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Impact of ChatGPT on learners in a L2 writing practicum: An exploratory investigation

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Technology-enhanced language learning has exerted positive effects on the performance and engagement of L2 learners. Since the advent of tools based on recent advancement in artificial intelligence (AI), educators have made major strides in applying state-of-the-art technologies to writing classrooms. In November 2022, an AI-powered chatbot named ChatGPT capable of automatic text generation was introduced to the public. The study tried to apply ChatGPT’s text generation feature in a one-week L2 writing practicum. The study adopted a qualitative approach to investigate students’ behaviors and reflections in their exposure to ChatGPT in writing classrooms. The developmental features in learning activities and reflective perceptions were triangulated for the piloting evaluation of the impact of ChatGPT on L2 writing learners. The findings revealed the affordance and potential applicability of the tool in L2 writing pedagogy. Additionally, the tool also showcased an automatic workflow that could maximize the efficiency in composing writing. However, participants generally expressed their concern with its threats to academic honesty and educational equity. The study impelled the reconceptualization of plagiarism in the new era, development of regulatory policies and pedagogical guidance to regulate proper utilization of the tool. Being a pioneering effort, the study accentuated future research directions for more insights into the application of ChatGPT in L2 learning, and the establishment of corresponding pedagogical adjustments.

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All data generated or analysed during this study are included in this published article.


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Young Researcher Program of Xinyang Agriculture and Forestry University (QN2022049). The relevant fund was granted to Da Yan, the sole author of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Da Yan.

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Appendix 1

Learning Log for the ChatGPT & Writing Practicum

figure a

Appendix 2

Interview Protocol

  1. 1.

    What are the effects of ChatGPT on your completion of writing tasks in the practicum?

  2. 2.

    What are the advantages of ChatGPT over its precedents and alternatives?

  3. 3.

    How do you evaluate the quality of textual output from ChatGPT?

  4. 4.

    What is the most striking feature of ChatGPT in your experience?

  5. 5.

    Does ChatGPT pose any threat to the learning and teaching of English writing?

  6. 6.

    If everyone is equipped with the knowledge of ChatGPT in the near future, how do you think about it?

  7. 7.

    How do you think about the rapid spread of ChatGPT in online communities?

  8. 8.

    Do you support or oppose the usage of ChatGPT in writing classrooms?

  9. 9.

    Do you think the official introduction of ChatGPT in language education will have a bright future?

  10. 10.

    If we are to use ChatGPT regularly in classrooms, what do you think we need to adjust most urgently?

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Yan, D. Impact of ChatGPT on learners in a L2 writing practicum: An exploratory investigation. Educ Inf Technol 28, 13943–13967 (2023).

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