Date of Award

5-1-2012

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Applied Linguistics

First Advisor

Charkova, Krassimira

Abstract

Multimedia technology is advancing in a rapid and continuous manner providing numerous opportunities for independent language learning and practice. Despite the vast research about the impact of multimedia on language learning inside language classrooms, little is known about the learning strategies used by language learners outside classrooms through multimedia resources. This study aimed to examine the out-of-class use of multimedia resources for language learning purposes with a sample of 42 Saudi college students. For this purpose, a survey of 25 items, consisting of 19 quantitative questions about frequency and purposes of use of different online and offline multimedia resources, one open-ended question about the overall perceived benefits of multimedia resources for language skills, and five demographic questions was employed. Collected data were analyzed through descriptive statistics, t-tests and chi-square tests for independent samples to elicit potential gender differences. In addition, content analysis was performed to find common patterns of perceived advantages and disadvantages of multimedia sources in learning English. The resultant findings of the study indicated that participants of both gender groups are habitually using one or another online or offline multimedia resource for their independent language learning. In addition, several gender differences were found in terms of frequency and purposes of using specific online and offline multimedia resources as well as in overall perceived benefits for particular language skills. Particularly, female participants seemed to utilize multimedia resources with the purpose of improving their pronunciation, speaking and communication skills, vocabulary knowledge, reading and writing skills with more persistency than their male counterparts. Overall, the findings of this study have offered valuable insights into types of online and offline resources that under the professional guidance of language teachers, can be effectively incorporated into the language curriculum. They can be utilized in classroom practice, homework assignments, group projects, and other teaching tasks in a way that meets learners' gender and language needs. Thus, the effectiveness and pedagogical value of such resources can be increased substantially.

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