaction 312.477 1 312.48 6.46 .01*
Error 3773.74 78 48.38
Total 391922.22 83
**p <.01 *p <.05

To answer question number 2, Ho2 there is no significant difference in


students achievement in English as a foreign language (EFL) between par-
ticipants due to instructor regardless of treatment? was tested. The analysis
accepted the hypothesis, which indicated that the instructor did not affect the
students achievement. In other words, CALL users scoring significantly
higher than nonusers indicated that the effect was due to CALL rather than
other variables (see Table 1). As can be seen from Table 1, all users scored
significantly higher than the control group regardless of the instructor. These
results were in alignment with the principles of constructivism, which is
used as part of the theoretical framework for this study. Constructivism
claimed that technology could (a) provide a context for learning that sup-
ports both autonomy and relatedness, (b) could support self-regulation
through the promotion of skills and attitudes, and (c) could strengthen the
learner's tendency to engage in intentional learning processes. In addition,
this significant difference is consistent with other studies that investigated
the effect of CALL on learning foreign languages (Charischak, 2000; Vrtac-
nik et al.; 2000; Ayres, 2002; Nesselhauf & Tschichold, 2002; Egbert et al.,
2002; Robert, 2002; Cushion & Dominique, 2002; Schwienhorst, 2002;
Jung, 2002; Bayraktar, 2002; Chikamatsu, 2003; Fenfang, 2003).
To answer question 3 Is there a significant difference in students
achievement in English as a foreign language (EFL) between participants
due to the group-instructor interaction effects? the results of the analysis
rejected the hypothesis indicating a significant difference between means as
a result of the group-instructor interaction. To explore the source of the inter-
action, Least Square Means were conducted. Results indicated significant
interaction between all means with the exception of control-teacher A and
control-teacher B (Table 2). This interaction could be all related to the use
of CALL in the study.
To answer question 4, Ho4 was tested using independent sample t-tests.
Results of the analysis rejected the hypothesis indicating that Computer
Competency, Years of Computer Experience, and Daily hours using
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Table 2
Resource of Interaction between Group (Experimental vs. Control) and
Teacher (Teacher A vs. Teacher B)

Interaction
Group LS Mean E-A E-B C-A C-B
Experimental-teacher A (E-A) 70.7 __ 0.008** 0.00** 0.00**
Experimental-teacher B (E-B) 76.7 __ __ 0.00** 0.00**
Control-teacher A (C-A) 59.5 __ __ __ 0.38
Control-teacher B (C-B) 57.6 __ __ __ __
**p <.01

computer make a difference in benefiting from CALL. As can be seen from


Table 3, CALL users with advanced computer competency, who had more
years of computer experience, and who spent more time using computers
scored significantly higher than CALL users who had lower computer com-
petency, less computer experience, and spent less time using computers.
The mean scores for the first group were 83.89, 84.58, and 82.89 respec-
tively while mean scores for the second group were 62.90, 64.24, and 62.86
(Table 3). This result suggests that to make maximum use of CALL, users
should get some training to increase their computer competency.
To answer question 5, Ho5 there is no significant difference between
perceived knowledge mean scores of participants before and after the use of

Table 3
Differences in Mean Scores of Posttest of CALL Users Based on Time,
Computer Competency, Years of Experience, and Daily Time Using Computers

Variable Group1 Group2 t


Computer Competency1 62.90 83.89 -5.2**
Years of Experience2 64.24 84.58 -4.9**
Daily hours using computer3 62.86 82.89 -4.7**
**p <.01
1
Users were categorized into two groups based on their computer competency. The first group included the participants
who reported below average (on a 5-point scale extending from Advanced to Beginner) computer competency (n=23)
and the other group included participants who reported average or higher computer competency (n=18).
2
Users were categorized into two groups based on the number of years of computer experience: The first group includ-
ed the participants who reported 3 years or less of computer experience (n=24) and the other group included partic-
ipants who reported more than 3 years of computer experience (n=16).
3
Users were categorized into two groups based on the daily number of hours they reported using computers: The first
group included the participants who reported less than 3 hours daily using the computer (n=21) and the other group
included participants who reported 3 or more hours using computers (n=19).
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134 Almekhlafi

