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Student engagement and active learning

Studies have shown that active involvement in the learning process enhances

learning

(Benek-Rivera

&

Matthews,

2004;

&

Sarason

&

Banbury,

2004).

This

engagement by the learner in the ―active‖ process of learning is fueled by motivation.

Learner motivation is crucial in the process of language acquisition (Gardner & Lambert,

1972). Motivation is also one of the key components affecting student performance and

learning, particularly in online learning (Cole, Fields & Harris, 2004; Ryan, 2001). To be

able to harness this motivation is what educators seek. This study explored the role

technological tools play in motivating students. The asynchronous interview was used to

understand what stands out and motivates students using a given technology tool in a

situation.

This

phenomenological

research

gives

voice

to

student

experiences

in

a

exceptionally influential way (Thomas & Pollio, 2002). The descriptions shared by

participants help educators and researchers understand what being a student using Web

2.0 tools is really like. Through the development of such understanding we begin to

realize some of the difficulties faced by students as well as what helps students become

motivated in the language learning process. After careful analyses of the interview

transcripts, the fundamental nature of student experiences in using Web 2.0 technologies

might read as follows:

Networking, convenience, enhancement, pleasure and ease are everyday descriptors of student experiences using Web 2.0 technology. In order to connect with students, instructors must interact with students on multiple levels, and must also provide an environment where learning can take place. Activities must be motivating and centered on engaging students. Students need to be motivated, actively engaging in learning the language and be able to use it to communicate.

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