Friday, March 18, 2011

Impact of Weblogs on Language Learning

Innovation in technologies initiated enormous invasions in language learning. Weblog, updated personal online diaries (Glogoff, 2003) is one of the prominent contributions of the technocrat in this line. The accelerated speed with which the weblog is being used today seems to promote in higher education settings especially in language learning. Scholars view that blogs are useful for language learning because of their reflective nature. The present paper brings out a kaleidoscopic view on the research works existing on the weblogs in language learning. The review compiled shows that weblog found to be one of the salient tools which can be comfortably applied in academic disciplines to facilitate language development. This study elegantly exposes the lacuna existing in the empirical world on weblog and candidly proposes some direction for future research in this field.


As a human being, language is a very essential to communicate with others. Learning language is one of the important components to survive in this modern technological world. If there is no language, nothing will be fruitful. One’s world is depends their language power. Smashing technology yields a way for language learners. A weblog, also known as an online diary, is now one of the most popular language learning tools in the Internet world, helps individual to improve and develop their language ability. Weblog originates a decade ago and it has a very influential impact on the language learning and education in our innovative society (Blood 2002).
Blood (2002) also believes that “passion in language learning is the purpose of the weblog,” explaining that the individual’s choice of language learning is “colored by the extent to which you care for language; if you don’t care for language, you might as well not learn language at the most of your interest. Although early research claimed that blogs were popular simply because of language learning (Stiler and Philleo 2003).

Weblog is a place for Language Learning
Blogs are typically individualistic or collaborative in nature (Murray & Hourigan, 2006). On a more practical point, blogs are perceived to be helpful for language learning for the following reasons:
• They are quite easy to set up
• The software is readily accessible and free of charge
• Blog hosting sites are multilingual – for example is available
in ten different languages
• The content is instantly publishable on the web
• It is easy to go through past articles to rectify mistakes and learn their
languages well
• Interaction and commentary from the teacher and fellow learner’s are
facilitated by the ‘comment ‘function to language mistakes
• Target language blogs exist which may provide content for discourse

Blogs are typically perceived to be beneficial in helping to promote thinking in the particular language which the learner wants to learn (Oravec, 2002) as well as encouraging interactivity between language learners (Ferdig & Trammell, 2004).

Weblog and Language Acquisition
Weblog is a mass medium of language learning tool between a learner and the intended educator (Gumbrecht 2004). This field of thoughts suggests that weblog helps to focus their language learning through self-documentation of key life events, cultivating good writing habit and style in their target language which is to be learned, articulating one’s language accomplishments, taking information about their language acquisition, passing time and improve language skills, socializing with other people with the intention of language development, seeking personal entertainment and achieving professional advancement of their language learning are the underlying motivation factors to blog for their language acquisition (Li 2005; Trammell et al. 2006).

Weblog and Social Ties for Language Learning
Weblog, where many learners are contributing to improve their language skills, learners read each other and are influenced by each other’s’ language skills. It is through the constant process of learning, writing and referencing that learners come to know each other at an informal level. Links are the social currency of this interaction, allowing learners to be aware of who is reading and commenting on their writings about their language learning. A number of distinct subtypes of links have emerged within the medium, each one conveying a slightly different kind of social information: They are,

Blogrolls: refers “Nearly every weblog contains a list of other blogs that the language learner’s reads regularly”. Blogrolls evolved early in the development of the medium both as a type of social acknowledgement and as a navigational tool for language learners to find other learners with similar interests of language skills.
Permalinks: Weblogs are comprised of many individual language learners’ entries; each post shows learners language skills. Initial stage of weblog, it would be necessary to refer to specific posts instead of an entire weblog (Dash 2003); this feature allowed learners to have a sort of distributed conversation, where one post can respond to another on an entirely different weblog. These entry reference points are called permalinks and they are a core element for language learning.
Comments: The most basic form of weblog is the comment, other learners can reply to a specific post within the site. Comments serve a range of usefulness as a simple and effective way for learners to interact and learn language with the help of other leaners and teachers to improve language skills.

Trackbacks: A recent feature of weblog tools is the trackback, an automatic communication that occurs when one weblog references another. This automated referencing system gives learners awareness of who is discussing their language skills outside the comments on their site. These are the social ties which is much to be helped from a degree of interaction and possibilities of peer learning and support for language development (Hall and Davison 2007; Nardi et al. 2004).

