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International Journal
of
Learning, Teaching
And
Educational Research
p-ISSN:
1694-2493
e-ISSN:
1694-2116
IJLTER.ORG
Vol.19 No.8
International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research
(IJLTER)
Vol. 19, No. 8 (August 2020)
Print version: 1694-2493
Online version: 1694-2116
IJLTER
International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research (IJLTER)
Vol. 19, No. 8
This work is subject to copyright. All rights are reserved by the Publisher, whether the whole or part
of the material is concerned, specifically those of translation, reprinting, re-use of illustrations,
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Society for Research and Knowledge Management
International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research
The International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational
Research is a peer-reviewed open-access journal which has been
established for the dissemination of state-of-the-art knowledge in the
fields of learning, teaching and educational research.
Aims and Objectives
The main objective of this journal is to provide a platform for educators,
teachers, trainers, academicians, scientists and researchers from over the
world to present the results of their research activities in the following
fields: innovative methodologies in learning, teaching and assessment;
multimedia in digital learning; e-learning; m-learning; e-education;
knowledge management; infrastructure support for online learning;
virtual learning environments; open education; ICT and education;
digital classrooms; blended learning; social networks and education; e-
tutoring: learning management systems; educational portals, classroom
management issues, educational case studies, etc.
Indexing and Abstracting
The International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational
Research is indexed in Scopus since 2018. The Journal is also indexed in
Google Scholar and CNKI. All articles published in IJLTER are assigned
a unique DOI number.
Foreword
We are very happy to publish this issue of the International Journal of
Learning, Teaching and Educational Research.
The International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational
Research is a peer-reviewed open-access journal committed to
publishing high-quality articles in the field of education. Submissions
may include full-length articles, case studies and innovative solutions to
problems faced by students, educators and directors of educational
organisations. To learn more about this journal, please visit the website
http://www.ijlter.org.
We are grateful to the editor-in-chief, members of the Editorial Board
and the reviewers for accepting only high quality articles in this issue.
We seize this opportunity to thank them for their great collaboration.
The Editorial Board is composed of renowned people from across the
world. Each paper is reviewed by at least two blind reviewers.
We will endeavour to ensure the reputation and quality of this journal
with this issue.
Editors of the August 2020 Issue
VOLUME 19 NUMBER 8 August 2020
Table of Contents
Training Professional Humanities’ Teachers: A Controversial Study about Generic Methods ...................................1
Tamar Ketko
The Effects of Mobile Learning on Listening Comprehension Skills and Attitudes of Omani EFL Adult Learners ...
.................................................................................................................................................................................................16
Abdullah Al-Shamsi, Abdo Mohamed Al-Mekhlafi, Saleh Al Busaidi and Maher Mohammad Hilal
What about Study Motivation? Students´ and Teachers’ Perspectives on What Affects Study Motivation ............ 40
Lena Boström and Göran Bostedt
The Dragon, the Knight and the Princess: Folklore in Early Childhood Disaster Education .....................................60
Maila D.H. Rahiem and Husni Rahim
Lecture-simulation-combined Education Improve Nursing Undergraduates' Knowledge and Attitude for
Palliative Care .......................................................................................................................................................................81
Yan Wang
Contextualising Computational Thinking: A Case Study in Remote Rural Sarawak Borneo ....................................98
Nur Hasheena Anuar, Fitri Suraya Mohamad and Jacey-Lynn Minoi
Can Peer to Peer Interaction (PPI) be a Global Theme to Promote Engagement in Students of Diverse
Characteristics and Country Contexts?............................................................................................................................ 117
Nazlee Siddiqui, Khasro Miah, Afreen Ahmad Hasnain and David Greenfield
Teacher Education Institutions in the Philippines towards Education 4.0..................................................................137
Rivika Alda, Helen Boholano and Filomena Dayagbil
Influence of Demotivators on Acceptance of Technology: Challenges of Expatriate School Teachers while
Imparting Online Teaching ............................................................................................................................................... 155
Gokuladas V. K. and Baby Sam S. K.
Conceptual Framework of Evaluation Model on 4 C'S-Based Learning Supervision ............................................... 173
Eny Winaryati, Mardiana and Muhamad Taufik Hidayat
The Effect of Classroom Climate on Academic Motivation Mediated by Academic Self-Efficacy in a Higher
Education Institute in China.............................................................................................................................................. 194
Qiumei Wang, Kenny Cheah Soon Lee and Kazi Enamul Hoque
Metacognitive Writing Strategies Used by Omani Grade Twelve Students............................................................... 214
Ibtisam Sultan Al Moqbali, Salma Al Humaidi, Abdo Al Mekhlafi and Maher Abu Hilal
Implementation of Online Learning during the Covid-19 Pandemic on Madura Island, Indonesia....................... 233
Priyono Tri Febrianto, Siti Mas'udah and Lutfi Apreliana Megasari
High School Students’ Difficulties in Making Mathematical Connections when Solving Problems....................... 255
Jailani ., Heri Retnawati, Ezi Apino and Agus Santoso
Application of Rasch Model to Develop a Questionnaire for Evaluating the Quality of Teaching for Students’
Creativity Development..................................................................................................................................................... 278
Thi Le Thuy Bui, Vyacheslav I. Kazarenkov and Van De Tran
The Challenges of South African Teachers in Teaching Euclidean Geometry............................................................ 297
Simon A. Tachie
Health Professional Students’ Perceptions and Experiences of Remote Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic
............................................................................................................................................................................................... 313
Fatmah Almoayad, Afrah Almuwais, Samiah F. Alqabbani and Nada Benajiba
Baseline Assessment in the Elementary Mathematics Classroom: Should it be Optional or Mandatory for
Teaching and Learning?..................................................................................................................................................... 330
Mamsi Ethel Khuzwayo and Herbert Bhekumusa Khuzwayo
Authentic Videos in Teaching English to Engineering Students at Universities........................................................ 350
Nataliia Saienko and Mariana Shevchenko
Quality Management of Educational Activities in the Training of Specialists in the Field of Health Care: the Case
of Ukrainian Medical HEIs................................................................................................................................................ 371
Svitlana V. Gordiychuk, Liudmyla M. Kalinina, Irena E. Snikhovska and Olga V. Goray
Use of Augmented Reality to Improve Specific and Transversal Competencies in Students ..................................393
Esteban Vázquez-Cano, Verónica Marín-Díaz, Wellington Remigio Villota Oyarvide and Eloy López-Meneses
How School Culture and Teacher’s Work Stress Impact on Teacher’s Job Satisfaction ............................................ 409
Susan Febriantina, Suparno Suparno, Marsofiyati Marsofiyati and Rusi Rusmiati Aliyyah
Investigating the Quality of University Education: A Focus on Supply Chain Management..................................424
Joash Mageto, Rose Luke and Gert Heyns
Exploring the Content Knowledge of Accounting Teachers in Rural Contexts: A Call for a Decoloniality
Approach ............................................................................................................................................................................. 447
Habasisa Vincent Molise
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©2020 The author and IJLTER.ORG. All rights reserved.
