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Technology-Enhanced Learning: Iranian Students' Attitudes towards Using ESP Web Sites. Roghayeh Sajedi Semnan University of Medical Sciences, Islamic Republic of IRAN

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technology enhanced learning iranian students attitudes towards using esp web sites

Technology-Enhanced Learning: Iranian Students'Attitudes towards Using ESP Web Sites

Roghayeh Sajedi

Semnan University of Medical Sciences, Islamic Republic of IRAN

R.Sajedi (EDULEARN11, 2011, Spain)


Modern technologies not only dramatically changed global communication but also had a profound effect on all aspects of language use.

Therefore; the use of technologies in English language classroom is increasingly developing, such as the World Wide Web, to facilitate the process of teaching & learning.

R.Sajedi (EDULEARN11, 2011, Spain)


New technologies should be assimilated into the curriculum and into teaching methods .Thus universities will have to prepare their students for the information world and make effective use of ICT to provide better education [1].

There are many theories and studies describing the profound implication of ICT for education: education can be transformed using ICT which brings new capabilities and capacities to learning [8]. Information and Communication Technology facilitates teaching learning process.

R.Sajedi (EDULEARN11, 2011, Spain)


According to Leloup and Ponterio [11], there are a number of aspects that are inherent to the ICT which make it particularly suitable for teaching languages, especially ESP. First of all, the Web is a veritable treasure trove of authentic materials for the ESP teacher .

Second, this information on the Internet will be up–to-date, so the teacher is no longer forced to use old-fashioned and outdated materials [19].

R.Sajedi (EDULEARN11, 2011, Spain)


There are different ESP Web sites for language teachers [10].Authentic language, increased motivation , interaction, creativity , student –centeredness ,discovery method of learning, and working independently can be the reasons for using Web sites in ESP learning. However, we should be aware of certain problems such as accuracy, appropriateness, and appeal (easy to use, interesting to read) and reliability of the information on the Web when applying Web sites in the classroom [13].

R.Sajedi (EDULEARN11, 2011, Spain)


What Is ESP?

According to Dudley –Evans & St .John [4], ESP is centered on the language appropriate to activities of the discipline it serves in terms of grammar, lexis register, study skills, discourse, and genre.

Another definition is offered by Komarova and Lipgart (1994), cited in Viel[16] who say, "by ESP we understood a variety of English characterized by two most important features: 1) definite conceptual orientation, 2) a set of linguistic restrictions imposed upon the contextual functioning of words."

R.Sajedi (EDULEARN11, 2011, Spain)


Using the Web in the ESP Classroom

Assche [1] points out several benefits of the Web:

Universities will be able to cope better with the challenges of preparing the students for the information society;

 Education will change from "being told" to exploration "with a much deeper understanding;

Tolerance and respect for other cultures will be practiced in universities; and

 Abstract teaching materials will become relevant to the real life.

When examining the goals of ESP teaching, one discovers that the use of the Web can be effective in attaining these objectives.

R.Sajedi (EDULEARN11, 2011, Spain)


Purpose of the Study

  • There are a lot of authentic materials for ESP teachers on the Web, but their effectiveness for language teaching depends on how well the collected materials fit the learners' future needs and their background knowledge. Despite the availability of such resources, they may not be useful unless the learners know how to use them to facilitate language learning. In this regard, the writer of this paper had a group of students use selected ESP Web sites in their language learning. Therefore, the main purpose of this study is to evaluate these questions:
  • Do teacher-introduced Web sites increase learner autonomy in ESP?
  • Are teacher-used guidelines considered to be useful in enhancing ESP learning through Web sites?
  • What problems and difficulties do students have in using selected Web sites?
  • Are students willing to use ESP Web sites in other classes during their four-year education?

R.Sajedi (EDULEARN11, 2011, Spain)


Methods and Procedures


A total of 60 collage students majoring in nursing and midwifery at Islamic Azad University, Tehran Branch were selected. They were freshmen and female students, while their ages ranged from 20 to 24.

R.Sajedi (EDULEARN11, 2011, Spain)



The students took part in two 90-minute instructed session in one week and one 90-minute session the other week. This was repeated through the term, which lasted for almost fourteen weeks. During the teaching sessions each computer was shared by two students. At first the students were given all the necessary information about the computer networks and equipment. Then a questionnaire was administered to them to be filled out concerning where they access the Web and how much usage they have, how frequently they get online, and how familiar they are with ESP Web sites. Then they were introduced to some ESP Web sites to practice ESP inside and outside class.

