Exploring Iranian EFL Learners’ Listening Skills via TED Talks: Does Medium Make a Difference?
This quasi-experimental study examined whether TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) talks could improve the listening skills of Iranian EFL learners. The study also explored whether the different media of instruction could have differing impacts on the students’ learning. Sixty intermediate level male learners aged between 18 and 20 in three intact classes (n1=n2=n3=20) were the participants selected through convenience sampling. The groups were randomly assigned to two experimental groups and one control group after ensuring that they were at the same level of language proficiency. One of the experimental groups watched TED talks via mobile devices, another group watched them through laptops, and the control group practiced listening through DVDs and CDs of the course textbook (American File 2) for ten sessions. It is worth mentioning that the mobile group watched the videos outside of the class, whereas the laptop and control groups practiced listening in the class. Every session, the participants answered some comprehension questions to enable the researchers to measure their development. The repeated measures ANOVA showed the improvement of the listening skills of all participants in the three groups during the treatment. The results of the one-way ANOVA and post hoc comparison revealed statistically significant differences between the mobile group watching the TED talks and the control group, but no differences were found between the mobile group and the laptop group or between the control and the laptop groups. The researchers inferred that the observed difference was due to using TED talks via mobile devices in the study. They could also conclude that TED talks are useful sources of practicing listening skills. The study shows the efficacy of self-directed learning via mobile devices and has implications for teachers and practitioners who are seeking ways to extend language learning beyond the confinements of the classroom.
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