Electronic portfolios in the foreign language classroom: Motivation, self-efficacy, autonomy and goal setting, and beliefs
Julie Thill, George Mason University, United States
George Mason University . Awarded
This mixed methods study examined the impact of an electronic portfolio for learning implemented in a Spanish IV classroom. The quantitative portion addressed the impact of the electronic portfolio for learning on four separate affective variables: motivation, self-efficacy, autonomy and goal setting, and beliefs. The qualitative portion addressed the students' experience of the electronic portfolio for learning on their view of their language learning and their interpretation of the experience.
Participants were 62 Spanish IV students in a suburban high school. They were divided into two groups: an experimental group and a control group. The experimental group received the treatment, an electronic portfolio for learning, while the control group used their time to continue with the regular activities of the classroom. The treatment continued over a seven month period.
To determine the effect of the electronic portfolio for learning on the four separate variables, a survey was given to the participants, pre and post treatment. The survey was constructed primarily using questions already found in the literature- with additional questions to address autonomy and goal setting.
Three focus groups of four students each from the experimental group were interviewed to better understand the impact of the electronic portfolio for learning on the students' view of their language learning and to understand what they gained from the experience from their point of view.
The results of the quantitative analysis of the survey showed the difference in gains between the experimental and control groups in the four separate affective variables were not statistically significant. These findings were confirmed through the use of an Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA). The focus groups revealed an impact of the electronic portfolio for learning on student motivation through recognition of strengths and improvement. Goal setting proved to be an effective element of the portfolio. Setting goals enhanced learning and encouraged student learning that went beyond the classroom and into the community.
Thill, J. Electronic portfolios in the foreign language classroom: Motivation, self-efficacy, autonomy and goal setting, and beliefs. Ph.D. thesis, George Mason University.
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