I read an interesting study by Al-Jarf (2004) entitled, “Examining the effects of web based learning on struggling EFL college writers”. The study examined if there were significant differences in the achievement of struggling EFL students in traditional classrooms, depending on text book only, to struggling EFL students in traditional classrooms and web based instruction.
Both groups of students used the same text book for twelve weeks. After the twelve weeks, the second group of students utilised web based learning such as writing blog posts, stories and poems and posting them to the course discussion board. This quantitative study found that students in the second group performed significantly higher than their traditional classroom only peers.
Students in the second group engaged in more writing, and exchanged ideas outside the classroom. There was an increase in student-student and student-teacher interactions.
I found this study interesting as it solidified my understanding of the benefits of NGL in a practical sense. So often I find educators claiming some fantastic intervention, however, it can be hard to back it up. This paper gave me a greater understanding of the research underpinning both NGL and its benefits along with some other studies that have showed areas of weakness using NGL.
As a student in the course, I find collaborating with peers helpful in my understanding of the course content, in a similar way the students in this study collaborated with each other to gain a greater understanding of writing conventions.