Web 2.0 and Second Language Learning: What Does The Research Tell Us?
Issue: Vol 29 No. 3 (2012)
Journal: CALICO Journal
This article reviews research on the use of Web 2.0 technologies in second language learning. Its purpose is to explore the current state of research on this topic, to investigate the theoretical perspectives framing the current research, to identify some of the benefits of using Web 2.0 technologies in second language learning, and to discuss some of the limitations of existing research. The review of research found that blogs and wikis have been the most studied Web 2.0 tools, while others, such as social networking applications and virtual worlds, have been less frequently explored. In addition, the most commonly investigated languages have been English as a Second/Foreign Language (ESL/EFL), Spanish, German and French. Considerably less research has been conducted on applying Web 2.0 technologies to less commonly taught languages, such as Arabic, Chinese, or Russian. Additionally, the language learning environments afforded by Web 2.0 technologies have greatly broadened the scope of topics explored in computer-assisted language learning (CALL): from earlier research which tended to concentrate on the traditional four language skills, to more recent topics such as learners’ identities, online collaboration, and learning communities. Although very few studies surveyed have actually examined students’ progress and learning outcomes associated with these tools, the most frequently reported benefit associated with Web 2.0 technologies is the favorable language learning environments they help to foster. Finally, this review found that much research on Web 2.0 technology and language learning is not clearly grounded in theory, and that a number of studies suffer from a set of common methodological limitations.
Author: Shenggao Wang, Camilla Vásquez