Investigating the effectiveness of a learning activity supported by a mobile multimedia learning system to enhance autonomous EFL learning in authentic contexts

  • Rustam Shadiev
  • Wu-Yuin HwangEmail author
  • Tzu-Yu Liu
Development Article


A learning activity supported by a mobile multimedia learning system (MMLS) was designed in this study. We aimed to test the effectiveness of the learning activity to enhance autonomous language learning in quasi-experimental Study 1 using a pretest/posttest design. Two groups participated in the learning activity: the students in a control group (n = 27) completed the activity using traditional approach whereas the students in an experimental group (n = 26) completed the activity using MMLS. The results of Study 1 showed that the experimental students outperformed their counterparts on the post-test (F = 29.602, p < 0.005, partial eta-squared = 0.372). In a non-experimental Study 2, the experimental students (n = 26) were assigned two learning tasks, the first task was completed individually and the second task in collaboration. We aimed to investigate which learning approach to complete tasks (i.e. individual vs. collaborative) enhances learning performance better by comparing students’ scores on two tasks. In addition, we explored students’ perceptions towards MMLS. The results of Study 2 showed that the students had better learning performance when they completed tasks in collaboration than individually. The results also showed that the students had high perceptions towards MMLS. Based on our results, we make suggestions and provide directions for future research.