International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research
Vol. 19, No. 8, pp. 1-15, August 2020
https://doi.org/10.26803/ijlter.19.8.1
Training Professional Humanities’ Teachers:
Study about Generic Methods
Controversial
A
Tamar Ketko
Kibbutzim College of Education, Tel Aviv, Israel
https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7552-8545
Abstract. In the 21st century, generic methods and synergetic learning
have been widely embraced in the areas of pedagogical and professional
studies. It is crucial, especially in school-activity environments that
involve technology and digital knowledge. Those who are capable of
studying in teams and who promote ‘collective intelligence’ are likely to
become influential and inspiring students and teachers. By
understanding aligned visions from different viewpoints, students and
teachers can maximize their efforts and talents. The idea of collective
teacher efficacy (CTE) positively affects student outcomes and therefore
is an essential tool in teacher training and practices. We live in the
ongoing dynamics of integrated diverse thoughts, methods, disciplines,
and activities. To create a better ecology for qualitative existence,
numerous scholars and teachers, seek to devise necessary changes in
education and social initiatives. In a world split by regimes and values,
dealing with conflictual dilemmas is inevitable: preserving classical
methods on the one hand, and encouraging innovative attitudes on the
other. These contradictory approaches raise critical didactical questions
about training future teachers and educators without prejudicing their
fundamental essence. This article presents a three-years research of a
group of students, at the Kibbutzim College of Education, Tel Aviv, who
were trained to become professional teachers in the humanities, and their
pedagogical eco-systems. It discusses some dilemmas about progressive
school methods and focuses on some of the advantages and
disadvantages of the generical attitudes in their practical work, regarding
the gap between their first year of studying and the first year of teaching.
Keywords: Generic studies; Interdisciplinary; Pedagogical attitudes;
Professional training
1. Introduction
The differentiation, isolation, and preventing the blurring of identity, were always
the focal point of competition, tensions between tribes, peoples, cultures, and
governing mechanisms. This idea is also present in the theological sources and the
logic underlying division into categories. It is reasonable to assume that on these
foundations, seven fields of human wisdom have been consolidated, and
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separated from rituals and theology. These seven perceived components of a well-
balanced education system are divided into two groups. The first comprised
Latin, rhetorical language and logic, and the second, Mathematics, Geometry,
Astronomy, and Music. In the 12th century, after the first universities were
established in Western Europe, academic faculties also added Theology, Law,
Medicine, and Philosophy as fields of study. Continuing the tradition of the
guilds, which represented diverse skills in the Middle Ages, the importance of a
profession grew as did the clarification of professional skills. These had to be
studied in an orderly manner under the strict supervision of the “master,” to
guarantee the necessary level of execution and knowledge. This led to the
development of vocational schools and higher education institutions that taught
building, engineering, architecture, all types of technology, and the
accompanying practical fields of knowledge, which demanded accreditation and
a degree following advanced international standards (Doolitlle, 2015; Bergman,
2018).
Shifting chronologically to the Modern Age, it appears that the ability to manage
knowledge and its fabric of combinations is manifested not only in the degree of
aspiration to readjust it to present reality but also in the ability to respond to the
unexpected. The idea of focusing only on what is relevant to human existence and
the professional field questions the value of accumulated knowledge and the
acquisition of basic concepts and introductory infrastructures. Response to a
specific policy that each regime enforces, current events, and changing public
trends, dictates what study content will remain, and what will be deleted. Steps
of this kind necessarily demand innovative research methods and skills of follow-
up and control for measuring the educational yardstick and risk evaluation. This
is true because of the 21st century, which will most probably be characterized by
political, social, and cultural uncertainty, the impact of the media and social
networks on methods of choice, and the level of achievement and success in the
field (Goleman, 2006; Brophy, 2006).
We are now witnessing an ever-developing trend of research and workspace that
underscore the need for synergetic collaboration, which abandons professional
isolation and fortification within spheres of interest solely on vertical axes. This is
a horizontal perception that advocates spheres of knowledge relevant to
improved results, mainly in subjects that pertain to human life, such as medicine,
psychology, law, education, and teaching. Facing this contemporary global age
demands more brainstorming processes which include high numbers of
participants in the vein of the whole being greater than its parts (Plucker, Kennedy
& Dilley, 2019). The variety of processes and technical and scientific possibilities
creates opportunities for collaboration with people in faraway places, in
tangential spheres, most notably in the academic and educational fields.
The central discourse in this article examines different and contradictory aspects
of the process of assimilation of generic and synergetic methods in the educational
systems and the process of training teachers for the 21st century (Griffin & Care,
2014). The generic ecosystem demands the development of social and personality
skills, such as advanced skills in digital technology, language command, and
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©2020 The author and IJLTER.ORG. All rights reserved.
interaction with people who come from different cultures and fields. This also
mandates relinquishment of ego struggles, power positions, exclusivity, and the
control over copyrights in favor of a multiplicity of intelligence and partnership
in implementation and success (Plucker et al., 2019; Gamoran & An, 2016). It is
reasonable to assume that a reality that fosters teaching through generic training,
learning from afar, a decrease in the number of subjects and examinations, and a
shift toward thematic “tasting” in the school space, is and will be rapid. The
question is, will the result justify itself.
