This paper evaluates the contribution of instructional technology to advanced-level foreign/second language learning (AL2) over the past thirty years. It is shown that the most salient feature of AL2 practice and associated Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) research are their rarity and restricted nature. Based on an analysis of four leading CALL journals (CALICO, CALL, LL&T, ReCALL), less than 3% of all CALL publications deal with AL2. Moreover, within this body of research, the range of languages involved is very restricted. Three languages, English, German and French, account for nearly 87% of the studies. Likewise, in nearly 81% of the cases, the learning focus is on the written language. Attention to oral-aural skills accounts for only 18% of all AL2 CALL projects. Whatever the targeted language or linguistic focus, the most striking aspect of advanced-level L2 CALL studies is the lack of information given regarding the competency level of students and the linguistic level of the activities undertaken. The determination of these critical parameters is thus of necessity very much a highly interpretive process. Based on the available evidence, it is estimated that half of the learners in these AL2 studies were in fact within the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) B1 range, i.e. below what would generally be considered as advanced-level competency. So, too, half of the assigned tasks were deemed to have been below the B2 level, with 40% of these below the B1 level. This study concludes that both quantitatively and qualitatively the contribution of instructional technology to advanced-level L2 acquisition has been very limited.
This document was originally published in CALL Communities and Culture - Short Papers from EUROCALL 2016 by Research-Publishing.Net. Copyright restrictions may apply.
Burston, Jack and Arispe, Kelly. (2016). "The Contribution of CALL to Advanced-Level Foreign/Second Language Instruction". CALL Communities and Culture - Short Papers from EUROCALL 2016, 61-68. http://dx.doi.org/10.14705/rpnet.2016.eurocall2016.539