The Effectiveness of Social Websites in Learning English among the

TheEffectiveness of Social Websites in Learning English among theEnglish Second Language Learners

TheEffectiveness of Social Websites in Learning English among theEnglish Second Language Learners

Background

Socialmedia includes a large number of internet websites that provide anopportunity for people to interact freely, discuss, and shareinformation. Initially, social sites were developed to help peopleshare about their lives, but the stakeholders in the education sectorhave taken advantage of these sites to enhance the learning processsince 1997 (Curtis, 2013 and Johnson, 2009). Since then several typesof technology (such as Web 2.0) have been applied in the developmentof different websites that enhance the language learning process(Shih, 2011 and Stevenson &amp Liu, 2010). Although the most commonsocial media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter help their usersimprove language skills by writing and reading messages (LEO Network,2014) there are social websites (such as the BBC language, Lang-8,Mango Language, and that have been specifically designed associalization and language learning platforms (Gomez, 2009). Lang-8website improves all language skills apart from the listening skills(Koichi, 2008). The social websites used in learning English providean opportunity for the English second language learners (L 2) toestablish social ties with native speakers who help them learnseveral language skills (Cho, 2013). Experts have designed websitesthat facilitate the use of multimedia in learning English (Mobbel &ampRao, 2013).

Problemstatement

Theuse of social websites to enhance the learning process is relativelya new phenomenon. Many language learning websites have been launchedand probably others are on the way. Despite the existence of a largenumber of social websites designed to enhance the process of learningEnglish, there are a few studies that have focused on the assessmentof the effectiveness of these sites in enhancing different languageskills (such as writing, reading, speaking, listening, vocabulary,and grammar) socialization, and participants’ literacy concurrently(Motteram, 2013 and Liu, 2010). The proposed research will fill thisgap by studying the effectiveness of the use of social websites toimprove the aforementioned language skills among the English secondlanguage learners.

Significanceof the research

Giventhe high rate at which the social media is being integrated into theeducation sector, especially in learning English, it will beimportant to have an empirical evidence of the effectiveness of thesesites (Sitthirak, 2013 and Buzzetto-More, 2012). The findings of theproposed research will have significant implications in the field ofeducation by expanding the available knowledge on the importance ofusing social sites to learning English and expected outcomes. Thefindings can help the English second language learners and Englishteachers make informed decisions on whether social websites arereliable resources for learning English and socializing.

Objectivesof the research

Toevaluate the effectiveness of using social websites to learn Englishon the reading skills of a second English learner (L 2)

Todetermine whether the use of social websites in learning English hasa significant effect on the Grammar skills of L 2 students

Toevaluate the effectiveness of the use of social websites as Englishlearning tools on vocabulary skills of L 2 students.

Todetermine whether the use of social websites in learning English hasa significant impact on grammar skills of L 2 students

Toidentify the capacity of social websites used in learning English toenhance the listening and speaking skills of an L 2 students.

Toevaluate the overall effectiveness of the social websites (such asLang-8) as tools for learning English?

Researchquestions

  1. Does the use of social websites as English learning tools improves the language skills (including reading skills, writing skills, vocabulary skills, grammar skills, listening, and speaking skills) of the English Second Language Learners?

  2. Does the use of social websites in learning English enhance the social skills of the participants?

  3. Does the use of social websites in learning English improve the overall literacy of participants?

  4. What is probability of getting the correct response from other site users?

  5. What is the overall satisfaction of the learners who are already using the social websites to learn English?

Methodology

Researchdesign

Theproposed research will use a quantitative research design, whichfocuses on understanding and discovering experiences, thoughts andperspectives of the research participants (Harwell, 2003).

Studyparticipants

Theproposed research will collect data on the effectiveness of usingsocial websites as tools for learning English skills from 250 Englishsecond language learners. Study participants will include the Englishsecond language learners within the university and from other partsof the world. Although there are many ways (including emailsnowballing, emails sent to personal contacts, and organizationalmembers) of recruiting the study participants online the proposedresearch will attract a pool of English second language learnersthrough internet advertisements, social media sites (includingFacebook and Twitter), and website notices (Temple, 2011). Theinclusion criterion is that the study participants must have used atleast one social website to learn English language skills for aperiod of not less than six months. Participants must also be Englishsecond language learners.

