2019, Volume 22, Issue 2

Special Issue on "Language Learning in the Modern Digital Era"

Guest Editor(s): Yu-Ju Lan


Yu-Ju Lan

National Taiwan Normal University, Taiwan // yujulan@gmail.com

Special Issue Articles

Robert Godwin-Jones

Virginia Commonwealth University, USA // rgjones@vcu.edu


The rapid developments today in artificial intelligence (AI), supported by massive language data collection, are resulting in ever better digital language assistance/translation. Advances in the capabilities of intelligent services lead naturally to envisioning a future where there might be a quite different context for second language (L2) use and therefore for second language acquisition (SLA). A central aspect of that future will be the respective contributions of formal, institutional language learning and informal, largely autonomous language development. While a number of future scenarios can be imagined, I will be arguing here in favor of a framework of “structured unpredictability” (Little & Thorne, 2017) as the optimal future pathway for L2 development, with the guidance and self-reflective possibilities of formal instruction (face-to-face or online) combined with the cultural and pragmatic learning available from online encounters and exchanges. In such a vision, SMART tech (intelligent, networked devices operating autonomously and synching continuously) will enhance individual learning but is not likely to replace the essentially human character of person-to-person communication.


Informal language learning, Second language acquisition, SMART technology, Artificial intelligence

Dorothy M. Chun

University of California, Santa Barbara, USA // dchun@ucsb.edu


Based on my role as Editor in Chief of the journal Language Learning & Technology since 2000 and on my experiences as a technology-enhanced language learning (TELL) researcher, developer and teacher, I will provide an overview of recent cutting-edge research on the uses of technologies for second language teaching and learning. I suggest that the “L” in TELL should represent “languaculture” rather than just “language,” as the field of second language education is increasingly placing greater emphasis on the inextricable link between language and culture. I will also look to the future and suggest promising trajectories for TELL development and research.


CALL, Digital literacies, Languaculture, Telecollaboration, TELL

Shao-Ting Alan Hung

National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Taiwan // alanhung123@gmail.com


Creating digital stories refers to the practice of combining narrative with digital content, including images, sound, animation and video, to create a short movie. Although studies on digital storytelling abound in the literature, few focus on English as a Foreign Language (EFL) students’ story development process or explore the skills they employ to complete their multimodal stories. Moreover, the understanding of the extent to which learners engage in composing multimodal stories remains limited. Hence, the current study bridged the research gaps by (1) exploring the cognitive and metacognitive skills EFL leaners develop when composing digital stories, and (2) examining if the utilization of these skills changes with respect to levels of engagement. Eighty-eight learners participated in a multimodal project in which they generated linguistic, audio and animated contents for their digital stories. Instruments included three scales on cognitive skills, metacognitive skills, and engagement and students’ reflections. The results revealed that learners frequently employed cognitive skills (e.g., analyzing, generating) and metacognitive skills (e.g., planning, monitoring) when composing multimodal texts and gathering digital elements for their stories. Moreover, highly engaged learners employed more cognitive and metacognitive skills than less engaged students at a significant level. Hence, it is concluded that digital storytelling can help EFL learners develop skills that facilitate multiliteracies practices.


Digital storytelling, Multimodal composing, Cognitive and metacognitive skills, Engagement

Meei-Ling Liaw

National Taichung University of Education, Taiwan // meeilingliaw@gmail.com


This study investigates the effects of using open social VR for university English as a foreign language (EFL) learners’ intercultural communication learning. The project involved two stages: (1) carefully designed activities for students to practice different language-learning tasks with their peers; (2) implemented in an open social VR environment for intercultural interactions. Data from multiple sources, including surveys, video-recordings, and oral reports, were collected and analyzed. Findings reveal that the participants perceived the social and physical presences afforded by the VR environment positively. Occurrences of intercultural communicative competence were identified in the participants’ interactions with international interlocutors in open social VR spaces. Whereas the participants were doubtful of the effectiveness of the approach when practicing language tasks with their peers, they greatly enjoyed the interactions with international interlocutors via the VR technologies in the digital wild context, i.e., applying the resources outside of the classroom setting. Based on the findings of this study, focuses and directions for future research are discussed and suggested.


