Master of Education (Hons.)
Faculty of Education
Jia, Guodong, Evaluation of language software packages from the point of view of language learning and principles of instructional design, Master of Education (Hons.) thesis, Faculty of Education, University of Wollongong, 1996. http://ro.uow.edu.au/theses/2343
Many evaluations of software packages can be found in the literature, but not so many can be identified concerning the evaluation of language software packages, and particularly there are few relating to the evaluation of listening comprehension packages. This thesis presents a report on the evaluation of listening comprehension packages with the focus on identifying the most appropriate features from both language learning and instructional design perspectives in a computer-based learning environment.
Two listening software packages -- "Listen!" and "TriplePlay-English!" -- have been selected as samples which include most features available in listening packages at the time this research was conducted. Expert evaluation has been employed as the evaluation methodology and on-line / off-line interviews have been used as the dominant research method.
The following features were found to be appropriate in varying degrees in these packages: correct word stress and utterance intonation; separation of long utterances into information units; supply of background knowledge; availability of true-false or multiple-choice exercises as assessment; clear sound quality with no technical noise involved. Of possible instructional design features, two were evaluated: feedback and learner control. It was found that explanatory feedback and learner control on the type, sequence, and pace of learning were most appropriate in listening packages.
Related issues were put forward and discussed by experts in the process of evaluation. The main issues were clarity of pictures as an instructional medium; problems of using colour in instructions; inconsistency of linguistic patterns; display of written text; accuracy in grammar, capitalization and punctuation; culture bias embedded in learning contents; and difficulty of navigation.
A speaking feature, the role and use of media in feedback, learner control and learner's ability and navigation were suggested for further study.