|dc.description.abstract||Language learning strategies (LLSs) are “complex, dynamic thoughts and actions, selected and used by learners with some degree of consciousness in specific contexts in order to regulate multiple aspects of themselves (such as cognitive, emotional, and social) for the purpose of a) accomplishing language tasks; b) improving language performance or use; and/or c) enhancing long-term proficiency” (Oxford, 2017, p. 48). Considerable research into LLSs has demonstrated their significance in making learning more effective and enjoyable, and has contributed to advancements in pedagogy as well as language learning theory.
Online language learning has become an integral part of 21st century education. This newer form of learning has presented particular challenges which require language learners to adopt particular LLSs and develop new LLSs to effectively manage their learning. However, existing LLS studies have largely been concerned with on-campus students. Furthermore, there has been a lack of context-specific LLS research in online language learning, that is, research that distinguishes between synchronous and asynchronous environments.
With the popularity of the Chinese language increasing globally over recent decades, this thesis aims to investigate the types of LLSs that online Chinese learners use across asynchronous and synchronous learning environments in the contexts of self-directed learning, assessment task completion, and online class participation. It also examines how online Chinese learners’ use of LLSs is influenced by the interactants, the characteristics of the specific learning context, and selected individual learner characteristics.
This research project was carried out among students in the online Chinese courses provided by Griffith University through Open Universities Australia. Following Creswell (2009, 2012), a mixed-methods approach was employed to investigate their LLS use. The approach utilised four research instruments: an online survey questionnaire adapted from the Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (SILL) (Oxford, 1990), online interviews, observations of online classes, and tracking of learner activity online. The SILL was adapted to include questionnaire items soliciting participants’ strategy use in online Chinese learning in particular.
The investigation of online Chinese students’ LLS use in this project is of significance in four areas. It has provided: 1) new and detailed information about students’ LLS use in online Chinese learning; 2) insights into how individual students adopt LLSs and technological tools to solve learning problems in various learning contexts; 3) an exploration of factors influencing LLS use – on one hand the characteristics of language learning contexts (asynchronous or synchronous environments, and interactants) and, on the other, individual learner characteristics (motives, learning goals, age, and length of prior learning of Chinese); and 4) recommendations regarding LLS adoption, use, and training.||