Computer-assisted foreign language learning: Effects of text, context, and gender on listening comprehension and motivation

  • Solveig Jakobsdóttir
  • Simon Hooper


A computer-based foreign language lesson was developed to study the effects of text, context, and gender on listening comprehension and motivation. A total of 109 fifth grade students responded to spoken commands, with text and a story absent or present. Presenting spoken language with text appeared to assist the development of listening skills. When text was present, students made fewer errors on the subsequent comprehension test and gave higher relevance and confidence motivation ratings than when text was absent. Girls demonstrated higher achievement than did boys and rated the lesson higher, indicating that girls tend to like different kinds of software than do boys. An interaction between context and gender regarding achievement was significant: Girls, but not boys, made fewer errors after a story-embedded lesson.


Educational Technology Foreign Language Language Learning Grade Student Listening Comprehension 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. American Association of University Women. (1992).How schools shortchange girls. Washington, DC: American Association of University Women Educational Foundation.Google Scholar
  2. Asher, J.J. (1969). The Total Physical Response approach to second language learning.The Modern Language Journal, 53, 3–17.Google Scholar
  3. Asher, J.J. (1988).Learning another language through actions: The complete teacher's guidebook (3rd ed.) Los Gatos, CA: Sky Oaks Productions.Google Scholar
  4. Bacon, S.M. (1992). Phases of listening to authentic input in Spanish: A descriptive study.Foreign Language Annals, 25, 317–333.Google Scholar
  5. Borrás, I., & Lafayette, R.C. (1994). Effects of multimedia courseware subtitling on the speaking performance of college students of French.The Modern Language Journal, 78, 61–75.Google Scholar
  6. Brett, P. (1995). Multimedia for listening comprehension: The design of a multimedia-based resource for developing listening skills.System, 23, 77–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brophy, J. (1983). Conceptualizing student motivation.Educational Psychologist, 18, 200–215.Google Scholar
  8. Clark, R.E. (1982). Antagonism between achievement and enjoyment in ATI studies.Educational Psychologist, 17, 92–101.Google Scholar
  9. Curtain, H. (1991). Methods in elementary school foreign language teaching.Foreign Language Annals, 24, 323–329.Google Scholar
  10. Dejean de la Batie, B., & Bradley, D.C. (1995). Resolving word boundaries in spoken French: Native and non-native strategies.Applied Psycholinguistics, 16, 59–81.Google Scholar
  11. Ellis, R., Tanaka, Y., & Yamazaki, A. (1994). Classroom interaction, comprehension, and the acquisition of L2 word meanings.Language Learning, 44, 449–491.Google Scholar
  12. Frommer, J. (1989). Listening, looking, and learning with MacLang.CALICO Journal, 6(4), 51–71.Google Scholar
  13. Gardner, R.C. (1990). Attitudes, motivation, and personality as predictors of success in foreign language learning. In T.S. Parry & C.W. Stansfield (Eds.),Language aptitude reconsidered (pp. 179–221). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall Regents.Google Scholar
  14. Geddes, M., Sturtridge, G., Oxford, R.L., & Raz, H. (1990). Teacher training. Rationale and nine designs. In D. Crookall & R.L. Oxford (Eds.),Simulation, gaming, and language learning (pp.81–99). New York: Newbury House Publishers.Google Scholar
  15. Hakansson, Joyce. (1990). Lessons learned from kids: One developer's point of view. In Brenda Laurel (Ed.),The art of human-computer interface design (pp.123–130). Reading, M.A: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  16. Hughes, H.E. (1993). Khorosho! An interactive videodisc survival Russian program.Foreign Language Annals, 26, 391–398.Google Scholar
  17. Kang, S. (1995). The effects of a context-embedded approach to second-language vocabulary learning.System, 23, 43–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Keller, John M. (1989). IMMS. Instructional materials motivation survey. Unpublished manuscript, Tallahassee, FL.Google Scholar
  19. Knisbacher, C. (1991). Adventure in colloquial Hebrew.CALICO Journal, 8(3), 53–68.Google Scholar
  20. Krashen, S.D., & Terrell, T.D. (1983).The natural approach: Language acquisition in the classroom. Oxford: Pergamon Press.Google Scholar