2. Personal success vs. group achievement: fostering generic learning
The synergetic concept has been taken from the language of organizational
management in diverse cycles: macro-level–global governmental forums, public
organizations, and academic institutions, and micro-level–municipal councils,
political movements, community centers, and schools. It is essential to understand
the uniqueness of the engendered perceptual change by incorporating the fields
of knowledge, and entrepreneurship skills, and their execution. Knowing that, we
can grasp the difference between the idea of one entrepreneur being innovative
and groundbreaking as he or she may be, and the entrepreneurship process is
undertaken by a team of several copywriters, each in his or her field. Recognize
the contribution of a successful plan, both, by empowering partners and
maximizing their skills is important in building mechanisms that guarantee the
best kind of assimilation. At the same time there may be risks involved in the
encounter of ideas and personal styles in every project, and doubtlessly in
education and learning. Before examining the new teaching methods, it is
necessary to clarify the foundations of the synergetic perception and what should,
or should not, be adopted to empower teachers and learning processes in schools
of the future generations.
Synergy is a joint activity or study that involves two or more participants who
come from different disciplines or professions. By collaborative work, they seek
to increase the value of their mission and enrich one another with ideas and
personal or guided knowledge. This process makes ‘the whole greater than the
sum of its parts (1+1=3) and it creates many thoughts and encourages diverse
discourse (Hattie, 2016). Moreover, it is a humanistic mechanism that explains
how team participation reinforces the ability to identify, understand, and solve
complex issues in almost every subject. Such sharing enables mediation and the
completion of each one’s lacunas separately, overcoming the weak points of each.
It is essential to underscore that the benefits of synergetic and generic
collaborative activity depend on the need, the ecosystems culture, the
participants’ abilities, and the risks facing those about to join. The importance of
sharing methods has also been expressed in encouraging continuous learning
from one another, seeing how others behave, think and operate, and viewing
things from a new perspective (Fullan, 2016). How does this affect the education
system and teacher training?
The generic and synergetic approach became an essential part of many
educational systems and teachers' training programs (Goleman, 2006; Rosiek &
Kinslow, 2016). It seems that the study content and choice of specialization and
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professionalization streams have not been pursued obtaining a diploma, status,
or a threshold for promotion. Teaching has become a changing interactive space,
dependent on social, political, cultural, occupational, and interest-driven context.
Everything that takes place inside and between classrooms is a microcosm of what
goes on outside, with the relevant, pragmatic direction which has practical
implications on the community of learners (Carlson, 2017). The diversity of
intelligence, thinking teams, and synergetic work, leading multidisciplinary
initiatives and projects, has permeated the education system and teachers’
training. However, it is important to conduct an in-depth observation of the
dynamics of these frameworks, and the place of the individual within them. In the
final analysis, we are speaking of the life, coping, and success of each student
individually (Rothstein, 2017).
The ultimate methods for qualitative learning, which will preserve a high
standard of intellectual and professional curiosity, and address the needs of an
ever-advancing reality, shifts like a pendulum between the axis of time and
findings that change from time to time. Until twenty years ago, the results of direct
instruction, characterized by clear-cut definitions of the lesson objective, the
development of an individual relationship with learners, and skills for examining
the level of their theoretical and practical understanding, were lauded. Findings
show that personal and direct contact had the most significant effect on the level
of achievement and the student’s success in later stages of life (Hattie, 2015).
According to Hattie, a review of every learner, mainly those who were average or
below average, made the management of expectations and examination of the
complexity of the student’s character and abilities, imperative. He claimed that
explicit teaching transformed teachers into role models, rendering them self-
critical, and self-reflective vis-à-vis each student anew. In this way, in which
teachers could become “a teacher of him, or herself” mentors, they examine the
world through the eyes of their students, and sufficiently skilled to instill in them
these abilities (Nir, Ben David, Bogler, Dan & Zohar,2016; Schofer, 2019).
With the overusing of the traditional models of teaching means, lesson structure,
performance, and division into activity teams, the term “pedagogical innovation”
became frequently required. The idea of making more sources accessible does not
depend only on attractive digital and “less tiresome” appearances in contrast to
“old methods.” The beginning of the changing process of the academic
community considering the use of digital innovation was based mainly on an
empirical pilot study performed in the alternative, democratic, or “natural”
schools (Alammary, Sheard & Carbone 2014; Plucker, et al., 2019). At the same
time, social movements emerged, calling to bring education back to “human
nature,” eradicate the competition for grades and adjust achievement measures to
the individual pace of each learner (Goodman, Joshi, Nasim & Tyler, 2015). In
other words, assimilation of the technological means in the pedagogical and
academic systems was carried out slowly, coupled with professional and research
distrust. This was true despite the OECD findings of Paniagua & Istance (2018)
that showed how approaches that combine generic knowledge clusters with
digital innovation not only boost achievement but also help in cultivating values
of collaboration, mutual responsibility, social and emotional empathy, and
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readiness for the 21st century. Alex Paniagua and David Istance, OECD
researchers, believe that this is closely linked to the degree of technological and
communicational exposure. Their findings show that all these changes
encouraged learning based on inquisitiveness, an in-depth study based on
experiential partnership, demonstrating an improvement in the level of
achievement (Paniagua & Istance, 2018: 77-84).
In this context, education researchers Calarco (2019) and Schofer (2019), who deal
with the development of schools affected by change over time, claim that thought
should be devoted to the tension created between what is desirable and real. On
the one hand, boundless openness concerning instilling skills for knowledge
management is encouraged, still, on the other hand, the school is turning into a
functional organization recruited to provide a precise response to a vital policy in
its existential environment. The neo-institutional theory that they explored tested
the innovative approaches on a dual reality test of the achievements of the
individual within the ordinary achievements of the team or group. The innovative
pedagogical approaches offer differential teaching and enhancement of the
motivation of students according to their abilities, together with online teaching
from afar outside the classroom framework. In this way, learners’ achievements
depend on them only, on their knowledge, literate and analytical skills, and ability
to concentrate. At the same time, circles of learning companions are encouraged,
corresponding to the group project method that demands shared and synergetic
responsibility for each study and research assignment. According to these
methods, the greater the number of knowledge spheres and research sources and
creativity, the greater the high-level and trailblazing achievements (Sahlberg,
2015, 2018). In such instances, commendation is accorded to all group members,
or the project, with no specific and special attention to one of them, only. The
objective of changes to the perception of education management systems and its
practical assimilation is to train students to become citizens and human beings.
