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Influence of Mobile Applications on Language Learning Motivation among Secondary School Students

Influence of Mobile Applications on Language Learning Motivation among Secondary School Students

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1.1       Background to the Study

Language learning constitutes a fundamental aspect of education, serving as a gateway to cross-cultural understanding, cognitive development, and professional growth. The advent of mobile technology, particularly the proliferation of mobile applications (apps), has introduced unprecedented opportunities and challenges to language learning pedagogy, especially among secondary school students.

Effective communication skills are crucial for students to succeed academically and professionally. Due to different languages and cultural factors in multilingual countries, English is often considered as a second language. Here, English proficiency facilitates the exchange of knowledge, culture, education, and innovation (Dang and Vu, 2020). Since the English language is mandatory, mobile devices and their apps have become essential tools in the field of English language teaching and learning with 3g, 4g and 5G technology.

Motivation is imperative in teaching and learning activities because it stimulate learning interest (Tokan & Imakulata, 2019). Filgona, Sakiyo, Gwany and Okoronka, (2020) considered motivation as the essential component in the art of teaching and learning. Consequently, the 21st century scholars have shown serious interest in the study of students’ motivation in teaching and learning environment (Sengkey, 2018).

Another phenomenon that shows that learning has taken place is the achievement of the learning outcomes. Learning outcomes are considered by Erawati (2020) as the expression of the expected knowledge that learners are to inculcate within teaching and learning experiences. The realization of the learning outcomes can be confirmed through administration of both formative and summative evaluation.

Motivation is considered as the drive that moves an individual into consciously guided activities (Sogunro, 2015). Moreover, it propel students to learn and stimulate the cognitive, affective and psychomotor abilities of the students to realize the learning outcomes. Motivation induces learners with passion and internal strength that makes them to rightly adjust to learning environment, set learning goals, achieve the goals, and overcome different life challenges (Souders, 2019).

Motivation is an internal drive that boosts some traits in an individual for the purpose of achieving some goals (Nurun, Islam, Mahady, Abdullah and Al Hossain 2017). Motivation promotes dedication and curiosity that have influence on the achievement of learning outcomes (Rumapea, 2019). In addition, Viau, 2015 explained that motivation is part of students’ innate experience that makes them to realize their academic needs.

According to Hoang, Pham, Dang and Nguyen (2021), language instructional gadgets are utilized increasingly in the field of language teaching. Recent research has shown that productive use of language learning apps for just 30 min a day significantly improved English language proficiency (Booton, Hodgkiss and Murphy 2021). However, students from rural backgrounds are confronted by a variety of difficulties.

These make it challenging to learn a language and include a lack of equipped institutions (Assunção Flores and Gago, 2020), socio-cultural barriers (Malik, Qin and Oteir, 2021), financial difficulties, a lack of parental guidance, and a lack of motivation. It is crucial to practise listening in the language learning process and difficult to provide linguistic knowledge (Namaziandost, Neisi, Mahdavirad and Nasri, 2019).

Thus, students struggle to learn the English language and this might be attributed to the lack of focus on language skills (Spada and Lightbown, 2019). When the aspects of the language learning process are looked into, concentration, understanding, and memory are the important components (Yüzlü and Dikilitaş, 2022).

Mobile applications have redefined the dynamics of language learning by capitalizing on the affordances of digital technology to provide learners with personalized, interactive, and immersive learning experiences. Through gamification, adaptive learning algorithms, and social networking functionalities, mobile apps cater to the diverse needs and preferences of learners, transcending traditional pedagogical boundaries (Wang & Shen, 2020). The gamified elements embedded within language learning apps, such as challenges, rewards, and progress tracking mechanisms, stimulate learners’ intrinsic motivation by tapping into their innate desires for mastery, autonomy, and social interaction (Fujimoto & Nakamura, 2021).

Furthermore, the ubiquitous nature of mobile devices ensures that language learning is no longer confined to the physical classroom but extends into various contexts and settings. Learners can seamlessly integrate language learning activities into their daily routines, capitalizing on idle moments for microlearning sessions, vocabulary drills, or cultural immersion experiences (Cheng et al., 2022). This flexibility and accessibility empower learners to take ownership of their learning process, fostering a sense of agency and self-efficacy crucial for long-term engagement and achievement (Lee & Chan, 2021).

However, the integration of mobile applications into language learning environments is not without its challenges. Technical issues, such as connectivity problems, device compatibility, and software glitches, may impede learners’ access to learning materials and undermine their motivation (Aldahdouh et al., 2019). Moreover, concerns have been raised regarding the quality and authenticity of content within language learning apps, with critics cautioning against the oversimplification or distortion of language and cultural representations (Chun & Plass, 2016). Additionally, the over-reliance on gamification mechanics may inadvertently promote extrinsic motivation at the expense of genuine interest and engagement in language learning (Han & Jo, 2020).

