Citation: Dincer, A. (2020). Understanding the Characteristics of English Language Learners’ Out-of-Class Language Learning through Digital Practices. IAFOR Journal of Education: Technology in Education, 8(2). https://doi.org/10.22492/ije.8.2.03
This study aims to understand the extent to which English as a foreign language learners use technology for their autonomous language learning beyond the classroom. With a cross-sectional survey design approach, the study focuses on learner characteristics. It first investigates the existing language learner profiles of 512 English major university students concerning autonomous language learning and out-of-class technology engagement. Then, details regarding the characteristics of existing learner profiles in terms of language proficiency, daily technology use time, a variety of digital tool use and the most beneficial tools are outlined. Within this frame, cluster analyses suggested two clusters: more autonomously engaged with digital tools and less autonomously engaged with digital tools. The findings showed that more autonomously engaged students tend to have greater language-learning proficiency than the less autonomous group. The more autonomously engaged students also spent more time daily and used various digital tools in comparison to less autonomous technology users. While online websites and social media were the most frequently used digital tools for both groups, the use of podcasts, blogs and online language courses differed. According to the provided tool lists of learners, students benefited significantly from social media, online websites, dictionaries, and intelligent tutoring system applications (apps). Online games, YouTube, Instagram and other smartphone apps, which allow students to practice vocabulary and speak with foreigners, also had considerable influence on language development. The study findings provide insights for language teachers
aiming to extend learners’ in-class language-learning experiences beyond the confines of the classroom.
autonomous language learning, learning through digital practices, out-of-class language learning, technology engagement