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Evaluating Computer-Assisted Language Learning

An Integrated Approach to Effectiveness Research in CALL

Jonathan Leakey

Schools, colleges and universities are investing a great deal in the purchase of computer resources for the teaching of modern languages, but whether these resources make a measurable difference to the learning of language students is still unclear. In this book the author outlines the existing evidence for the impact of computers on language learning and makes the case for an integrated approach to the evaluation of computer-assisted language learning (CALL). Drawing on current and past research linked to CALL and e-learning, the author builds a comprehensive model for evaluating not just the software used in language learning, but also the teaching and learning that takes place in computer-based environments, and the digital platforms themselves. This book will be of interest not only to language teachers and CALL researchers, but also to those interested in e-learning and general research methodology, as well as designers of educational software, digital labs, virtual learning environments (VLEs) and institutional budget holders.

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Chapter 4 - A model for evaluating CALL. Part 1: CALL enhancement criteria 73

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Chapter 4 A model for evaluating CALL Part 1: CALL enhancement criteria Introduction to the model for evaluation The lessons learned from the CALL and CAL literature and the Case Studies yielded a prototype (MFE1) which is outlined and anticipated in Figure 4.1 and justified theoretically, and in the light of a review of the relevant literature, in the remainder of this chapter. Those wishing to see the presentation and explanation of the final complete model (MFE2) assembled in the light of lessons learned while conducing the Case Stud- ies, as well as a complete set of evaluative checklists, may skip to the final chapter (Chapter 9). The Case Studies are included to demonstrate how various aspects of the model for evaluation were applied to the Three Ps and trialled in real-life educational settings. There are essentially two routes through the evaluative process, as sug- gested in the conclusion to the previous chapter: a judgmental appraisal of the twelve CALL enhancement criteria in a given unit of CALL teach- ing, and the empirical (qualitative and quantitative) evaluation of that unit through the prism of one, two or all three of the Three Ps (platforms, programs, pedagogy). Using the twelve CALL Enhancement Criteria as a starting point for any CALL evaluation should help to clarify the scope and angle of approach to a planned judgmental and/or empirical enquiry, and help inform the direction and progression of future evaluative studies. The Qualitative and Quantitative Measures route then outlines the pre- cise methodological...

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