They will be attuned to a future reality, not only on the product level. All forms
of thinking may change, as well as the value hierarchy and measures of evaluation
of success, decision-making, and the choice of career and specialization (Fullan,
2016; Calarco, 2019; Schofer, 2019).
Remaining for a lengthy period in a specific place to secure a higher position is no
longer relevant in a dynamic reality that shifts people from one place to another
in a short timeframe to meet the rapid pace of innovation. To this end, it is
imperative to invest in a different language of thinking and implementation skills,
such as creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving strategies, partnership
management, and practical synergy. Exploring innovative teaching methods
shows that generic skills are used and needed in progressive schools and are
necessary for free lessons and synergetic projects. This also relates to the PBL
(Project Based Learning) method that reasonably represents the perceptual
change in managing and instilling knowledge acquisition. Since coping with
content and the completion of assignments is usually carried out in teams, it is
essential to train moderators and teachers who will preside over learning and the
implementation of this collective work, people who will be able to orchestrate a
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philharmonic work to guarantee the best well-suited product (Brophy, 2006;
Doolittle, 2015).
However, in a combined project, be it learning, research, or practical, it is
imperative to be attentive to the inner and interpersonal dynamics within each
team and group. This mandates an agreed-upon contract with well-defined
definitions and clear-cut conditions that relate to the strength of each participant,
the scope of his or her contribution, and ability to meet schedules despite the
individual pace, which is never identical. Also, it is crucial to relate to the capacity
to accept criticism and feedback in a democratic and empathic way at every stage,
mainly when it is mandatory to favor the success of the group or the assignment
over individual promotion. It is important to remember that not everyone is fit to
work in a team or a group (Goodman et al., 2015). This characteristic and the
willingness to relinquish ego and special status is not entirely natural or self-
evident. It is often essential to assess the nature of the assignment, and see whether
it promotes synergetic and energetic group work. Still, it obstructs a leap forward
by one of the team members who possesses a unique trait (Rosiek & Kinslow,
2016).
In such an event, they need distant space for action and a route of activity that is
separate from other group members so that they will not “interfere” their
performances and revelations in specific fields. This is true of teams of teachers,
members of the academic staff, or any other organization. We are witness to the
natural behavioral components of jealousy, competitiveness, the ability to take
genuine pride in the success of the other, and the ability to cope with human
differences. Learning methods and research, brainstorming, and generic and
synergetic endeavor may expose such human weaknesses and the gaps that may
arise may, even on the covert level, obscure the final results and the profit of the
collaborative process (Gamoran and An, 2016; Bergman, 2018; Virtanen & Tynjälä,
2019).
In the collective circles of the 21st century, students are the ones who play a central
role and not teachers, moderators, or principals. In these spaces, they are more the
facilitators of studying and research mentors who encourage critical thinking and
discover new concepts of creativity (Bauder & Rod, 2016), trying not to remove
the needs of students and team members, abilities, or personal style. Accepting
that this term is essential for any synergized process - is it possible not to demand
it, sometimes, in favor of the group’s interests and success? This issue boosted
renewed deliberation on thinking strategies and the implementation of training
professional teachers, particularly in middle schools and high schools. Through
several case studies that were examined in the Humanities Department at a Tel
Aviv Teacher Training College, several unexpected findings concerning the idea
of synergy in teaching and generic learning will be presented. It will be compared
with disciplinary training in separate streams according to “old” methods.
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3. Going back to disciplinary learning: Methodology and study
characteristics
In research, it is customary to speak of three different models of teacher training.
The first is behavioristic and attributes importance to the “teacher’s technical
toolbox.” Regarding this approach, teaching is a profession measured by its
qualities and achievements, and it examines how a teacher meets the demands of
the subject and acts according to policy (Ashton, 1996; Ainscow, 2005). Here the
thematic and pedagogical content precedes any practical activity and therefore
comes before all experiential work. Training for the enrichment and the
development of creativity will be carried out only after proving theoretical
conversancy (Christianakis, 2010; Griffin & Care, 2014). The second model is
rationalistic, which relates to teachers not only as of the “executors” of policy and
an instrumental tool of the government, but as thinking, deliberating, and
autonomous human beings. This is despite the fact that although the spheres of
knowledge in which they are involved are defined by academic discipline and
prescribed didactic methods.
Nonetheless, a rational teacher is an intellectual who deals with the continuous
transformation of the pedagogical experience in a humanistic-liberal spirit,
according to valuable cultural assets. The intention is to sharpen the thinking of
teachers, and turn them into reflective and constructive human beings so that they
can translate theoretical courses into the practice of the cultural ecology in which
they live. The third model represents the teacher’s critical and reflective skills,
which place the learner on center stage. The idea is that the responsibility of
learning is passed on to the students, and knowledge acquisition, practice, and
meeting evaluation examinations. It thus cultivates the independence to reach
goals in ways that are suitable to their wishes. The core of this method is the
nurturing of dialogic pedagogy and emotional involvement with the student
during the learning process (Alammary, et al, 2014; Carlson, 2017).
Compared to previous methods, this method comes closer to liberal perceptions
and open, democratic, and enabling education. The approach creates an equal
process shared by teachers and students in the spirit of Freire (1997), according to
which teachers do not oblige students to accept their standpoints, nor do they use
their authority to impart their worldview. This type of teaching model envelops
the personality and characteristics of students which are honesty and authenticity,
motivation and responsibility, and the development of both introspective and
reflective awareness (Freire, 1997; Grollios, 2016). As mentioned earlier, these are
the three traditional models that serve as the foundation for developing learning
methods that fall in line with the changes in human ecology in the Western world.
Given the accelerated changes in the “real” world outside school, there was a need
to tighten and make more precise the rational, pragmatic, and practical connection
between content, values, and the shaping of the character of both students and
teachers, between their role as citizens, each in his or her area. The aim was to
leave the comfort zones of conceptual and ideological fixedness and cultivate
inquisitiveness toward learning and innovation, and digital skills instead of
rigidly preserving antiquated habits (Tamir, 2015; Doolittle, 2015; Ravitch, 2016).