Influence of Mobile Applications on Language Learning Motivation among Secondary School Students

In addition, by leveraging the insights gleaned from cognitive psychology, educational technology, and applied linguistics, educators can design effective learning interventions that harness the affordances of mobile technology while mitigating its potential pitfalls (Chen & Wang, 2019). Hence, through collaborative efforts between researchers, practitioners, and technology developers, the field of mobile-assisted language learning can continue to evolve, innovating new strategies and methodologies to enhance language learning motivation, proficiency, and intercultural competence among secondary school students. Therefore, based on this background, this study aimed on exploring the influence of mobile applications on language learning motivation among secondary school students in Ondo State.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

The surge in mobile technology has revolutionized language learning practices, particularly among secondary school students who are increasingly turning to mobile applications (apps) as integral tools in their language acquisition journey. However, amidst this rapid adoption, there exists a critical gap in understanding how these apps impact students’ motivation and engagement, crucial factors that significantly influence language learning outcomes.

Moreover, despite the widespread use of language learning apps, there is a lack of comprehensive insight into the intricate dynamics shaping students’ motivation and engagement within this digital learning landscape. While some research highlights the potential of these apps to boost motivation through gamification and personalized learning experiences, others caution against potential pitfalls such as shallow engagement and overreliance on technology. Moreover, the quality and effectiveness of language learning apps vary significantly, posing challenges for educators and students in selecting suitable resources aligned with pedagogical principles.

Furthermore, the broader socio-cultural and institutional contexts play a pivotal role in shaping students’ interactions with language learning apps. Factors such as students’ socio-economic backgrounds, access to technology, and institutional support influence their ability to leverage these tools effectively. Moreover, institutional policies and teacher training programs significantly impact the integration of mobile technology into language learning pedagogy, ultimately shaping the success of mobile-assisted language learning initiatives. Therefore, this study aimed on exploring the influence of mobile applications on language learning motivation among secondary school students in Ondo State.

1.3       Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study focus on exploring the influence of mobile applications on language learning motivation among secondary school students in Ondo State. Specifically, the study aimed to:

(1) examine the features of mobile applications that motivates learning of the language among secondary schools students.

(2)  examine the influence of mobile applications on that motivates language learning skills (listening, speaking, reading, writing, and viewing)

(3) examine the instructional materials that may be developed to further enhance language learning.

1.4       Research Questions

The following research questions were formulated to guide the study.

(1)  What are the features of mobile applications that motivate learning of the language among secondary schools students?

(2)  How does mobile applications influence student’s motivation of language learning skills (listening, speaking, reading, writing, and viewing)?

(3)   What are the instructional materials that may be developed to enhance language learning?

1.6   Significance of the Study

The study will be of importance in the following ways:-

  1. This study contributes to educational innovation by exploring the effectiveness of mobile apps in language learning for secondary school students.
  2. Findings can inform policymakers about integrating mobile technology into language learning curricula, leading to evidence-based policies.
  3. Results guide teacher training programs, helping educators effectively integrate mobile apps into language teaching.
  4. Furthermore, student Engagement: Understanding factors influencing student engagement assists in designing personalized learning experiences, enhancing motivation.
  5. This study sets the stage for future research in mobile-assisted language learning, identifying areas for further exploration.
  6. The study will serve as a reference point or material for other researchers who may like to carry out research on the similar topic.

1.7   Limitation of the Study

Some of the challenges encountered while conducting the research include lack of sufficient funds and short duration assigned for the study.

1.8   Delimitation of the Study

For the purpose of effective research work, this study was delimited to exploring the influence of mobile applications on language learning motivation among secondary school students in Ondo State.

1.9  Operation Definitions of Terms:

The following concepts are defined as they are applied in the study.

Mobile Applications: Mobile applications, commonly referred to as mobile apps, are software programs designed to run on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

Language: Language is a system of communication that uses symbols, such as words and gestures, to convey meaning. Language can take many forms, including spoken, written, and signed languages, and it plays a crucial role in shaping our understanding of the world.

Language learning: Language learning refers to the process of acquiring a new language or improving proficiency in a language that is not one’s native tongue.

Motivation: Motivation is defined as the process that initiates, guides, and maintains goal-oriented behaviors.

Secondary school: A secondary school is an educational institution that provides education for students in the age group of 11 to 18 years.

Students: Students are individuals who are enrolled in an educational institution and are actively engaged in learning and acquiring knowledge.

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