Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Hung, Wei-Chen

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Educational Technology, Research and Assessment


Educational technology; Instructional design; English as a second language; English language--Acquisition--Effect of technological innovations on--Case studies; English language--Computer-assisted instruction--Case studies; Smartphones--Case studies; Oral communication--Study and teaching--Case studies; English language--Spoken English--Study and teaching--Case studies


The rapidly ever-changing pace of technology imposes the need for integrating new emerging technologies. Under the umbrellas of mobile learning and language learning, Mobile-Assisted Language Learning (MALL) finds its promising, new spot on the surface of emerging trends in education. In both the K-12 and higher education domains, future generations are more likely to own and be closely attached to mobile technologies more than ever.;As Mobile-Assisted Language Learning (MALL) facilitates language learning via mobile devices, many students strive to improve their English learning skills. Students usually struggle with listening and speaking because of the prompt nature of most conversations, unlike reading and writing where they often have enough time to respond. Hence, this investigation attempts to explore the practical uses and supportive features of smartphones to improve English language learners' learning skills, mainly listening and speaking, among other skills.;Previous research studies addressed the use of mobile technologies in language learning environments. This study aims to explore possible ways of integrating mobile technologies in language learning, to provide additional language learning activities to support traditional classroom activities, and to explore the role of collaboration among English language learners' listening and speaking skills in MALL environments along with how mobile applications could be used in language learning classrooms as methods to vary course activities beyond the face-to-face ones. This study could inform scholars and teachers who are looking for practical ways to use mobile technologies in the learning process and to incorporate them in and outside the classroom.;Examining the views of English learners who are studying English as a second or foreign language is the main focus of the study. Moreover, the universality of the English language is a major reason why it has been selected among other languages. The participants in this study were ten students that study English at a language learning institute at a Mid-Western university. A WhatsApp group, MALL environment, was designed to include the participants in the study. The data collection methods were interview, survey, WhatsApp group chat log and observation. This qualitative case study research is motivated by two research questions: (1) how mobile devices, such as smartphones, are used for learning English? and (2) what elements of the mobile-assisted language learning environment, if any, were identified as being most useful or distracting in enhancing listening and speaking skills?. The findings of this research study show that in addition to the current uses of smartphones in WhatsApp: the MALL environment in this study, there are also benefits and advantages, as well as drawbacks and obstacles to using smartphones in the efforts to enhance language learning skills, mainly listening and speaking. The results, implications for instructional practice, and recommendations for future research are discussed.


Advisors: Wei-Chen Hung.||Committee members: Jessamine Cooke-Plagwitz; Pi-Sui Hsu.


138 pages




Northern Illinois University

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