Thus, while breaking down the barriers in the workplace which were between
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classrooms, activity areas, and offices, concepts such as dialogue, openness,
collaboration, transparency, genericism, empathy, and interdisciplinary synergy,
began permeating pedagogical language. There was no doubt that the revolution
in the education system was apparent in the entire learning process (Carlson,
2017; Hannon & Peterson, 2017).
This research is based on a primarily qualitative study, and on a constructive
paradigm that makes it possible to examine different aspects in the Humanities
teachers' training department. Being the head of a department, eased to gather
data and follow a group of selected students following with the “field-based
theory,” a method that made it possible to gather information from individual
interviews of students during the process of their admission, training, and school
experience in both forms. Generic lessons on one hand and disciplinary lessons,
on the other. Let us consider a test case carried out at the Kibbutzim College of
Education, the largest academic institution for teacher training in Israel. The
dilemma concerns the lecturers and pedagogical counselors because of all that has
been stated so far, about the graduate interns. Firstly, there is a desire to preserve
a level of knowledge in the subject of specialization from all possible angles. Still,
then, there is a commitment to provide training that is suitable to the 21st century:
combined and online teaching, PBL skills, digital skills and “learning
experiences,” and Internet and cellular capabilities that replace conservative
frontal teaching. To investigate this conflict, individual interviews were
conducted in a chosen group of 48 first-year students.
4. Methods and results
As part of their studies, they had five practical hours a week in one of the high
schools in one of their subjects of specialization. They were supposed to study for
four years, and in their fourth year, begin a year of internship as specialized
teachers in high schools in two selected subjects in the humanities. It merits note
that this year students were trained according to the combined generic method,
i.e., one lecturer, an expert in one of the humanities. It was taught in pedagogical
seminars, with no specialized subject differentiation, with no differentiation
between the language of writers or men and women of religion, and that of the
historians. They expected to build the disciplinary lesson plans in history,
literature, or the Bible studies, under the curricula and demands of the schools in
which they worked. This approach stemmed from an interdisciplinary worldview
according to which it is essential that all students in teacher training experience
independent professional development and undertake responsibility for the
degree of success or failure of the class. They have to encourage individual
reflective skills to create “their own character” as teachers. This method makes it
imperative for future teachers to find supportive theoretical bodies of knowledge
on their own before they teach each chapter or topic in the classroom. It is crucial
when they unrelated the didactic and technological skills which they amassed in
generic training such as verbal analysis, content understanding, the
encouragement of dialogue and discussion, and discussion of test cases and their
relevance to reality.
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At the end of their first year of practical work, arguments were raised about the
scope of professional readiness and their sense of security as teachers who will, in
the future, prepare students for the matriculation exams, or final papers in their
field of specialization. The main argument raised in numerous variations was
about their lack of scientific and disciplinary maturity beyond that which was
required according to the curriculum. For example, anyone planning to teach
literature in high school had to acquire broad intellectual, cultural, and artistic
education. They had to be conversant in numerous styles of writing, be exposed
to an enormous variety of writers, poets, and playwrights from different cultures
and periods, and receive pedagogical and scientific guidance in inter-textual and
provocative reading. The majority felt that their teaching was detached from an
in-depth foundation of knowledge, and this could not be achieved independently
in a way that would do justice to the profession.
Their answers show that most of them proved conversance in teaching and the
structural and digital changes in schools, in the PBL method, and in learning
outside the classroom. Also, it was clear to them that the skills of teaching and
learning had to fall in line with the synergetic and dynamic reality in which we
live, and therefore the role of the school in the life of the children was critical. This
state of affairs was manifested in the findings shown in Table 1: out of 48 subjects,
38 (approximately 80%) believe that generic learning diminishes comprehensive
theoretical and research expertise. Out of these 48 students, 43 (90%) believe that
combined generic training impairs the field of knowledge which they chose to
professionalize as specialized teachers. The majority argues that a significant
difference exists between training a specialized teacher and training a general
(homeroom) teacher. Teachers of the humanities, who are more ‘verbal,’ should
be given separate pedagogical guidance for each subject of their specialization.
Table 1: Students’ attitudes to generic training in the humanities, 2017
The
humanities
demand
separate
teaching due
to multi-
verbal
contents
Sciences and
technology fit
generic
learning
because they
are less verbal
Generic
learning
reduces
profound
knowledge
and research
Generic
training
impairs the
specialized
teacher
Specialized
teachers are
different from
generic tutors
of teams'
projects
42
31
38
43
44
Yes
6
17
10
5
4
No
10
©2020 The author and IJLTER.ORG. All rights reserved.
Figure 1: Students’ attitudes to generic training in the humanities, 2017
Given the findings as mentioned above, a decision was taken to change the
process of the combined specialized pedagogical training of that group of
students. To this end, the generic method was eliminated in the department for
teaching the humanities in high schools. The academic staff undertook the task of
building separate didactic seminars for each subject of specialization, based on a
disciplinary division. For the three subjects, literature, history, and Bible studies,
six professional-pedagogical instructors were chosen for second and third-year
students; throughout the year they trained students in one field only. In this
framework, students were provided with theoretical and scientific bodies of
knowledge. They were exposed to research in their specific area and diverse
methods of teaching. The objective was to turn them into expert specialized
teachers who chose to specialize in this subject.
Over the two years of their training, the students continued to acquire experience
in different high schools, according to their academic planning and the demands
of their degree. When this period was concluded, the same 48 students were
interviewed again to discover the extent that this change contributed to their
success in the classrooms in comparison with the way, they felt in the generic
training framework. Findings left no room for doubt as shown in Table 2: over
90% reported a strong sense of security in teaching their specialized subject, and
their success in creating curiosity among their students. Over 80% claimed that
disciplinary guidance helped them decide which specialization they wanted to
choose in the future, and perhaps even continue toward attaining a master’s
degree. A similar percentage was found among those who claimed that the
generic system was professionally detrimental to their training, and to the subject
itself as a field of knowledge.
42
31
38
43
44
6
17
10
5
4
The humanities
demand separate
teaching due to
multi-verbal
contents
Sciences and
technology fit
generic learning
because they are
less verbal
Generic learning
reduces
profound
knowledge and
research
Generic training
impairs the
specialized
teacher
Specialized
teaches are
different from
generic tutors of
teams' projects
Yes
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©2020 The author and IJLTER.ORG. All rights reserved.
