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Attitudes of second language learners of Arabic and their teachers to mobile assisted language learning

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Alqarni, AAA ORCID: 0000-0002-5797-1110 2021 , 'Attitudes of second language learners of Arabic and their teachers to mobile assisted language learning', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

This research investigated the attitudes of second language (L2) Arabic learners and their teachers in Saudi Arabia towards using mobile devices in their Arabic language learning. This included who was using mobile devices, what kind of mobile devices were being used, how the devices were being used in the Arabic language, what their attitude was towards using mobile devices, and what factors were affecting their attitude toward using mobile devices.
A mixed-methods sequential explanatory design was used. This process involved two distinct phases: a quantitative phase, followed by a qualitative one. A total of 303 learners of L2 Arabic and 150 teachers, from seven Arabic language institutes, participated in the quantitative phase of the study using a questionnaire. Sixteen L2 Arabic learners and 14 teachers participated in the qualitative phase through semi-structured interviews. A random stratified sampling technique was used for selecting the participants in the quantitative phase, whilst a purposeful technique was used for the qualitative phase.
The findings of the study revealed that mobile devices were widespread between L2 Arabic learners and their teachers. The most common use of mobile devices was focused on social media and dictionary applications. Although there were many mobile applications and online programmes which taught Arabic as a second language, including two applications were launched by Saudi universities, none of the participants mentioned using any of these applications. Interviews indicated that there was an apparent lack of awareness around what mobile applications and online programmes, or websites were available for L2 Arabic learning and teaching. This explained why their usage was limited to social media and dictionary applications.
L2 Arabic learners and teachers showed a positive attitude towards using mobile devices in Arabic language learning and agreed with the noted benefits of using them in class. Such benefits included the new opportunities brought in by mobile devices (M = 4.4, SD = 0.92 for teachers and M = 4.1, SD = 0.97 for learners) which would improve communication between students and teachers (M = 4.1, SD = 1.10 for teachers and M = 4.0, SD = 1.05 for learners).
Using principal component analysis, data analysis revealed three factors which influenced the attitude of L2 Arabic learners and their teachers toward Mobile Assisted Language Learning (MALL). The three factors were prior knowledge, internet-specific considerations, and Arabic specific considerations. The prior knowledge of L2 Arabic learners and their teachers was high and had a positive influence on their attitude toward using mobile devices. 94% of teachers and 86% of learners were able to download mobile applications onto their mobile devices, and 88% of teachers and 82% of learners were able to translate a sentence into another language using their mobile device.
The other two factors, Internet-specific considerations and Arabic specific considerations had a negative impact on their attitude. Arabic specific considerations included items such as unsatisfactory Arabic language learning materials and training/support in Arabic mobile assisted language learning. Internet-specific considerations included the availability of items, speed and reliability of the internet, which were also considered unsatisfactory.
This study is unique in that it investigated the attitude of both L2 Arabic learners and their teachers in Saudi Arabia. The findings from this study revealed the potential for using an adapted model for mobile learning acceptance for L2 Arabic institutes within Saudi Arabia. The application of a model was driven by the data collected, as it aligned with the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) – a model that has received a great deal of attention in the literature on user acceptance of technology; although the TAM was not used specifically, as the study sought to examine Arabic learners’ use of, and attitudes towards, mobile technology.
This adapted model indicated that L2 Arabic learners and teachers, at the seven Arabic language institutes, were ready to accept using mobile devices in their Arabic language learning. However, the lack of awareness around what mobile applications and online programmes were available for L2 Arabic learning and teaching played an essential role in the current use of mobile devices in Arabic language learning.
The results of this study will support Saudi universities in the creation of workflows and strategies to introduce mobile technologies in L2 Arabic learning. This will enhance Saudi Arabia as a leader in the field of teaching Arabic as a second language.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Alqarni, AAA
Keywords: attitudes, second language learning, Arabic language learning, mobile assisted language learning
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2021 the author

Additional Information:

Original work from this thesis has been published as: AlQarni, A., Bown, A., Pullen, D., Masters, J., 2020. Mobile assisted language learning in learning Arabic as a second language in Saudi Arabia, Saudi journal of humanities and social sciences, 5(2),108-115. Copyright 2020. The article is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, adaptation and reproduction in any medium for non-commercial use, provided the original author and source are credited.

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