The Effects of Informal Use of Computer-Mediated Communication on EFL Learner Interaction
The study adopted an experimental approach to investigate the impact of informal use of computer-mediated communication (CMC) on English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learner’s interaction. CMC is an umbrella term which refers to human communication via computer either synchronously or asynchronously. It can be implemented in two ways either formally or informally. Informal use of CMC in this study means unevaluated and unplanned activities which can occur outside the classroom, and can be initiated by the students. This study sought to examine: (a) if the learners participate actively in informal CMC; (b) the factors that help informal CMC to be a successful experience; and (c) the impact of CMC on comprehensible written output. The participants were fifty adult EFL Saudi learners at Najran University, Saudi Arabia. The study utilized a homepage on Facebook as a research tool. Data collection was done through a questionnaire and an interview. The participants’ exchanges in the Facebook group and their replies to the questionnaire were analyzed. The results of the study revealed that informal use of CMC can be affected by many factors. The voluntary nature of learner participation, busy schedules, and the teacher interference were some of these factors. The results showed that the participants had positive attitudes towards using CMC to improve their language.
Key words: English as a Foreign Language (EFL); Informal; (CMC) Computer mediated communication; Interaction; Facebook; Output
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