Researchvariables

Theindependent variable for the proposed research is the use of socialwebsites to study English by the English second language learners indifferent parts of the world. Depend variables include readingskills, writing skills, vocabulary skills, grammar skills, listening,speaking skills, socialization, overall competence (literacy),participants’ satisfaction, probability of getting the correctresponse from other site users, and the duration it takes to get theresponse.

Surveyinstrument

Thesurvey instrument to be used in the proposed study is a questionnairethat will contain detailed questions about the use of social websitesto learn English skills among the second language learners. Thequestionnaires will be distributed to all the study participants inhand copy (for students within the university) and via email (forparticipants recruited online). Participants will be given four daysto fill and return the questionnaires.

Apartfrom the use of questionnaire to collect data, the researcher willcollect data pertaining to the satisfaction of website users,probability of getting the correct response, and the time it takes toget the response from the social websites, including Lang-8. Thisdata will be collected by reviewing the members’ postings and theresponses they get from other participants. This data will be used inassessing the effectiveness of the social websites designed to serveas English learning tools and social sites.

Dataanalysis

Thedata collected using the questionnaires will be analyzed using theSPSS software. Two categories of data analysis will be considered.First, frequency distribution will be used to analyze personal datapertaining to age, gender, level of education, and the period inwhich the study participants have been using the social websites tolearn English. Secondly, regression analysis will be used todetermine the associative relationships existing between dependentand independent variables. Regression analysis determines whether theindependent variable considered in the research explains thesignificant variation in dependent variables (Sykes, 2011).

Resultsand discussion

Resultswill be presented in tables, pie charts, and graphs as deemedappropriate.

Conclusion

Thepurpose of the proposed research is to determine the effectiveness ofusing social websites in improving the English skills of the secondlanguage learners. A quantitative research is the most appropriatedesign to pursue the objectives of the proposed research. Thefindings expand the body of knowledge on the effectiveness of socialwebsites in enhancing English learning process.

References

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Cho,Y. (2013). Software review: Lang-8. CALICOJournal,30 (2), 293-299. doi: 10.11139/cj.30.2.293-299

Curtis,A. (2013). Thebrief history of social media.Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina.

Gomez,I. (2009). Howto: Learn and practice language using social media.San Francisco, CA: Mashable Incorporation.

Harwell,R. (2003). Researchdesign in quantitative/ qualitative/ mixed methods.Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota.

Johnson,D. (2009). Connectionsfor learning: Schools and the educational use of social network.Germantown,TN: Harver Group LLC.

Koichi,A. (2008). Tofugu’stop ten free online Japanese resources.Salem, OR: Willamette University.

LEONetwork (2014). Using social network to improve your English. LEONetwork.Retrieved August 23, 2014, fromhttp://www.learnenglish.de/ImproveEnglish/socialnetworks.html

Liu,Y. (2010). Social media tools as a learning resource. Journalof Educational Technology Development and Exchange,3 (1), 101-114.

Mobbel,S. &amp Rao, L. (2013). Enhancing EFT teaching and learning throughtechnology. InternationalJournal of Social Science Tomorrow,2 (2), 1-9.

Motteram,G. (2013). Innovationsin learning technologies for English language teaching.London: British Council.

Shih,R. (2011). Can Web 2.0 technology assist college students in learningEnglish? Integrating Facebook and peer assessment with blendedlearning. AustralianJournal of Education Technology,27 (5), 829-845.

Sitthirak,C. (2013). Socialmedia for language teaching and learning.Khlong Nueng: Thammasat University.

Stevenson,P. &amp Liu, M. (2010). Learning a language with Web 2.0: Exploringthe use of social networking features of foreign language website.CALICOJournal,27 (2), 233-259.

Sykes,O. (2011). Anintroduction to regression analysis.Chicago, IL: University of Chicago.

Temple,C. (2011). A comparison of internet-based participant recruitmentmethods: Engaging the hidden population of cannabis users inresearch. Journalof Research Practice,7 (2), 1-28. Retrieved August 23, 2014, fromhttp://jrp.icaap.org/index.php/jrp/article/view/288/247