Table 2: Students’ attitudes to generic training in the humanities, 2020
Separate
professional
training
improves
the quality
of teaching
Separate
professional
training
improves
managerial
skills
Disciplinary
training in
teaching
improves the
students’
achievements
There is an
advantage in
generic
learning as a
basis for
disciplinary
learning
There is a
disadvantage
in generic
learning as a
basis for
disciplinary
learning
44
39
37
10
38
Yes
3
2
2
38
10
No
1
7
9
0
0
Not
sure
Figure 2: Students’ attitudes to generic training in the humanities, 2020
These discoveries necessitate new thinking about pedagogical methods that train
teachers for future schools in the next generation. They also have implications on
preparing students to become citizens in the 21st century, with cognitive, mental,
and physical readiness to realize themselves and succeed in everything that life
has in store for them. Realizing this, it appears that it is essential to equip teachers
and students with as many methods and learning challenges as possible, without
discrediting one way in favor of another. The most obvious conclusion, voiced by
the majority of participants, relates to the importance of in-depth theoretical and
practical bodies of knowledge in their training as teachers who specialize in the
humanities. Reflective descriptions of what went on in their classrooms reveal that
students as well require more profound theoretical studies. This is counter to what
is usually believed concerning this generation - its lack of patience for in-depth
learning, reading, and writing.
The conclusions mentioned above, do not underestimate the value of generic,
synergetic learning and activity through projects and group assignments together
with means that are not solely theoretical. It is reasonable to assume that this is
44
39
37
10
38
3
2
2
38
10
1
7
9
0
0
Separate
professional
training
improves the
quality of
teaching
Separate
professional
training
improves
managerial
skills
Disciplinary
training in
teaching
improves the
students’
achievements
There is an
advantage in
generic learning
as a basis for
disciplinary
learning
There is a
disadvantage in
generic learning
as a basis for
disciplinary
learning
Yes No Not sure
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©2020 The author and IJLTER.ORG. All rights reserved.
only the beginning of a study that will expand to other areas of specialization and
other academic institutions. From all that has been stated in this article, it is crucial
to examine the balance, dosage, and assimilation of these methods in coordination
with the criteria of culture, location, social profile, time constraints, and
mandatory policies. However, the case study presented above, and the arguments
that have been raised from different and contradictory viewpoints, show that
these subjects demand caution and close professional reviewing, mainly in
teaching. It is imperative to focus on the overt and covert tension created between
the will of the individuals to promote their abilities, separate from their
commitment to invest efforts in promoting their group. Those who support PBL
and generic learning guarantee all students that they will express themselves and
contribute and will not be “devoured” by the group experience (Alammary et al.,
2014; Rosiek & Kinslow, 2016). Those who harbor doubts concerning this method
take care that the effort invested in learning means and methods, is greater than
the effort of having all students broaden and deepen their knowledge and
understanding, and encourage them to achieve self-fulfillment.
Another issue, that we should be aware of, is the collaborative and innovative
learning methods addressed to those who tend to be less prominent due to
personal and social inhibitions, or difficulties in expression. At the same time, one
should not ignore the fact that risk always exists that exceptional and gifted
students, who possess natural leadership skills, will do everything in their power
to curtail their natural characteristics. In their wisdom, they realize that this type
of learning and research method sanctifies partnership and the mutual
contribution of each one equally, and this, in turn, forces them to lower their
profile. From this derives the supreme importance of training future teachers and
enhancing their professional skills, so that they will possess the sensitivity and
education needed to detect these difficulties and know how to resolve them vis-
à-vis every student, both separately and as part of the group. These are the future
teachers who are supposed to become specialists through innovative approaches,
intending to be able to implement them in the schools where they will conduct
their practical work and later permanent work. Alongside the understanding that
to be a specialized teacher it is imperative to deeply study the area of
specialization, and continue to do so in the years to come, these teachers are aware
of the fact, that in the schools in which they will work – the staff thinks differently.
The study set-ups include more multidisciplinary projects, learning ‘outside the
classroom’ and online learning, and a free choice of classes and evaluation
methods.
It is obvious that the required hours for a degree in education diploma should
contain more practical work in digital pedagogy, with all the media means and
their incorporation into generic learning. However, this type of teaching
eliminates the uniqueness of the discipline and directs them to become “service
providers” and project managers in the classroom. It is reasonable to assume that
a student who wishes to specialize only in history and becomes a history teacher,
will find it harder to survive in his/her work at a school that changes its physical
and systemic structure (Gamoran & An, 2016). On the other hand, a teacher who
was granted accreditation to teach two or three subjects such as history and
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literature through generic training will find it easier to adjust in this type of
innovative school. The interviews' answers over three years of training and
practical work, exposed more and more interesting facts regarding professional
and mental difficulties. Their training process included all the advanced
educational models, to introduce them to practical perception and reinforce their
steps along an axis built between the academic world and its demands for a
degree, and the school that adheres to the constraints of a policy determined each
time anew. Thus, the question arises again: why should they engage in
overqualified studies of their subject of specialization, as if they were medical
students? Why do they need academic degrees, cultivation of research skills, and
writing articles about professional and practical training, when in fact their status,
and presence as “specialized teachers” is diminishing in the classroom and
public? (Nir et al., 2016; Hannon & Peterson, 2017).
5. Conclusions
In modern classrooms, students participate in more active learning and are highly
motivated by working in project-teams and subject-groups. By developing
partnerships in understanding and analyzing failure, they are more likely to
retain knowledge. This pedagogical approach accords them the freedom to learn
in their way, and to solve common problems by carrying on open-minded debates
and brainstorming. Another important outcome of this article is that collaborative
learning redefines traditional student-teacher relationships, in and outside the
classroom (Paniagua & Istance, 2018; Sahlberg, 2018). It is imperative to examine
how demanding disciplinary learning (like in the past), more hours of reading
and practicing and fewer hours of recreation and screen games, devoid of group
background noise, and enhance the drive to explore and excel. This is essential to
enable maximal concentration in reviewing and enriching memory reservoirs and
the ability for greater and more complex analytical, cognitive, and mental
understanding.
