Web-Based Writing Lessons in EFL Contexts: Instruction on Coherent Writing

Authors

Alzahra University

Abstract

In Iranian language learning contexts, writing in English is an important
challenge for learners, since it is usually treated as a secondary skill and is led to
the periphery of language classes, due to its time-consuming nature. Computer
technology and namely the free online environments available in the World
Wide Web (WWW) offer possibilities for moving beyond such confinements.
Asynchronous discussion forums and web-based materials, for instance,
can facilitate e-writing in addition to being motivational and engaging. Such
environments can compensate for the time limitations which restrict language
classes, and also offer equal learning opportunities to all learners. The present
experimental research investigates how implementing technology i.e., web-
based writing lessons can enhance the degree of coherence in participants’
English essays. The data consists of the results of the pre- and post-treatment
TOEFL-like writing exams, which were scored according to the degree of
coherence they demonstrated. The participants included forty female Iranian
students studying English as a foreign language in a private institute in Tehran.
They were randomly divided into comparison and experimental groups. The
experimental group used an educational website entitled “Writing Snapshot:
Web-Based Writing Lessons for EFL Learners,” specifically designed for this
purpose; and their classes were held in the computer lab of the institute. The
comparison group received a conventional book-based treatment.
The results revealed that the essays of the participants in the experimental group
working with web-based lessons demonstrated a statistically significantly
higher frequency and diversity of indicators of coherence. It would seem,
therefore, that introducing new technologies into language classes can open
new horizons for EFL writing practice.

Keywords