CALL (experimental group) was tested using paired t-test. Result of the
analysis rejected the hypothesis indicating that users' perception of knowl-
edge gain as a result of using CALL was prevalent. There was a significant
difference (p <.01) between the mean score of participants before and after
use. Participants mean score of their perceived knowledge of EFL before
CALL use was 4.2 while it was 5.8 after use on a 7-point scale.
To answer question 6, Ho6 CALL use has no effect on users mean scores
in attitude towards, perceived utility of, and have intention to use CALL in the
future was tested. Descriptive statistics were run and showed high mean
scores on the above variables. CALL users mean scores were 5.3, 5.9, and 6.0
respectively in attitude, utility, and intention to use CALL (Table 4).
The data showed that CALL users had a positive attitude toward CALL,
perceived its utility for helping them learn EFL, and had a strong intention
to use it in the future. This is also supported by their high scores on Incli-
nation to use CALL because it increases interaction with the course con-
tent, Satisfaction with learning experience using CALL, and Liking
CALL being part of learning experience. This positive attitude and satis-
faction with CALL lead to high intention to use CALL in the future because
of the benefits users perceived, as predicted by the Fishbeins Attitude The-
ory, which was used as part of the theoretical framework. Results of study
were in agreement with other studies pertaining to attitude towards CALL
(Escalada & Zollman, 1997; Holmes, 1998; Klassen & Milton, 1999;
Robert, 2002; Vrtacnik et al., 2000; Noriko, 2002).

Table 4
CALL Users Mean Scores on Attitude, Utility, and Intention to Use It in
the Future and Other Related Variables

Variable Mean SD
Overall attitude toward CALL 5.3 1.8
Utility of CALL for understanding course content 5.9 1.4
Intent to use CALL in the future to learn about course content 6.0 1.4
Ease of use of CALL 5.9 2.0
Experience using computer-based CDs 6.1 1.7
Comfort using CALL to learn course content 6.2 1.1
Inclination to use CALL because of its educational benefits 6.0 1.3
Inclination to use CALL because of interaction increase 6.3 1.3
Satisfaction with learning experience using CALL 6.2 1.6
I like CALL being part of my learning experience 5.8 1.8

Note. The items were based on a 7-point bipolar probability and evaluative scales extending from extremely high or
positive (7) to extremely low or negative (1).
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The Effect of CALL on Students Achievement and Attitude 135

OPEN-ENDED RESPONSES
The questionnaire included two open-ended items; one of which asked
CALL users to list the advantages of using CALL to learn the language, while
the other asked the participants to list the disadvantages of using CALL to learn
the language. Table 5 reports these advantages and disadvantages by frequen-
cy. The categories listed were created by the researcher using Weber's model
(1990), and based on responses from CALL users. The categories reflected
essential elements that were grouped according to meanings and given a label.
As can be seen from Table 5, multimedia elements such as pictures and
drawings, improving learning and comprehension, helping in doing
course assignments, and teaching reading and grammar were the most
prevalent advantages of CALL.

Study Limitations
1. Study sample was taken from Al-Ain, Abu Dhabi. Therefore, results
might be generalizable only to Abu Dhabi, UAE.
2. The study was conducted in an elementary-prep school. Thus,
results can not be generalized to all K-12 schools or higher educa-
tion institutions.
3. The study was conducted with EFL students whose mother tongue
is Arabic. Results might not be generalized to non-Arabic speakers.
4. The study focused on male students. Results might not be general-
ized to both male and female students.

Table 5
Frequency of the Advantages and Disadvantages of CALL as
Reported by Users

Advantages
Multimedia Elements (e.g., pictures, sound, drawings, colors) 18
Improving learning and comprehension 16
Helping in doing course assignments 12
Teaching reading and grammar 11
Helping in doing well in exams 9
Entertaining 5
Disadvantages
Computer problems 3
Difficult to use 3

Note. Themes were created by researcher based on participants responses to the open-ended items.
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136 Almekhlafi

IMPLICATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS


Conclusion
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of CALL
on learning EFL by elementary-prep school students in the UAE. Results
showed that there was a significant difference in achievement between
CALL users and nonusers in learning EFL. Studys results were in alignment
with the results of Smith and Woody (2000); Triantafillou, Pomportsis, and
Demetriadis (2003); Charischak (2000); Vrtacnik et al. (2000); Ayres
(2002); Nesselhauf and Tschichold (2002); Egbert et al. (2002); Robert
(2002); Cushion and Dominique (2002); Schwienhorst (2002); Jung (2002);
Bayraktar (2002); Chikamatsu (2003); and Fenfang, 2003.
In addition, study results showed that the higher the computer skills, and
the more computer experience, and the more time using computers, the more
benefit language learners get from CALL. Thus, to maximize students ben-
efit from CALL, students should be trained on how to use CALL and should
be encouraged to increase their competency of using computers. Further-
more, CALL users had a positive attitude toward using CALL and had a high
intention and satisfaction to use it in the future due to their perception of its
utility and educational benefits. Results also showed a high self-perception
of knowledge gain as a result of using CALL.

