Friday, August 28, 2009


Citation : Sun,Yu-Chih. (2009). VOICE BLOG: AN EXPLORATORY STUDY OF LANGUAGE LEARNING. Language Learning & Technology, 13(2), 88-103. Retrieved July 21,2009. from Language Learning & Technology – a refereed journal for second and foreign language educators:


Journal-Volume : June 2009, Volume 13, Number 2, pp. 88-103

Author’s name, designation, background, etc:

Yu-Chih Sun is an associate professor at the Institute of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages at National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan. Her research interests include computer-assisted language learning, academic writing, and speech instruction.

There are two specific aims in this study which are firstly, to provide a theoretical and a pedagogical foundation for the hypothesis that extensive practice on blogs can constitute an integral part of instruction, and that blogs enable students to structure their views and to make them publicly available in a way that is rarely possible in other media. It can be investigated with the guide of two research questions which are; What are the learners’ learning processes and learning strategies in voice-blog activities? and What emerging themes characterize perceptions of participants' blogging experiences?

Besides that, the methodology of this study is that the teacher-researcher used two data collection procedures: (a) a survey of student attitudes towards the use of voice blogs and (b) retrospective interviews with students. For (a), the researcher developed a voice-blog survey that consisted of a 45-item, five-point Likert scale. It included three subcategories which is firstly, learners’ perceived gains in speaking skills (7 items), secondly, self-reported learning processes and learning strategies (18 items), and lastly, the learners’ attitudes toward the class blog (20 items). Participants were asked to rate their agreement on the scale (1 = disagree, 2 = disagree, 3 = undecided, 4 = agree, 5 = strongly agree) whereas for (b), the teacher-researcher interviewed a variety of participants. She used stratified sampling to “ensure the representative presence of particular subgroups of the population under study” (Mackey & Gass, 2005, p. 120). Hence, a number of 12 students were selected. Out of the 12, only 6 students were chosen to be interviewed. All of the interviews were audiotaped and later transcribed verbatim in Chinese for further analysis.

Next, the samples of this study were 46 college students in Taiwan in two oral communication classes taught by the teacher-researcher. Each class consists of 24 and 22 students respectively. Of the 46 students, 15 were female and 31 were male. The students’ average age was 20 to 67 years old.

Overall, the findings of the research showed that 46 participants uploaded a total of 1,239 voice-blog entries and 646 comments on their classmates’ blog entries. On average, each participant posted 27 voice blogs and 14 comments on the class blog over the course of one semester. To answer the first research question that has been mentioned earlier, it is documented through the survey that there are five learning processes and strategies that has been used by them. It includes conceptualizing, brainstorming, articulating, monitoring, and evaluating. Conceptualizing involved planning what to say and how to say it. The results of the survey show that over 71% of the participants found it difficult to come up with an appropriate voice-blog topic due to topic-related language limitations. However, 49% of the participants reported that topic selection became easier with continual practice. About 47% of them brainstorm the script before recording it while 55% of the students rehearsed several times before recording. 56% usually or always listened (monitor) to the recorded file before uploading it to the blog. Finally, participants used evaluating strategies to either redo or edit part of the entries. The other findings also showed that students perceived blogging as a means of learning, self-presentation, information exchange, and social networking.

Honestly, my reaction towards this research is extremely positive. I am interested with the issue that the teacher-researcher is trying to look on. It is because within the globalization, modernization as well as the paradigm shift that we are facing today, voice blogging is no more alien for us. People nowadays are able to be connected with one another without any boundary but just with a click on a computer. Thus, blogging and to be specific voice blogging allow us to get instant feedback from the others and making our lives easier. Besides that, this research also interests me because I am fascinated to use this technology in learning language. From my point of view, the research is very well conducted as the teacher-researcher used survey as well as retrospective interview to collect the data. Those procedures will give a reliable feedback as it involve spoken and written responses. Besides that, this research is also systematically organized and that makes the research well performed. The implication of the research in the teaching and learning process is that it enables a self-directed learning unlike the old education system which apply teacher-centered learning. Besides that, it will definitely boost up students’ motivation level because using the computer itself may lead to the engrossment in learning and what more using the internet technology such as voice blogging. In the Malaysian contexts, I think that voice blogging may give much significance for the students. For example, during my practicum in SMK Seksyen 7 Shah Alam, I had the opportunity to bring my students to the computer lab and teach them to use blog. They were so excited to the extend they request to learn English in the computer lab and use the technology. I am so impress by them knowing that the technology helps the teacher though. Moreover, the students used blogs to exchange ideas with one another and of course communicate with me during non-school hours. All in all, I really think that voice blog is appropriate to be implemented to the Malaysian education system as we are moving towards the paradigm shift and I believe we can do it!

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