Online interaction in the task-based foreign language classroom: Effects on target language use and learner affect

Marrit van de Guchte, Eline van Batenburg, Daphne van Weijen

Research output: Web publication or non-textual formDigital or Visual ProductsAcademic


Interaction in the target language (TL) is essential to foreign language development (Swain, 1985, Long, 1981). Meaningful tasks are thought to evoke interaction between learners (e.g. Pica, Kanagy & Falodun, 2009). However, even in a task-based curriculum for German, Dutch secondary school learners barely used the TL during task preparations (Author, 2018). Interviews (ibid.) revealed that these learners were embarrassed to use the TL in a face-to-face setting. Therefore, we investigated whether learners’ use of the TL can be increased by using online interaction tools, which tend to decrease learner anxiety and promote willingness to communicate (WTC). In an experimental study involving German (9th grade) as a foreign language, we compare the effects of audio-, video-, and text-chat interaction on the quantity and quality of learners’ TL use during online task interaction and subsequent oral F2F task performance. Students were randomly assigned to three preparation conditions: audio-, video, and text-chat. The experiment was spread over a period of six weeks: Week 1: pre-tests (vocabulary size; experience with digital tools; ratings of WTC, self-confidence, enjoyment; intro/extraversion).Week 2-5: learners performance of four 20’ online tasks in pairs. Week 6: Post-tests (paired oral F2F task; productive vocabulary test; ratings of WTC, self-confidence, enjoyment). Learner output was analysed for both quantitative as qualitative production measures. F2F oral tasks established whether gains obtained during online interaction transfer to F2F interaction. Questionnaires were used to establish whether there are significant differences between the three modes of communication on learners’ ratings of self-confidence in, enjoyment of and willingness to express themselves in the TL, and whether these ratings vary for introverted and extraverted learners. During the session, preliminary results from this study were presented
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherHogeschool van Amsterdam
Media of outputFilm
Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2021
EventAILA conference 2021 : The dynamics of language, communication and culture in a changing world - online, Groningen, Netherlands
Duration: 17 Aug 2021 → …


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