The purposes of this research were to investigate research trends of e-learning in developmental education outside of Japan and to organize their grounded and applied learning theories and models. Available 16 research articles selected by ERIC were meta-analyzed in two categories removing one opinion paper; journals and descriptive reports. The results for the journals showed that a half of the journal articles focused on retention rate in developmental education and only three employed an experimental-type research. As the grounded and applied learning theories, social constructivism and theories related to learner-centered approach had been commonly used for both categories.
This paper aims to substantiate the efficacy of a digital English textbook designed using Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY) multimedia in the improvement of false beginners' reading comprehension. This software allows students to connect phrases and sentences to their meanings with the help of phonological and visual information. We conducted experimental lessons using three versions of the software: texts with sound and illustrations; texts with illustrations; and only texts. The results of the recall test show that participants who read texts that were synchronized with sound and illustrations (test group) performed significantly better than those who read hard-copy texts (control group). Therefore, we conclude that DAISY multimedia constitutes the scaffolding for EFL learners who have poor comprehension of written text.
The purpose of the present study was to convert PC-based English CALL systems developed by Chiba University to smartphone-based systems in order to enlarge the learners' learning environment. The programs by Flash were carefully designed and created considering processing capability, access speed, memory space, battery duration, the size of the screen, amount of information presented in one page, and the user interface such as the sizes and designs of the pictogram buttons. A total number of 16 CALL systems for improving English listening skills and 15 systems for vocabulary learning were developed. The result showed that approximately 90% of the functions available to the previously developed PC-based systems were successfully converted to the smartphone-based CALL systems. An experimental use of the systems by 23 learners also showed the high usability and practicality of the new systems.
This paper proposes a new approach to remedial university English courses for high school students. These courses are offered for a period of up to four or five months from the time of admission in the fall of the third year in high school until actual enrollment in April. The present study shows that such courses can be more effective by (i) introducing more concrete goals on the basis of the CEFR, and (ii) adopting teaching materials more appropriate for university education. It also shows how to develop teaching materials for reading in terms of textual and linguistic properties.
Although expressing personal opinions plays an important part in argumentative essay writing, students often express few opinions in their essays. We found two main reasons for that. One reason is that quite a few students do not recognize the importance of expressing their own opinions in essays, and the other is that they do not have a strong interest in academic and profound topics given by teachers. As a result, they have a tendency not to think for themselves and to thoughtlessly copy and paste Internet pages. In order to enhance students' consciousness of expressing their own opinions, we gave them some everyday and fascinating topics to make them try to think for themselves and have their own opinions. This paper describes the details of our step-by-step approach to argumentative essay writing, which focuses on expressing personal opinions, as well as the results of students' self-evaluation of what they acquired through the approach. The results suggest that this approach is effective in helping students express their own opinions in short essays, while it needs to be put to practical use, such as in the writing of a term paper.
This study investigated the efficacy of Free Quick Writing for encouraging remedial students who are weak in English writing. As students forget many words and grammatical rules which they have learned at junior high and high school, they lose interest in studying English as well as having difficulty writing essays in English. The aim of this study was not to make students write complete sentences, but to have students write as many words as possible in order to encourage them to recall many words and grammatical rules. The result of this study suggests our new approach for writing activity. Although "Free Quick Writing" is recommendable for its effect on the writing of some students, it does not seem to bring enough development to all students' writing. Therefore, several problems which should be tackled in future have remained.
Low proficiency students generally tend not to show their interest in listening exercises. The author carried out an action research of first-year Japanese low proficiency university students on their listening abilities in class. English songs were brought into class in preparation for the listening exercise and students were keen to listen to them. As a result, they were motivated and actively participated in the listening exercise. After six-week action research was over, students continued listening to English songs as a main listening exercise in class once a week for seven months and their listening ability improved at the end of the term. This paper introduces the way students worked in class and the result of their improvement.
The aim of this paper is to show the effectiveness of task-based activities in the 'Media English' course, an elective subject intended for third and fourth- grade students in the first semester of 2011. News items and magazine advertisements were created in English as task-based activities in class. Two kinds of English tests, essay-writing tests and basic-skills exams, were conducted at the beginning and end of the semester in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the task-based activities in improving students' writing abilities and basic skills in English. Furthermore, a questionnaire survey was conducted to ascertain how much these activities enhanced the low-level students' motivation for learning English. The results suggest that these kinds of task-based activities seem to ease the low-level students' anxiety about using English freely, and thereby allow for greater improvement in their English writing abilities. There remains, however, much room for further improvement. More effective methods for utilizing such task-based teaching for low-level students learning English in the media will be explored on the basis of the results of the research.
This paper examines the effects of an English class utilizing supplementary lessons on remedial students' attitude toward learning English. Some of the characteristics of remedial students include their being used to understanding little of what is taught in classes and their unwillingness to seek academic support from their teachers. In order to improve these attitudes, supplementary lessons, which were assigned based on the scores of quizzes, were conducted in a supportive manner. A year-long practice increased the number of students who voluntarily visited the author to ask questions and/or study for an exam. Moreover, according to the official class evaluation, more than half of the students showed interest in learning English and about two-thirds of them gave positive evaluation to the class. These results indicate that supportive academic environment is indispensable for motivating remedial students.