E-Tools to Assist EFL Learners' Writing Skill: Wikis, Weblogs, and Podcasts

Document Type: Research Paper

Authors

1 Abadeh Branch, Islamic Azad University, Abadeh, Iran

2 Shiraz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Shiraz, Iran

Abstract

One of the promises of web-based education is to help students take control of their learning pace as the basic requirement of language learning is being life-long. The purpose of the present study was to find out which of the e-tools -- weblogs, wikis, or podcasts -- can better help EFL learners excel in their writing skill. To this end, 156 Iranian sophomore students majoring in English and studying at Islamic Azad University, Abadeh and Shiraz Branches and the Zand Institute of Higher Education were selected based on random sampling as participants. As the design of the study was a pre-experimental one, there were three experimental groups involved but no control group. Before the instruction, the participants were given an essay writing test, whose results were used to divide them into three groups. Two of the groups received in-class instruction and were assigned out-of-class activities through weblogs and wikis. The third group received the instruction through podcasts. The treatment lasted for two and a half months and at the end, another essay writing test was given to all groups. A two-way ANOVA for the comparison of the participants' gain scores indicated that using the tools available on the Internet could lead to improvement in the EFL students writing abilities, and gender was not a determining factor. The study reveals the fact that web tools, in general, and blogs, wikis, and podcasts, in particular, can foster EFL students’ writing skills and teachers can use them as supplements in their language instruction.

Keywords


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