The findings which are presented here, prove that the gap between theory and
practice, which derives from the complexity created by generic perceptions,
increases. These issues became critical for all graduators at the Israeli Colleges of
Education and are been discussed in teams of experts in the educational systems.
Although it is still early to arrive at a definite conclusion about the data of
continuous change in generic teaching, it performs in any pedagogical discourse
with more extensively in recent years. This is mainly due to the socio-cultural state
of affairs and because of geopolitical events that define the reality of the
background of all educational and disciplinary processes, and mostly, the face of
the next generation. The discussion around these issues needs more researches for
accomplishment to make better decisions in teachers' training, especially in the
Humanities studies.
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International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research
Vol. 19, No. 8, pp. 16-39, August 2020
https://doi.org/10.26803/ijlter.19.8.2
The Effects of Mobile Learning on Listening
Comprehension Skills and Attitudes of Omani
EFL Adult Learners
Abdullah Al-Shamsi, Abdo Mohamed Al-Mekhlafi*,
Saleh Al Busaidi and Maher Mohammad Hilal
Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5627-2609
https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2821-6199
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9649-429X
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7026-498X
Abstract. This study aimed to explore the effect of using mobile learning
on improving adult learners’ listening skills in Oman, to investigate their
attitudes, and to explore the factors that stand as barriers to its
implementation. The study is quasi-experimental consisted of two
groups, an experimental group (n=15) and a control group (n=16) from a
foundation program at a military educational institute. The research data
included the results of two sets of listening tests and learners’ responses
on an attitude questionnaire. The students in the experimental group
outperformed their counterparts in the control group as a result of the
mobile learning strategy. There was a statically significant improvement
in the experimental group students’ listening ability. Also, the
participants had positive attitudes towards using mobile learning in
improving their listening comprehension skills. The participants found
that mobile learning enhanced their motivation, increased their exposure,
expanded their vocabulary repertoire, and provided easy access to
“anytime” and “everywhere” learning. However, they emphasized some
challenges that were related to mobile software design, screen sizes of
mobile phones, network connections, and the appropriateness of the
listening content. Based on the findings, the study suggested some
educational implications and recommendations.
Keywords: Mobile learning; listening comprehension skill; attitudes;
language exposure; autonomous
1. Introduction
Mobile devices are the next generation of learning as they are extending into all
areas of human life (Kim, 2013). Mobile learning is providing us with
*Corresponding author: Abdo Mohamed Al-Mekhlafi; Email: raymoh123321@gmail.com
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©2020 The authors and IJLTER.ORG. All rights reserved.
opportunities to change the existing learning methods and strategies and gives a
more flexible approach to manage learning experiences on the move (Kukulska-
Hulme & Traxler, 2005). Mobile learning technologies “help produce learning that
is personally customized, socially constructed, and which extends beyond the
classroom” (Holden & Sykes, 2011, p. 4). Several empirical studies assert that
mobile-learning is a useful and instructive tool for language learning, and it can
encourage students to be more autonomous and independent in their learning
process (Chen, 2016; Liu & He, 2015). Chen (2016) emphasized that “Mobile
learning apps provide multiple channels and modalities for adult learners to
practice language skills” (2016, p. 40).
Regarding language learning, researches in the literature have shown that
listening comprehension is crucial for second language acquisition (Feyten, 1991;
Richards, 2005). Listening ability is an essential factor that contributes
significantly to the second language learning process. Richards (2005) stated that
“The development of good listening skills is seen not only as something valuable
for its own sake but as something that supports the growth of other aspects of
language use, such as speaking and reading” (p. 85). However, many language
learners and teachers consider listening as the most difficult skill to be taught
(Aryana & Apsari, 2018).
In Oman, several studies assessed the students' listening comprehension skills.
They found out that Omani students have difficulty in listening comprehension
due to incompetent treatment of listening comprehension and insufficient
exposure to listening outside the classroom (Al-Busaidi, 1997). Also, the listening
materials and conventional teaching methods are of poor quality (Al-Belushi,
1999). Moreover, learners are unable to follow listening materials in a stressful
environment because of the cognitively demanding listening activities (Al-Issa,
2005). Likewise, Al-Handhali (2009) claimed that content issues, lack of exposure,
lack of encouragement, and teachers’ methodological decisions in classrooms all
contributed to listening comprehension difficulties. Therefore, the problem of this
current study lies in the weak performance of many Omani students’ in listening
comprehension and their insufficiency of exposure to the English language
outside classrooms.
Therefore, listening skills must be investigated further in Oman. New approaches
in teaching are needed to be adopted, and modern technologies are required to be
exploited and utilized. Al-Harrasi (2014) recommended that a less-stressful
environment is necessary for the classroom, and learners need more interactive
listening activities. Al-Belushi (1999) also recommended utilizing the latest
technologies that are made available for language learning. He urged teachers to
encourage students’ autonomy and independence in their learning process and to
give opportunities for individual students to listen to what interests them and to
listen in their own time and place. Thus, a shift towards integrating educational
technologies is required to give learners some opportunities to practise listening
comprehension skills outside the classroom independently. Therefore, to improve
the learners’ listening skills, it is recommended to increase time exposure to the
language by providing different listening materials for students to listen to in their
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©2020 The authors and IJLTER.ORG. All rights reserved.
free time outside the classroom. Also, it’s essential to utilize advanced
technologies, online listening materials and to provide less stressful learning
environments (Al-Belushi, 1999; Al-Busaidi, 1997; Al-Handhali, 2009; Al-Issa,
2005).
Concerning utilizing advanced technologies, several studies have reported the
potential use of mobile-based technology in enhancing language learning and
accordingly have required EFL teachers to use mobile learning to perform
language learning activities (Al Aamri, 2011; Al Yafei & Osman, 2016; Beatty, 2010;
Chen, 2016; Kim, 2013). Crompton and Burke (2018) urged higher education
teachers to use mobile technologies to increase learning opportunities outside
classrooms. Mobile devices can allow language learners to access different
learning materials everywhere, flexibly, and at any time (Kim, 2013; Read &
Kukulska-Hulme, 2015). Also, they help to overcome many problems such as
anxiety of language learning, inadequate language practices, and deficiency of
language exposure (Rahimi & Soleymani, 2015). Furthermore, students can
develop self-regulation and self-assessment through mobile devices
(Gangaiamaran & Pasupathi, 2017; Liu & He, 2015; Zheng & Chen, 2018). Besides,
some mobile learning applications can provide opportunities for immediate
feedback and language analysis (Chen, Hsu & Doong, 2016). Mobile learning can
establish an educational electronic learning platform that offers motivating
educational experiences for instructors and students. It can also enhance the
learners’ self-regulated learning experiences and increase language exposure
outside the classroom.