Blog Features for Language Learning
Research suggests that blogs typically share the following features for language learning: Individual ownership: Bartlett-Bragg (2003) suggested that individual ownership is one of the most important features of blogs. In essence, the individual owns the blog and responsible for the blog, both in terms of publishing the blog content, moderating the contents in the comments provided by readers, so that the blogger can change and edit his blog, through each post he can improve his language because of his ownership (Baggetun &Wasson, 2006; Downes, 2004).

Hyperlinked post structure: Blog technology allows an individual to create hypertext links to reference materials of language outside the individual’s site. Given the highly individualized nature of blogs, the selection of links would therefore be at the discretion of the blogger, who may link to reference materials anywhere on the web; or for that matter, choose not to link (Herring et al., 2005) proposed that the presence of links may be taken as one of the distinguishing feature of blogs and helps to learn language through their blog.

Updates displayed in reverse chronological order: A typical blog captures the latest posting at the top of the page. Older posts (hence older contents) appear further down the latest post. Such a reverse chronological order of displays in the updates is another feature of blogs. This systematic reverse chronological display of the postings allows the individuals to access his latest posting immediately when he logs on to his blog to see his language acquisition.

Archival of postings: Blogs provide for the auto-archiving of older posts. Newer posts are reflected on the top of the blog, so that the blogger can refer last post and improve his language learning.. In practice, this is not so as the system only captures a certain fixed number of recent posts on the site and that older posts are no longer shown. Older posts are archived and may be accessed for his future reference to see the improvement of language learning. (Pacquet, 2002).

Literature of Weblog and Language Learning
Several papers have appeared in the literature (Duber, 2002, Campbell 2003, Godwin-Jones 2003, Johnson 2004, and Dieu 2004) stressing on the possible uses of weblogs for language learning. Fiedler (2003) defines weblogs as a reflective conversational tool for self-organized language learning. Self-regulated language learners are said to be motivated themselves and focused on language learning with the help of blogging (Lynch & Dembo, 2004). Weblog, enables the language learners to ‘keep track of their learning history, and allows for a certain kind of reflection of their own learning process’ (Guribye, 2005, Brown, 1985; Collins & Brown, 1987).
Storytelling can be considered as the first steps to develop language (Huffaker, 2004). Weblog is a place where learners can write stories to improve language skills (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 1999). Stories also help to express experiences and feelings in their particular language in an entertaining way (Denning, 2001) and to exercise imagination and explore creativity in language use (Cassell & Ryokai, 2001).

Research indicates that the blogosphere is a powerful reflective learning space which offers the opportunity to interact with others and learn language in a natural environment as part of everyday life (Ladyshewsky & Gardner, 2008; Sevelj, 2006).
Learner’s involved in the language community weblog were not only more successful by using this tool as a means to learn language and be empowered but also were able enhance their writing ability in their target language (Du & Wagner, 2005). A number of higher education institutions, including University of Michigan, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Purdue University, have increased their adoptions of Weblog in classroom lectures (Dearstyne, 2005).

Blogging helps to improve other skills related to Language Learning
Blogs are used by participants to interact or communicate with other people (e.g., classmates or instructor) (Davi, Frydenberg, & Gulati, 2007; Farmer et al., 2008; Kerawalla et al., 2008; Kuzu, 2007; Makri & Kynigos, 2007; Nackerud & Scaletta, 2008; Wang & Hsua, 2008). Kuzu (2007), for example, reported that language learners used blogs to empower their social interaction with people. Learners at earlier stages of their learning may not yet have acquired the appropriate linguistic skills to write in the target language. In this type of situation, writing the blog improves their linguistic skill with the help of internet.

Other important learning competencies, such as skills in time management, could also be supported by blog use (Oravec 2002). Blogs have utility for completing class assignments, posting student work for peer review, working in teams, creating a portfolio of writings, contributing to a class blog by leaving comments on thought provoking questions, responding to topics discussed in class, or writing opinions or questions on daily news items or other current event issues (Oravec 2003).

Technology emerges and motivates everyone to compete in a better level. Because of emerging technology, we have enough sources and facilities to promote our language skills. Learning language is an important skill to communicate better way. Weblog, online journal, help individuals to learn language effectively and make learners to interact with other learners for their language learning and language development.

No comments: