The Effectiveness of Computer-Mediated Communication on SLA: A Meta-Analysis and Research Synthesis

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© 2012


Over the past two decades, a large body of research has been conducted on the effectiveness of computer-mediated communication (CMC) employed as either stand-alone or instructional tools in SLA classrooms. Findings from this large body of work, however, are not conclusive, making it important to identify factors that would inform its successful implementations. This meta-analysis of empirical studies was conducted to examine the effects of CMC on language learning outcomes by calculating Cohen's d effect sizes (Cohen, 1988) for each study on different learning outcomes. Altogether 56 primary studies were retrieved as eligible studies between 2000-2011, including 27 journal articles, 12 dissertations, 12 theses and 5 conference papers. Each study went through a two-level coding, the first level being study-feature coding and the second level effect-size coding. Twelve substantive and methodological features were coded for each study in the first level, 6 of which were identified as potential moderator variables that would affect the effectiveness of CMC differently. Tentative findings of this meta-analysis include: (a) there was a small to medium effect for CMC compared to face-to-face communication, (b) the effect of CMC was not equal for all language skills, and (c) small group sizes produced the largest effect compared to no grouping at all or groups with more than 3 students.

Keywords: CMC, meta-analysis, SLA.


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Lin, Huifen. (2012). The Effectiveness of Computer-Mediated Communication on SLA: A Meta-Analysis and Research Synthesis. In Linda Bradley, Sylvie Thouësny (Eds), CALL: Using, Learning, Knowing, EUROCALL Conference, Gothenburg, Sweden, 22-25 August 2012, Proceedings (pp. 177-181).

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