Autonomy Language learning Mobile multimedia learning system Individual versus collaborative learning Perceptions Authentic contexts 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. Agbatogun, A. O. (2014). Developing learners’ second language communicative competence through active learning: Clickers or communicative approach? Educational Technology & Society, 17(2), 257–269.Google Scholar
  2. Aranda, A., Dieste, O., & Juristo, N. (2014). Evidence of the presence of bias in subjective metrics: Analysis within a family of experiments. In Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Evaluation and Assessment in Software Engineering (p. 24). ACM.Google Scholar
  3. Awofeso, N., Hassan, M., & Hamidi, S. (2016). Individual and collaborative technology-mediated learning using question & answer online discussion forums—perceptions of Public Health learners in Dubai, UAE. Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning, 31(1), 54–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barrett, H. C. (2007). Researching electronic portfolios and learner engagement: The REFLECT initiative. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 50(6), 436–449.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bower, M., & Sturman, D. (2015). What are the educational affordances of wearable technologies? Computers & Education, 88, 343–353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chai, C. S., Wong, L. H., & King, R. B. (2016). Surveying and modeling students’ motivation and learning strategies for mobile-assisted seamless Chinese language learning. Educational Technology & Society, 19(3), 170–180.Google Scholar
  7. Chan, V. (2001). Readiness for learner autonomy: What do our learners tell us? Teaching in Higher Education, 6(4), 505–518.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chen, C. M., & Li, Y. L. (2010). Personalised context-aware ubiquitous learning system for supporting effective English vocabulary learning. Interactive Learning Environments, 18(4), 341–364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cotterall, S. (2000). Promoting learner autonomy through the curriculum: Principles for designing language courses. ELT Journal, 54(2), 109–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Creswell, J. W. (2014). Educational research: Planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative. Boston, MA: Pearson Education.Google Scholar
  11. Dafei, D. (2007). An exploration of the relationship between learner autonomy and English proficiency. Asian EFL Journal, 24(4), 24–34.Google Scholar
  12. Dang, T. T. (2010). Learner autonomy in EFL studies in Vietnam: A discussion from sociocultural perspective. English Language Teaching, 3(2), 1–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Davis, F. D. (1989). Perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, and user acceptance of information technology. MIS Quarterly, 13(3), 319–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fraenkel, J. R., Wallen, N. E., & Hyun, H. H. (2014). How to design and evaluate research in education. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  15. Guilherme, M. (2007). English as a global language and education for cosmopolitan citizenship. Language and Intercultural Communication, 7(1), 72–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Holec, H. (1981). Autonomy and Foreign Language Learning. Oxford: Pergamon.Google Scholar
  17. Hsu, C. K., Hwang, G. J., Chang, Y. T., & Chang, C. K. (2013). Effects of video caption modes on English listening comprehension and vocabulary acquisition using handheld devices. Educational Technology & Society, 16(1), 403–414.Google Scholar
  18. Huang, Y. M., Shadiev, R., Sun, A., Hwang, W. Y., & Liu, T. Y. (2017). A study of the cognitive diffusion model: facilitating students’ high level cognitive processes with authentic support. Educational Technology Research and Development, 65(3), 505–531.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Huang, C. S. J., Yang, S. J. H., Chiang, T. H. C., & Su, A. Y. S. (2016). Effects of situated mobile learning approach on learning motivation and performance of EFL students. Educational Technology & Society, 19(1), 263–276.Google Scholar
  20. Hwang, W. Y., Chen, H. S. L., Shadiev, R., Huang, Y. M., & Chen, C. Y. (2014a). Improving English as a foreign language writing in elementary schools using mobile devices in familiar situational contexts. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 27(5), 359–378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hwang, W. Y., Huang, Y. M., Shadiev, R., Wu, S. Y., & Chen, S. L. (2014b). Effects of using mobile devices on English listening diversity and speaking for EFL elementary students. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 30(5), 503–516.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hwang, W. Y., Ma, Z. H., Shadiev, R., Shih, T. K., & Chen, S. Y. (2016). Evaluating listening and speaking skills in a mobile game-based learning environment with situational contexts. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 29(4), 639–657.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kelch, K. (2010). Curriculum development in English language teaching: Innovations and challenges for the Asian context. The International Journal of Organizational Innovation, 3, 22–42.Google Scholar
  24. Kondo, M., Ishikawa, Y., Smith, C., Sakamoto, K., Shimomura, H., & Wada, N. (2012). Mobile assisted language learning in university EFL courses in Japan: Developing attitudes and skills for self-regulated learning. ReCALL, 24(2), 169–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lee, E., & Hannafin, M. J. (2016). A design framework for enhancing engagement in student-centered learning: own it, learn it, and share it. Educational Technology Research and Development, 64(4), 707–734.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Leis, A., Tohei, A., & Cooke, S. D. (2015). Smartphone assisted language learning and autonomy. International Journal of Computer-Assisted Language Learning and Teaching, 5(3), 75–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Li, Z., & Hegelheimer, V. (2013). Mobile-assisted grammar exercises: Effects on self-editing in L2 writing. Language Learning & Technology, 17(3), 135–156.Google Scholar
  28. Lin, C. C. (2014). Learning English reading in a mobile-assisted extensive reading program. Computers & Education, 78, 48–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lin, C. C., & Yu, Y. C. (2016). Effects of presentation modes on mobile-assisted vocabulary learning and cognitive load. Interactive Learning Environments, 25(4), 528–542.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Little, D. (2002) Learner autonomy and second/foreign language learning. In The guide to good practice for learning and teaching in languages, linguistics and area studies. LTSN Subject Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies, University of Southampton.Google Scholar
  31. Little, D. (2007). Language learner autonomy: Some fundamental considerations revisited. International Journal of Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 1(1), 14–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Ma, Q. (2017). A multi-case study of university students’ language-learning experience mediated by mobile technologies: A socio-cultural perspective. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 30(3–4), 183–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Matlock-Hetzel, S. (1997). Basic Concepts in item and test analysis. In: Meeting of the Southwest Educational Research Association, San Antonio. (ERIC Document: ED406441). Retrieved from
  34. Nation, I. S. P. (2006). How large a vocabulary is needed for reading and listening? Canadian Modern Language Review, 63(1), 59–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Nunan, D. (2003). The impact of English as a global language on educational policies and practices in the Asia-Pacific region. Tesol Quarterly, 37, 589–613.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Oxford, R. L. (1999). Relationships between second language learning strategies and language proficiency in the context of learner autonomy and self-regulation. Revista Canaria de Estudios Ingleses, 38, 108–126.Google Scholar
  37. Retnowati, E., Ayres, P., & Sweller, J. (2017). Can collaborative learning improve the effectiveness of worked examples in learning mathematics? Journal of Educational Psychology, 109(5), 666–679.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Reynolds, B. L. (2015). A mixed-methods approach to investigating first-and second-language incidental vocabulary acquisition through the reading of fiction. Reading Research Quarterly, 50(1), 111–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Sawaya, S. (2015). Wearable devices in education. In P. Redmond, J. Lock, & P. A. Danaher (Eds.), Educational innovations and contemporary technologies (pp. 36–50). London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  40. Shadiev, R., Huang, Y. M., Hwang, W. Y., & Liu, T. Y. (2017a). Cognitive diffusion model: Facilitating EFL learning in an authentic environment. IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies, 10(2), 168–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Shadiev, R., Huang, Y. M., Hwang, W. Y., & Liu, T. Y. (2018). Facilitating application of language skills in authentic environments with a mobile learning system. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 34, 42–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Shadiev, R., Hwang, W. Y., & Huang, Y. M. (2017b). Review of research on mobile language learning in authentic environments. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 30(3–4), 284–303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Shadiev, R., Hwang, W. Y., Huang, Y. M., & Liu, T. Y. (2015). The impact of supported and annotated mobile learning on achievement and cognitive load. Educational Technology & Society, 18(4), 53–69.Google Scholar
  44. Sweller, J., Ayres, P., & Kalyuga, S. (2011). Cognitive load theory. New York, NY: Springer. Scholar
  45. Tilfarlioglu, F. Y., & Ciftci, F. S. (2011). Supporting self-efficacy and learner autonomy in relation to academic success in EFL classrooms (a case study). Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 1(10), 1284–1294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Wang, S., & Smith, S. (2013). Reading and grammar learning through mobile phones. Language Learning & Technology, 17(3), 117–134.Google Scholar
  47. Watanabe, Y., & Swain, M. (2007). Effects of proficiency differences and patterns of pair interaction on second language learning: collaborative dialogue between adult ESL learners. Language Teaching Research, 11(2), 121–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Zhang, S. (2016). Mobile English learning: An empirical study on an APP, English fun dubbing. International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning, 11(12), 4–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Association for Educational Communications and Technology 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nanjing Normal UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.National Central UniversityJhongliTaiwan
  3. 3.Bei-Zheng Junior High SchoolTaipeiTaiwan

Personalised recommendations