EFL: Computer-Assisted Reading Instruction
University of Sydney
This study examined the impact of Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) on
Korean TAFE college students in an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) reading
classroom in terms of their perceptions of learning effectiveness, tutor, classroom interest
and difficulty. This study compared CALL and traditional reading classes over one
semester. A group of 74 first year English majors students were divided evenly into 2
classes. Both groups were taught by the same teacher and covered the same topics in their
weekly two-hour reading lesson. A written survey was also administered at the end of the
semester. Group interviews supplemented the data obtained from the surveys. The
questionnaires were analyzed by a principle component factor analysis, a repeated-
measure ANOVA and a discriminant analysis whereas the interview with teacher and
students were analyzed by a content analysis. Most students in the CALL class showed
positive responses. Students in CALL-based English class perceived their learning
environment offered ample opportunities for collaboration and mutual support, as well as
for exposure to, and interaction with, a variety of interesting, enjoyable and useful
materials and tasks.
In recent years, there has been much research about various aspects of teaching and learning a
second language. One of the most significant recent developments impacting on teachers and
learners in language education programs is educational technology, in particular the use of the
computer in the language classroom (Warschauer, 2000; Chapelle, 2000; Levy, 2000). With the
government of South Korea promoting globalization since 1997, both information technology and
English language education have developed rapidly (Kim, 2000). Information technology and
communicative competence in English have become central to the move towards globalization,
and the number of English learners and teachers using computers has increased significantly in
recent years (Kwak, 2001).
One of the areas of most rapid expansion in English language education in Korea is Computer
Assisted Language Learning (CALL). The range of possibilities in CALL has become wider than
ever before, with the technology related to computers and networks developing at a tremendous
pace. The use of CALL in English teaching and learning is now very diverse, including the use of
multimedia-based CD ROMs, E-mail and the Internet, as well as more traditional word
processing and instructional software.
Research in the field of computer-assisted language learning has certainly developed in the last 20
years (Warschauer, 1996, 2000; Chapelle, 1998, 2000; Levy, 2000, 1997; Chapelle, &
Hegelheimer, 2000; Kern, 1995; Sullivan & Pratt, 1996; Dunkel, 1991). However, there appears
to have been few studies of the issues, problems, and potential solutions relating to the impact of
computers on English language teaching and learning within a Korean context, particularly in a
The primary aim of this study is to investigate how CALL can be effectively integrated into
learning of English reading in a Korean context, and to consider some of the advantages,
disadvantages and problems arising from the use of CALL in learning English.
The secondary aim is to examine the similarities and differences between the traditional English
class and the CALL based English class in the Korean context through the reading class in terms
of classroom effectiveness, interest, tutor and classroom difficulty. The implications of these
similarities and differences will be investigated in order to assess the impact of computers at the
college level English as Foreign Language (EFL) classes in Korea. The research questions are as
1 To what extent is CALL-based learning (dis)-similar to traditional English learning in the English
reading class of Korean College context?
2 In what ways do these differences impact on Korean EFL students learning of English?
This study compared the CALL and traditional reading class over one semester in terms of
perception of learning environment. The two classes were taught by the same teacher. Both
classes had a two-hour reading lesson per week covering the same topic. The same textbooks
were used for the first session. However, during the second session, one class learnt English
reading using the computer, while the other class learnt English reading continuing to use the
same text that was used in the first session.
The same instruments were used for the two classes, which enabled comparison of the CALL and
traditional reading class. The written survey was administered at the end of the semester. In
addition, group interviews with students from the two different classes, and with the teacher, were
conducted to supplement the data obtained from the surveys.
The subjects for this study were 74 first year English majors from one college of technology in
Korea. They were allocated randomly to two classes of 37 students, where one was the CALL
based English reading class and the other was a traditional English reading class.
All of students both in the traditional English classroom and CALL based English classroom were
in their 20s, and their mean age was 21.5 years in the traditional class and 21.0 years in the
CALL based class. According to sources from the school, all students were high school graduates.
In addition, the female students outnumber male students both in the traditional English class and
the CALL based English class.
There are no significant differences between the traditional English class and CALL based
English class in terms of their age (t= 0.835, p= 0.408 ), gender [Class (2) by Sex (2) contingency
table Chi 2
= 0.939)] and their education background, and this indicates that the two groups are
very similar. Therefore, it was concluded that comparisons could be made between the traditional
English class and CALL based English class.
All data collected were systematically entered into a computer for quantitative and qualitative
analyses. Quantitative data were arranged into spreadsheets, and later analysed using the
Statistical Package for the Social Science (SPSS), version 11.5.
Recorded interviews were transcribed. Qualitative data, including focus-group interview
transcripts and open-ended items included in the surveys, were subjected to content analysis, in
order to identify emerging themes and trends.
There were four factors extracted from the Survey by a principle component factor analysis and a
repeated measures ANOVA were used to examine statically factor score differences between the
two methods of instruction (classes). Consequently, the two methods of instruction (Classes) were
compared in terms of the factor scores and then a discriminant analysis detected three items
which best differentiated the two classes.
Description of Extracted Factors: Quantitative data extracted from the Survey were submitted to
an exploratory principle component factor analysis with varimax rotation, in order to identify
relationships among items and, therefore, the subscales or factors which could be taken as
summary measures of the items. Negative items were reverse scored (e.g, item 19), so that a
positive factor score reflected a positive perception. The four extracted factors, which each
included items that loaded more than 0.550, measured learners perceptions of:
Course effectiveness (items16, 3, 6, 15): This subscale reported learners evaluations of their
understanding of the academic subject, as well as availability of informative feedback and the
effectiveness of materials;
16 I have learned a lot in this course (.809)
3 You get feedback in tutorials which helps you learn (.724)
6 The material is useful. (.720)
15 I have gained a good understanding of the language system (.694)
Tutor (items 13, 12, 14, 7): This subscale collected learners evaluations of their tutors
contributions and comments, as well as on the tutors attitudes to their teaching.
13 The tutor knows the subject matter well (.885)
12 The tutor stresses important points (.774)
14 The tutor communicates his/her enthusiasm for the subject (.747)
7 The tutor is professional in attitude (.672)
Course interest (items 1, 10, 19, 18): This subscale included presenting materials in an interesting
way, as well as learners disposition towards recommending the course to fellow students.
10 The tutor presents material in an interesting way (.898)
1 The tutorials are well organised (.651)
19 I would recommended this language course to fellow students. (.607)
18 I found the language course interesting (.568)
Course difficulty (item 17): this item was considered separately, since it did not appear to be
related to any other included in the survey. Learners were asked to state whether they had
perceived the course to be more difficult than other subjects for their course.
17 The subjects was