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Impact of a Blended Environment with m-Learning on EFL Skills

Mobile learning technologies such as the iPhone, iPad, and others, are rapidly gaining popularity as an effective way to improve foreign language skills. A longitudinal study was carried out from April 2013 to January 2014 to ascertain whether or not a blended learning environment incorporating m-learning could improve the English language proficiency of Japanese undergraduates. This study focused on examining the use of a variety of emerging technologies, from speech recognition to web-based learning, to help determine the effectiveness of the e-learning and m-learning activities. Various emerging technologies (Globalvoice English, ATR CALL Brix, Mobile Learning oriented TOEIC Practice Kit, Course Power) and materials (online MOOCs, TED Talks, top 10 most popular educational web tools) will be presented, including an empirical study that indicates their effect on improving students’ TOEIC scores. The study, begun in April 2013 and ended in January 2014, targeted roughly 100 Japanese undergraduates who were required to spend approximately 50 total hours to complete the on-line TOEIC course and flipped classroom learning materials using a PC and mobile phones for the purpose of improving their proficiency in the four basic English skills. By the end of the semester in January 2014, the students had completed nearly 100% of the on-line course contents and written about 20 TED Talk summaries. The students were administered the TOEIC test as a pretest in April 2013 and as a posttest in January 2014. A questionnaire was also administered to the students after their exposure to the above activities. The results indicated their mean score of TOEIC improved from 570 (SD 102) to 687 (SD 108) during the nine-month period while exposed to the blended-learning environments. After the students were engaged in the flipped classroom lessons with on-line materials, and had delivered their English presentations while making DS, they exhibited a high level of performance, particularly during the second semester, in terms of blog and essay writing about the TED Talks. Globalvoice English software was utilized for practicing English pronunciation in terms of words and prosody before the students delivered their presentations. For the purpose of improving TOEIC scores, Newton’s e-Learning TLT Software was introduced as a form of Web-Based Training (WBT) education materials, developed to allow full expression of the convenience that comes with e-learning in academic settings. The convenience of the software stems from the fact that the educational TLT software materials are an internet-based form of e-learning, as well as being predominantly drill-based, problem-solving exercise materials. The merits of the software lie in the fact that individual learners can ubiquitously review their studies anytime, anywhere. Teachers are also able to uniformly manage the progress and results of their research data observations at the end of the course. In this presentation, I will discuss the details of how to integrate the latest technologies into a technology-enhanced language learning environment with m-learning.


Hiroyuki Obari    
College of Economics
Aoyama Gakuin University

Dr.Obari is a professor in the College of Economics at Aoyama Gakuin University and teaches part-time at Graduate School of Tokyo Institute of Technology. He obtained his TESOL from Columbia University and Computer Science from University of Tsukuba. He made many presentations at major international conferences.

Stephen Lambacher    
School of Social Informatics
Aoyama Gakuin University

Dr. Lambacher is an associate professor at Aoyama Gakuin University. His specialty is CALL.


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