Impact of WhatsApp Interaction on Improving L2 Speaking Skills
Keywords:Mobile Assisted Language Learning, SLA, Listening, Speaking, WhatsApp, Informal learning, collaborative learning
Mobile Assisted Language Learning (MALL) not only provides access to authentic learning resources and facilitates second language (L2) learning anytime and anywhere but also offers scope for informal learning beyond the classroom. Social media with instant messaging and multi-modal communication and information sharing provide platforms for interaction with peers and collaborative learning to hone their L2 skills. There is little research on informal learning through WhatsApp in enhancing L2 speaking skills. This paper studies the impact of interaction and informal learning in a WhatsApp group on improving a) fluency and coherence, b) lexical resource, c) grammatical range and accuracy and d) pronunciation which form the criteria for assessing speaking skills in IELTS. It also studies how participants perceive the changes in their speaking skills based on the band descriptors of IELTS. Mixed methods approach was adopted to obtain data from the group consisting of mixed ability participants (n=110) with pre and post speaking assessments and pre and post surveys. The participants were given collaborative learning activities and problem solving tasks at regular intervals for over two semesters. The results indicated statistically significant difference in their speaking skills and considerable change in their perceptions. The study has implications for both teachers and researchers of second language acquisition (SLA) for incorporating social media for interaction in the target language beyond the classroom.
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