  21. Krendl, K.A., Broihier, M.C., & Fleetwood C. (1989). Children and computers: Do sex-related differences persist?Journal of Communication, 39,(3), 85–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lepper, M.R., & Chabay, R.W. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and instruction: Conflicting views on the role of motivational processes in computer-based education.Educational Psychologist, 20, 217–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Magnan, S.M. (1993). The educational computing infrastructure. In R.E. Anderson (Ed.),Computers in American schools 1992: an overview: A national report from the international IEA Computers in Education study (pp. 13–27). Minneapolis: IEA Computers in Education Study, Dept. of Sociology, University of Minnesota.Google Scholar
  24. Malone, T.W. (1981). Toward a theory of intrinsically motivating instruction.Cognitive Science, 4, 333–369.Google Scholar
  25. Mandler, J.M., & Goodman, M.S. (1982). On the psychological validity of story structure.Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 21, 507–523.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Nagata, N. (1993). Intelligent computer feedback for second language instruction.The Modern Language Journal, 77, 330–339.Google Scholar
  27. Nagy, W.E., Herman, P.A., & Anderson, R.C. (1985). Learning words from context.Reading Research Quarterly, 20, 233–253.Google Scholar
  28. Nicholas, M.A., & Toporski, N. (1993). Developing “The Critic's Corner”: Computer-assisted language learning for upper-level Russian students.Foreign Language Annals, 26, 467–478.Google Scholar
  29. Nolan, P.C.J., McKinnon, D.H., & Soler, J. (1992). Computers in education: Achieving equitable access and use.Journal of Research on Computing in Education, 24, 299–314.Google Scholar
  30. Nord, J.R. (1981). Three steps leading to listening fluency: A beginning. In H. Winitz (Ed.),The comprehension approach to foreign language instruction (pp. 69–100). Rowley, MA: Newbury House Publishers.Google Scholar
  31. Omaggio, A.C. (1986).Teaching language in context. Proficiency-oriented instruction. Boston: Heinle & Heinle Publishers.Google Scholar
  32. Oprandy, R. (1994). Listening/speaking in second and foreign language teaching.System, 22, 153–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Oxford, R.L., & Scarcella, R.C. (1994). Second language vocabulary learning among adults: State of the art in vocabulary instruction.Systems, 22, 231–243.Google Scholar
  34. Oxford, R., Nyikos, M., & Ehrman, M. (1988). Vive la différence? Reflections on sex differences in use of language learning strategies.Foreign Language Annals, 21, 321–329.Google Scholar
  35. Oxford, R., Park-Oh, Y., Ito, S., & Sumrall, M. (1993). Japanese by satellite: Effects of motivation, language learning styles and strategies, gender, course level, and previous language learning experience on Japanese language achievement.Foreign Language Annals, 26, 359–371.Google Scholar
  36. Robbins, C., & Ehri, L.C. (1994). Reading storybooks to kindergartners helps them learn new vocabulary words.Journal of Educational Psychology, 86, 54–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Rubin, J. (1994). A review of second language listening comprehension research.The Modern Language Journal, 78, 199–221.Google Scholar
  38. Sano, M. (1986). How to incorporate Total Physical Response into the English programme.ELT Journal, 40, 270–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Schitai, A. (1989). The design and development of an interactive videodisc for foreign language learning.Educational Technology, 29(7), 48–52.Google Scholar
  40. Schneider, J.M. (1984). PTA and TPR: A comprehension based approach in a public elementary school.Hispania, 67, 620–625.Google Scholar
  41. Sénéchal, M., Thomas, E., & Monker, J.A. (1995). Individual differences in 4-year-old children's acquisition of vocabulary during storybook reading.Journal of Educational Psychology, 87, 218–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Siann, G., & Macleod, H. (1986). Computers and children of primary school age: Issues and questions.British Journal of Educational Technology, 17, 133–144.Google Scholar
  43. Story, N.O., & Sullivan, H.J. (1986). Factors that influence continuing motivation.Journal of Educational Research, 80, 86–92.Google Scholar
  44. Sutton, R.E. (1991). Equity and computers in the schools: A decade of research.Review of Educational Research, 61, 475–503.Google Scholar
  45. Walters, J., & Wolf, Y. (1986). Language proficiency, text content and order effects in narrative recall.Language Learning, 36, 47–63.Google Scholar
  46. Whiskeyman, A.L. (1990). Development of IVD materials using non-native language mediation.CALICO Journal, 8(1), 75–86.Google Scholar
  47. Wolfe, D.E., & Jones, G. (1982). Integrating total physical response strategy in a level I Spanish class.Foreign Language Annals, 15, 273–280.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© the Association for Educational Communications and Technology 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Solveig Jakobsdóttir
    • 1
  • Simon Hooper
    • 1
  1. 1.the College of Education and Human Developmentthe University of MinnesotaUSA

Personalised recommendations