Peng, H., Sake,J., Lowie, W. (2021). A person-centred approach to L2 learners informal mobile language learning. Computer Assisted Language Learning. [Published Online January 2021]
The study investigated the informal mobile language learning activities of the students, using a person-centred approach which the authors define as an approach which “…views each individual as a functioning whole, with interwoven components jointly contributing to the process of individual development”: (p.5) The components include individual learning behaviours, motivation, emotion and learning context. This approach, rather than viewing the components as separate variables, seeks to view them as interrelated and as pointing to a learning pattern.
Cluster analysis of the data from a questionnaire resulted in the identification of 6 types of learners each with what the researchers describe as “a distinct package of motivational, emotional and linguistic interaction. The “learner types” ranged from those who spent little or no time on language learning outside the classroom to those who made extensive use of mobile technologies for informal language learning.
Although this article reports on the methodology and results of a study conducted with 240 English language students in a Chinese university, the methodology used and the findings, will be of interest to researchers and language instructors in a variety of language learning contexts. The article provides an accessible explanation of the person-centred approach and its potential to help to develop a clearer and finer-grained understanding of the complexities and possibilities of mobile language learning.
In addition, the use of a person-centred approach has the potential to support instructors in the design of tailored instruction and scaffolding at all learning levels to better enable students to make productive use of self-directed, informal mobile language learning.