An Evaluation of an Internet-Based Learning Model from EFL Perspectives

| April 2, 2008
An Evaluation of an Internet-Based Learning Model from EFL Perspectives

Keywords: authentic and collaborative tasks, WebQuests in EFL contexts

Malinee Prapinwong and Nunthika Puthikanon
Lunghwa University of Science and Technology, Taiwan

Bio Data
Malinee Prapinwong is currently a Ph.D. candidate/online instructor in the Language Education Department, Indiana University Bloomington. Her research interests include Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL), E-Learning, ESL/EFL methodology and assessment and Critical Literacy

Nunthika Puthikanon is currently a doctoral student/online instructor in the Language Education Department at Indiana University Bloomington. She also holds a tenured faculty position in English Department at Thammasat University, Thailand. Her research interests include Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL), Web 2.0, and Critical Literacy.

World Wide Web emerges as a potential language learning resource, which has received much attention over the past decade. Among numerous technology-enhanced applications, WebQuest has become one of the popular learning models which makes use of Internet resources by engaging students in authentic and collaborative tasks. WebQuests are believed to be theoretically and pedagogically sound for language learning; however, there have not been any studies, which explore the usefulness of WebQuests in EFL contexts. While the use of WebQuests has been widely promoted, a question remained: Are these tools really applicable for EFL learners? In this study, we explored characteristics of WebQuests and created a working rubric to critically evaluate WebQuests based on five factors: level of vocabulary and grammar, content/prior knowledge, interestingness, assistance / scaffolding and task demand. Based on the rubric, we have assessed fifteen of the most popular WebQuests and found a 100% interrater agreement. The results indicated that only 26% of the selected WebQuests could easily be adopted for EFL instruction while most of them needed to be modified. A number of WebQuests were found to be culturally or socially irrelevant to EFL learners. To conclude, we discuss several aspects of WebQuests, which can benefit EFL learners if they are used in EFL classes.

See pages: 1-25

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Category: Monthly Editions, Volume 27