Future research project?

Martin Bygate has shown that task repetition facilitates more accurate and complex output. My research question is:

Does using message boards prior to a class discussion increase the accuracy and complexity of classroom interaction?

hypothesis: students who have written about a topic previously will produce more accurate and complex language during class discussions.

To find out: We’ll have to look at language produced in class.

Take a few discussion classes that are close in level and are doing the same topics. Let’s say we use 4. classes 1 + 3: discusses 1 topic normally and then discusses the next topic after writing about it on message boards. classes 2 + 4: discusses 1 topic after writing about it on message boards and then discusses one topic normally.

Example: The 1st topic is “staying helathy”. 2 + 4 classes have written about it previously and 1 + 3 haven’t. The langauge each class produces can be compared. 2 + 4 would be expected to produce more complex language. The 2nd topic is “keeping pets”. This time 1+3 have written about it and would be expected to produce more complex language during the class discussion.

If a particular class always performed better, than the difference wouldn’t be attributed to using message boards.

We could also look at one class over time: Do learners in a class generally produce produce more accurate/complex language in discussions after participating in message boards?

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  1. Aaron says:

    Interesting project. I would take care with your approach though. You are talking about comparing groups of human beings, not groups of something mechanical. If one group speaks differently than another, it could be for reasons completely other than what you are trying to study. Just because the group who participates online before f2f produces more complex language patterns *does not* mean that it is due to the online work exclusively. There are many dynamics taking place in a classroom of people and it is clear to me that emotions, perceptions, feelings, and interpersonal relations play a very significant role conversational performance. It could very well be that one group performs less well simply because the conflicting personalities of the various individuals cause distraction and nervousness in some of the students. How can account for that? I don’t think such positivistic approaches hold up well in such studies. It’s something certainly worth looking into though. Have you seen this article from Mark Warschauer?


    Cheers James!

  2. James Trotta says:

    You account for one group maybe having conflicting personalities, by studying many groups. Remember I wrote that this project would cover a few classes; if one class always did poorly (or well) it wouldn’t be attributed to the variable.

    If every group does better after using message boards though, that’s telling you something…