Implications
Based on the results outlined, many implications can be concluded:
1. CALL could be a very useful tool for teaching EFL. It could be used
as a classroom instructional tool, the effect of which was docu-
mented in research (e.g., Almekhlafi, 2004) or as an independent
tool, the effect of which is documented in this study.
2. EFL teachers should be encouraged and given incentives to inte-
grate CALL in their teaching, and hence improve their students lan-
guage proficiency.
3. As the UAE is becoming an international market, where thousands
of companies are pouring into the country, the integration of CALL
in K-12 schools becomes important. Using CALL effectively will
result in improving students preparedness to deal with the new
demands that require fluency in international languages.
4. Using CALL in and outside the classroom will help teachers meet
individual differences in learning styles as technology can satisfy
visual learners, auditory learners, and audio-visual learners.
5. CALL can give the language teacher some change in her/his role as cer-
tain activities can be given to students to work on at home using CALL.
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The Effect of CALL on Students Achievement and Attitude 137

Recommendations
However, to generalize the effects of CALL on learning, the following
recommendations for future research should be taken into consideration:
1. Research should be conducted to investigate the effect of CALL on
learning English in K-12 schools, both public and private, and high-
er education institutions such as colleges and universities. Conduct-
ing such research might give better ideas on the effect of CALL on
learning EFL, hence results will be more generalizable.
2. Further research is needed to study the use of CALL comparing
classroom use versus individual use. Conducting a research where
the whole class is using CALL as part of their daily lessons versus
an independent use of CALL might give a better understanding of
the best strategies to apply CALL in teaching and learning.
3. Further research is needed to study CALL taking gender into
account. Comparing male versus female CALL use might shed some
light on whether CALL effect on learning is affected by gender.
4. As this study was conducted with Arabic-speaking students. Further
research is needed to investigate the effect on CALL on non-Arabic
speaking students.
5. Qualitative research such as observing students using CALL is
needed. This kind of research might shed light on the best tech-
niques and strategies to use CALL. Due to the fact that this study
depended on quantitative data collection, conducting focus group
interviews or students observations while using CALL will increase
our understanding of CALL utility for learning EFL and the strate-
gies users follow to maximize their benefit.2

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The Effect of CALL on Students Achievement and Attitude 141

Notes
1
Field independent refers to learners who are generally analytical in their approach of the environment. They
tend to be intrinsically motivated and enjoy individualized learning. On the other hand, field dependent refers
to learners who are more global in their perceptions and have difficulty separating the part from the com-
plex organization of the whole (Witkin, Moore, Goodenough, & Cox, 1977).
2
The researcher is grateful to Professor AbdulMoneim Hassan, Professor Yousef El-Emam of United Arab
Emirates University, and to Professor Peggy Kelly of California State University, San Marcus for their valuable
ideas to improve the manuscript.

APPENDIX
Samples of Materials Used in the Study

Examples of screen shots from the CALL CD used in the study

Read the following passage, then answer the questions.


Today, mankind is living in danger. It appears that we have come to the
end of our journey. The earth, the only home we have, has become a dan-
gerous place. It may explode into pieces at any moment.
Man has been living on this earth for thousands of years. It has given him
everything he needed. Now, it has become dangerous because of many
harmful inventions.
Unfortunately, science which provided many solutions to human prob-
lems has brought more fear and danger than hope and comfort. At first, it
appeared to be the greatest friend and helper of man. It helped in curing
many diseases and it promised to end hunger and poverty and change this
earth to paradise.
But what has it actually accomplished? It has not eliminated the difficul-
ties of life. Man still suffers in some parts of the world from poverty, famine,
death and destruction
It's true that science has brought many comforts to man and has made his
life easier. But this gift was poisoned by evil and greedy spirits of those self-
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142 Almekhlafi

ish men of mankind. The advanced, powerful nations exploit and oppress the
weaker and smaller countries. Also, science has broken up established institu-
tions. Therefore, it has not produced a better and happier world for everybody.
One has to admit that science is a doubleedged weapon. If it is directed
to the welfare of life it will be blessing, otherwise it will be a curse.
Answer the questions below and then click submit to send your answers.
A. Mark the following sentences True or False by clicking in the radio button :
1. Man nowadays lives in peace and welfare.
True False
2. Science failed to eliminate the difficulties of life.
True False
3. Science and technology have evil deeds and good deeds.
True False
4. Curing diseases are one of the merits of science.
True False
5. Science has brought more hope than fear.
True False
B. Fill in the missing information in the following sentences:
The earth has become a dangerous place because of many

6. Man still suffer in some parts of the world from ,


death and destruction
The advanced powerful nations exploit and the weaker and smaller countries.
C. Answer the following questions:
7. What did scientific inventions promise to be in the beginning?

8. When can science be blessing?

End of Part One

Letter Writing
1. Write a letter to your friend , Rashid , in Qatar telling him about the importance
of the Internet.
Your name is Ahmed and your address is P.O. Box 896 Al- Ain .
Write in the window below, don't forget to use the proper layout.