CALICO Journal, Learner-Computer Interaction in Language Education: A Festschrift in Honor of Robert Fischer

Contributions of Tracking User Behavior to SLA Research

Dorothy M. Chun
Issued Date: 7 Aug 2014

Abstract


This commentary discusses how tracking user behavior in CALL environments can contribute to SLA research.  Despite the fact that data documenting what learners actually do in CALL activities can provide valuable insights into both second language acquisition and pedagogical design, a surprisingly large proportion of CALL studies do not report on tracking data.  Key benefits of collecting and analyzing such data include ascertaining precisely what learners do or do not do and determining whether there is a relationship to learning; documenting the L2 learning process; and providing guidance to learners about how best to use CALL materials for SLA.  Common reasons for not incorporating such analyses are the sheer quantity of available data and the time required to process and analyze them. For the future, as it becomes easier and to some extent automatic to collect such data, the challenge will be to refine data mining tools so that meaningful information and patterns can be discerned.  This information will provide a more complete picture of how L2 learning transpires.

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DOI: 10.1558/cj.v30i0.256-262

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