R.Sajedi (EDULEARN11, 2011, Spain)



After the training session, the students used the selected Web sites to complete a set of assigned exercises, which included reading comprehension and guessing the meaning of new words in context, or checking the meanings of the words by mouse-clicking on the hypertexts linked to the correct definitions, etc.

At the end of the fourteen-week instruction, an attitude questionnaire was administered to be filled out by the students concerning their use of the recommended Web sites. In this questionnaire the test takers were allowed to express their ideas on a 5-point Likert scale:

1) Strongly agreed, 2) agreed, 3) disagreed, 4) strongly disagreed,

R.Sajedi (EDULEARN11, 2011, Spain)



Computer Ownership and Location for Using the Web

18% of the students stated having home computers. 80% of the students reported using university facilities. 15% indicated using Net Cafes. Only 10% reported getting on line at home, and 5% indicated using library facilities. It can be seen from the data that the same students use different modes of access to the Web which explains why the total percentage exceeds 100%.

Time Spent Online per Week

38% reported getting online everyday; 30% got online four times a week, 40% three times a week, and 25% twice a week.

R.Sajedi (EDULEARN11, 2011, Spain)



Web Experience in ESP

70% of the subjects indicated not having used ESP Web sites before. Regardless of their online experience, most of the students were unfamiliar with the Web sites, and those familiar did not know how to use them.

R.Sajedi (EDULEARN11, 2011, Spain)


Students' Overall Attitudes towards Using Web Sites to learn ESP

Figure1. The students' attitudes towards using Web sites to learn ESP

R.Sajedi (EDULEARN11, 2011, Spain)


1. More opportunities should be provided to learn ESP using the Web.

2. Online learning should be included in all classes.

3. ESP can be more effective and interesting using the Web.

4. The Web helps to improve ESP ability and skills.

5. It is not difficult to learn to use the Web for ESP.

6. Materials become more comprehensive by using the Web.

7. The Web creates active learning and effective contact between the students and teacher.

8. The Web helps to learn the subject on a deeper level, creates fun, encourages monitoring, makes one think creatively and critically, and helps practice independent thinking.

R.Sajedi (EDULEARN11, 2011, Spain)


Students' Attitudes towards Creating Autonomous Learning through Web Sites

Figure2. The students' attitudes towards creating autonomous learning through Web sites

R.Sajedi (EDULEARN11, 2011, Spain)


Students' Attitudes towards Creating Autonomous Learning through Web Sites

1. We felt more empowered to take responsibility for ESP learning using the Web.

2. We felt more comfortable using the Web in ESP classes.

3. The web empowered us to be creative and work independently.

R.Sajedi (EDULEARN11, 2011, Spain)


Students' Attitudes towards Guidelines

74% of the students felt that the instructions were necessary online navigation. 90% considered the recommendation of useful sites to be necessary, and 92% needed an introduction to the contents of the chosen sites. The results showed that the students lacked experience using ESP resources on the Web. In addition, most of them found the Web to be effective in doing homework (71%)

R.Sajedi (EDULEARN11, 2011, Spain)


The Probability of Using the Web for Other Classes

93% of the students indicated that they will use the ESP Web sites during their four years of education.90% stated will even look for more ESP Web sites for self-learning. These findings suggested that the students' attitude towards future use of the Web was very positive. They found this supplementary mode of learning interesting, and 86% wanted more sites to be recommended.

R.Sajedi (EDULEARN11, 2011, Spain)



Much remains to be done in further research on the effectiveness of the Internet in education, especially language learning. The analysis of the results revealed that there was a positive attitude towards the chosen ESP Web sites. Therefore, it can be argued that Internet-based teaching of ESP can be an extremely powerful educational tool. The analysis of the results also confirmed the usefulness of ICT in the ESP classroom and development of learner autonomy.

Finally, since target language communication and cultures are well within reach these new technologies, this will make a tremendous impact on the ability of students to communicate directly with native speakers [11].

Lastly, the students of this age are becoming more visually oriented and those who navigate the Web are actually reading [12].

R.Sajedi (EDULEARN11, 2011, Spain)


The research leads to the following suggestions:

  • More access to ICT: Computers should be available more too individual students to be an integral part of ESP learning.
  • Updated systems: To optimize the effectiveness of ICT, communication and electrical systems need to be updated.
  • Learning atmosphere: To foster ESP learning, the computers should be viewed as an essential medium for ESP learning and instruction.
  • Professional development: To solve the technical problems and make effective use of ICT, teachers should receive the necessary instruction to incorporate ICT into the curriculum and become familiar with both hardware and software.

R.Sajedi (EDULEARN11, 2011, Spain)


Thank You a Universe

R.Sajedi (EDULEARN11, 2011, Spain)