AN INVESTIGATION OF STUDENTS' EXPERIENCES WITH A WEB-BASED, DATA-DRIVEN WRITING ASSISTANCE ENVIRONMENT FOR IMPROVING KOREAN EFL WRITERS' ACCURACY WITH ENGLISH GRAMMAR AND VOCABULARY
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Computer-assisted language learning (CALL) has played an increasingly important role in writing instruction and research. While research has been conducted on English as a second language (ESL) learners and the benefits of using web-based writing assistance programs in writing instruction, insufficient research has been done on English as a foreign language (EFL) students. This study is an empirical investigation of students' experiences with a web-based, data-driven writing assistance environment (e4writing) designed by the researcher to help Korean EFL writers with their grammar and vocabulary.
This study investigated Korean university students' perceived difficulties with English grammar and vocabulary as they wrote in English. It also explored their perceptions of e4writing as used in a writing course to enhance English grammar and vocabulary. This study investigated 12 participants' perceptions and "academic profiles" (learning styles, confidence, motivation, and other factors) when they were enrolled in a 16-week course called Teaching Methods for English Composition. To gain a more specific and personal view, the study also included detailed case studies of four of the study participants. The major sources of data for the analyses include interviews, reflective journals, questionnaires, samples of the students' writing before and after their use of e4writing and the researcher's reflective notes.
The study revealed that most of the students had difficulty with grammar and vocabulary in English writing. They positively perceived e4writing, as it provided individualized help on their problems with grammar and lexis. Overall, the students showed improvement in accuracy from the pretest to the posttest, and observations suggested that e4writing was probably related to this improvement; however, strong claims about e4writing as a cause of improvement cannot be made without a control group. The students felt e4writing was more beneficial for improving grammatical accuracy than for vocabulary accuracy. The students recommended that some features of e4writing be written in Korean to help students understand grammar and vocabulary explanations.