Virtual reality, Social presence, Physical presence, Intercultural communicative competence, English as a foreign language

Full Length Articles

Wei Li

Department of Educational Technology, Wenzhou University, China // Ph.D. Program in Engineering Science, Chung Hua University, Taiwan // liweiwzu@qq.com

Chuang-Kai Chiu

Department of Educational Technology, Wenzhou University, China // akite.chiou@gmail.com

Judy C. R. Tseng

Department of Computer Science and Information Engineering, Chung Hua University, Taiwan // judycrt@chu.edu.tw


In context-aware ubiquitous learning, the learning resources of the learning environment are limited, and the learners need to frequently move between learning targets. Therefore, how to provide appropriate learning paths for students in the real world is essential in context-aware ubiquitous learning. In this study, a personalized navigation support strategy considering learners’ individual learning styles is proposed for context-aware ubiquitous learning. To evaluate the effectiveness of the newly proposed navigation support strategy, a context-aware ubiquitous learning system conducting the personalized navigation support strategy was developed, and a field experiment of context-aware learning activities was conducted in a museum. The experimental results revealed that although the personalized navigation support strategy did not significantly enhance the students’ learning achievement, it did significantly improve their learning efficiency. Further analysis showed that the conforming learners greatly benefited from the personalized navigation support mechanism, while the transformation learners and the performing learners were less affected.


Context-aware ubiquitous learning, Navigation support, Learning styles

Yen-Nan Lin

Department of Physical Education, National Pingtung University, Taiwan // lynnpue@gmail.com

Lu-Ho Hsia

Office of Physical Education, National Chin-Yi University of Technology, Taiwan // share.holder0130@gmail.com


Billiards is a sport that not only requires numerous skills, but also emphasizes the strategies of planning the path of the contact and shot. Traditional billiards training mainly focuses on skills practicing, while the strategies for facing different kinds of challenges in billiards competitions are usually ignored. Therefore, referring to social constructivism, the current study proposed an ASQI (annotation, summarizing, questioning and interflow) mobile flipped learning approach to strengthen students’ pre-class learning effectiveness via engaging them in social interaction contexts to share experience and strategies of dealing with different billiards competition cases. An experiment was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed approach. The participants were 80 university students from two classes; one class learned with the ASQI mobile flipped learning approach while the other adopted the traditional flipped learning approach. The results showed that ASQI could significantly enhance students’ billiards skills performance and online learning engagement with no influence on task load. In addition, according to the students’ feedback, ASQI could help students “make effective use of strategies,” “improve learning performance” and “promote reflection.”


Flipped learning, Mobile technology, Teaching/learning strategies, Billiards

Hui-Chun Chu

Department of Computer Science and Information Management, Soochow University, Taiwan // carolhcchu@gmail.com

Chun-Chieh Wang

Department of Computer Science and Information Management, Soochow University, Taiwan // jie809@gmail.com

Lin Wang

Department of Computer Science and Information Management, Soochow University, Taiwan // goodjobwl@gmail.com


EFL (English as a foreign language) students usually learn by rote when they study English grammar. They usually memorize all the grammar rules mechanically instead of learning grammar in a structured way. Researchers have suggested that students can internalize knowledge via using knowledge construction tools and collaborated learning activities. Therefore, in this study, a grammar concept mapping-based collaborative English mobile gaming approach has been developed. A quasi-experiment on an English course was carried out in an elementary school to evaluate the learning achievement of the low- and high-achieving students. Moreover, the students’ learning behavioral patterns were explored by analyzing their interactive logs in the mobile discussion forum. The results showed that the students using the proposed approach revealed significantly higher English grammar achievements than those who learned with the collaborative English gaming approach; moreover, the grammar concept mapping strategy can help the low-achieving students to have better learning achievements, and to realize the concept structure of English grammar to internalize their knowledge. In addition, it was also found that the low-achieving students had significantly higher mental load than the high-achieving students, implying that the use of the grammar concept mapping approach provided a challenging but helpful task to help the low achievers focus on the gaming process and successfully organize the grammar structures they had learned.


Grammar concept mapping, Game-based learning, English grammar, Behavioral analysis, High- and low-achieving

Editorial Note

Starting from Volume 17 Issue 4, all published articles of the journal of Educational Technology & Society are available under Creative Commons CC-BY-ND-NC 3.0 license.