Towards More Effective App-Assisted Language Learning: The Essential Content and Design Features of Educational Applications

Document Type: Research Paper

Author

Department of Foreign Languages, Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran, Iran

Abstract

While the use of apps specifically designed for language learning has witnessed a surge over the past decade, research on the productivity of these apps for language learning purposes along with their essential design and content features from students’ lens remains scant. The present paper illustrates an attempt to explore the way using language learning apps throughout an academic semester develops university level students’ semi-technical English language knowledge and the features and qualities they find essential in these educational apps. Drawing on empirical data obtained from pre- and post-tests and App Feature Interview form, it was observed that students who used language learning apps had a significantly better performance in a semi-technical English language post-test compared to the students who did not use language learning apps of their choice. Following content analysis, participants’ responses to an interview question were explored to determine the qualities they found crucial for language learning apps. Students highlighted 18 qualities, which were categorized under three main themes: smartphone, pedagogical content, and design features, as required for effective language learning apps. The findings of this study provide insights for educational app designers and educators on what works better in these apps from users’ perspective.

Keywords

Main Subjects