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Student response systems' virtual interaction effects on learning in adult second language classes

, Boston University, United States

Boston University . Awarded


In an English as a second language (ESL) or English as a foreign language (EFL) class, special emphasis is often put on interaction and negotiation as a means of learning and understanding the language being taught (Long, 1981; Pica, 1994). However, student-student interaction as well as student-teacher interaction could be difficult to achieve in students who, for various reasons, avoid opportunities to practice their oral communication knowledge and skills with their peers and teachers.

Student response systems (SRSs) are known to increase student achievement and/or interaction in a variety of grade levels in content domains such as math and physics. Students utilize individual hand-held devices, similar to television remote controls, to respond to multiple-choice questions. The public display of aggregate student responses allows for instantaneous feedback to the teacher and students through bar graphs or pie charts.

This quasi-experimental mixed-method study investigates the effects of SRS use on student engagement, interaction, and achievement for three intermediate ESL grammar units in two adult higher education settings. Data were collected from five treatment groups using SRSs and five control groups not using SRS. Students' achievements and the robustness of their learning were quantitatively assessed through the analysis of their pre-test, post-test and delayed post-test grades. Qualitative data were also gathered in this study by using classroom video-taping and analyzing students' behavior in SRS and non-SRS classes.

An independent samples T-test was conducted on the difference of post-test and pre-test scores in order to identify achievement, and on the difference of delayed post-test and post-test scores in order to determine whether students' learning is robust. Neither of these comparisons resulted in statistically significant differences between combined SRS and combined non-SRS classes. Results of the qualitative portion of the study revealed that students in the SRS classes paid more attention to the lecture and engaged in more discussion, and as a result student-student and student-teacher interaction was achieved.

In conclusion, the results of this study reveal that SRSs have a positive impact when used to facilitate active learning strategies and promote interaction in the ESL classroom. These results provide evidence to support the claim that interaction and active learning are possible through the use of SRS-implemented instruction. From the results of the study, it is concluded that while the tool itself has had no statistically significant effect on students' immediate achievement, rather the study demonstrates that Student Response Systems provide the conditions necessary for form-focused student-to-student and student-to-teacher interaction. This active learning encourages the production of language, which can lead to achievement over time.


Fassihi Langroodi, S.P. Student response systems' virtual interaction effects on learning in adult second language classes. Ph.D. thesis, Boston University. Retrieved March 7, 2021 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

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