Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses

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    The effectiveness of Web-based language learning: a case study of web-based instruction for a foundation English course at one Rajabhat Institute in Thailand
    Anchaleewittayakul, Wanida ( 2005)
    This study investigates the impact of one instance of Web-based instruction on students' reading skills and their motivation for self-regulated learning. Due to the problem of mass teaching in the Foundation English subject, one Rajabhat Institute in Thailand was selected as the context of the study. Four Web-based lessons for this subject were developed based on a theory of L2 reading and Web-based instruction. Ten students were purposefully selected based on the information provided on a background questionnaire. Their learning behaviours while participating in the Web-based lessons were video recorded. Stimulated-recall interviews were employed in order to ask students to clarify their salient behaviours. A second questionnaire was used after students had finished studying in order to obtain information about their perceptions of the Web-based lessons. Grabe's (1991) notion of five component skills and knowledge areas in reading was used to analyse students' reading processes. The major findings of this study are that students' linguistic competence and background knowledge appear to play a significant role in L2 reading comprehension. However, in the context of Web-based reading, students' attention to studying within the learning supporting aspects of instructional design also has an impact on their understanding. In the observed process of self-study with Web-based instruction, students used metacognitive knowledge to monitor their comprehension and non-comprehension. This included awareness of using strategies to make sense of what they learned and deal with any problems of comprehension failure. These findings provide evidence that instructional design is the most important aspect in developing Web-based instruction. This study shows that a well-organised design with the features that support students' understanding and content that is relevant to their particular fields enhances both comprehension and motivation to learn. For students with a teacher-directed background, providing a similar kind of instructional support increases their confidence to be self-regulated learners. The significance of these findings in relation to the solution of the problem of mass teaching at the Rajabhat Institute in this study, is that Web-based instruction should be integrated with videoconference teaching. This integration not only facilitates students' understanding of the lesson content but also familiarises them with the on-line learning environment. Preparing students to be e-learners is one of the promising ways to promote lifelong learning, the main aim of educational reform in Thailand.