MOBILE ASSISTED LANGUAGE LEARNING (MALL): WILL IT EVER BE AN ENGLISH LEARNING REALITY IN SRI LANKA?

A.M.M Navaz

Abstract


Mobile Assisted Language Learning (MALL) is becoming a popular term along the line of CALL (Computer Assisted Language Learning) in the Western arena. Yet in Sri Lanka CALL and MALL have not sustained a place among the ESL (English as a Second Language) Learners. Unavailability of CALL software in Sri Lanka and high cost of software available internationally, along with the difficulties in maintaining computer laboratories make CALL unpopular. On the other hand, mobile phones, especially smart phones, have become popular and commonly available among the Sri Lankan University students. In the present context, though mobile phones are used for learning English their use for language learning is not studied among university students in Sri Lanka.

The objective of this study is to find how the fourth year students at the Faculty of Arts of a Sri Lankan university use their mobile phones in English classes for learning English. In addition, this study explores the possible uses of mobile phones for learning English. Observation, followed by a written report and in-depth interviews with students are the main sources of data collection. In this study, it was revealed that students use mobile devices  mainly for acquiring vocabulary skills. Sometimes they access internet service for translating sentences and also for browsing model essays, letters, etc. In addition, they use mobiles for sharing information via WhatsApp and Viber. Nevertheless, these uses seem to be not productive enough for language development like the way students use CALL for learning a language.


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