Therefore, the importance of promoting listening comprehension skills and the
great opportunities that mobile-learning can positively offer has led to the need
to investigate this issue further in Oman. The primary purpose of this study, thus,
is to explore the impact of mobile-learning on improving listening comprehension
skills and explore the pedagogical attitudes of students towards the integration of
the mobile-learning in their classroom activities. The study addresses the
following research questions:
1. Are there any statistically significant differences in listening
performance between students who learn listening skills through
mobile devices and students who conventionally learn listening skills?
2. What are the students’ attitudes towards using mobile devices in
improving their listening comprehension skills?
3. What challenges do students face in using mobile devices?
2. Literature Review
The growing popularity of the term mobile learning among language learners and
the vitality of listening skill in language acquisition bring with them a shift in
focus that may impact the teaching and learning process. This dramatic shift
towards using m-learning in teaching English language listening skills can
provide access to listening materials from everywhere and at anytime. The
literature review provides a theoretical background of English listening
comprehension skills and information background about mobile learning and its
impacts on EFL contexts.
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2.1 Listening Comprehension Skill in L2 Learning
Listening comprehension skill plays an active part in L2 learning (Brown, 2001;
Feyten, 1991; Richards, 2005; Vandergrift & Goh, 2012). Listening is an essential
skill in a way that exists in most of the activities we do throughout our lives (Al-
Belushi, 1999). A person cannot communicate or interact with others unless s/he
understands the spoken language (Rivers, 1966). Therefore, the rationale behind
teaching listening skills is to prepare English language learners for understanding
the actual speech in real-life communication contexts and for facilitating second
language acquisition. Besides, listening ability contributes significantly to the
predictability of foreign language acquisition process (Feyten, 1991) and creates a
channel by which the learner gains access to a great deal of comprehensible input
in the target language (Krashen, 2013; Rost, 2007). Furthermore, the development
of listening comprehension plays a significant role in developing other language
skills (Dunkel, 1986), expands the learners’ vocabulary repertoire and grammar
knowledge (Rost, 1994), and improves learners’ pronunciation of the target
language (Harmer, 2007). Listening plays an active part in the language learning
process, and language learners cannot maintain acquisition until a certain amount
of the listening input in the target language is intelligible.
2.1.1 Learners’ Problems in Listening Comprehension
Although listening plays a significant and constructive role in language learning,
language learners confront several difficulties and problems when practising
listening comprehension skills. Kim (2013) stressed that many English learners
find listening skill a challenging skill as it demands a complex process of
interpreting information from sound, especially when there are no visual aids.
Also, students need to comprehend and process both content knowledge (data)
and linguistic knowledge (language) simultaneously while they are doing the
listening. According to Namaziandost, Ahmadi and Keshmirshekan (2019),
limitations on learner’s listening ability are due to the listener’s limited
vocabulary, length of the discourse, inability to understand the speaker’s accent,
and the speaker’s speech rate. In his article, Goh (2000) notified that students tend
to forget what they hear quickly, are unable to recognize the meanings of words,
and tend to face difficulty to comprehend the intended purpose of the message
even though they had understood the literal meaning of the words. Thus, learners’
problems in listening comprehension are due to personal cognitive differences,
individual emotional statuses such as learners’ anxiety, and the context of the
spoken language (Vandergrift & Goh, 2012).
2.1.2 Contemporary Trends in Teaching Listening Comprehension
The difficulties that EFL learners face when listening to the target language and
the value of mastering listening skills for language acquisition emphasize the
importance of seeking new strategies and techniques to facilitate listening
comprehension skills. Teachers should help students improve their listening
comprehension proficiency by reducing students’ concern about listening and
providing a less worrying classroom environment (Al-Handhali, 2009). Also,
students should be encouraged to promote self-regulated learning to seek
listening opportunities outside the classroom (Gangaiamaran & Pasupathi, 2017;
Yabukoshi, 2018; Vandergrift & Goh, 2012). Moreover, there has been an
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©2020 The authors and IJLTER.ORG. All rights reserved.
increasing call on employing more authentic materials in the learning process
(Vandergrift, 2007), and on providing more extensive listening exposure to the
target language outside the classroom (Lee & Cha, 2017).
Based on the above discussion, integration of mobile learning can enable students
to reduce their anxiety, increase their language exposure, enhance independent
learning, and develop some learning strategies so that learners are motivated to
seek more opportunities outside the classroom (Al Aamri, 2011; Al Yafei &
Osman, 2016; Chen, 2016; Kim, 2013; Kukulska-Hulme & Traxler, 2005; Liu & He,
2015; Rahimi & Soleymani, 2015). Vandergrift (2007) emphasized that “Broader
access to these new technologies will likely shift the focus from the classroom to
independent learning” (p. 206). Mobile devices can be utilized outside the
classroom to enhance the learning process and create a more self-regulated
learning environment (Zheng & Chen, 2018). Besides, mobile-based learning can
be a convenient tool in providing immediate feedback and assessment for
students so that they track their self-improvement in the language (Chen, Hsu &
Doong, 2016). Therefore, this study intends to examine the effect of using mobile
devices in improving listening comprehension skills.
To sum up, the previous studies in the literature show that listening
comprehension is a complex process which requires much listening exposure and
extensive practice outside the classroom. Therefore, teachers need to inspire
learners to become independent, to look for listening opportunities outside the
classroom through using English language media, to establish goals and means of
self-evaluation, and to keep a record of their performance. The use of mobile
learning can facilitate a shift from teacher-led education to student-led one, so that
students can listen to the language anytime and anywhere and be more self-
independent.
2.2 Mobile Learning (M-Learning)
Many scholars and practitioners have described mobile learning in different forms
(Grant, 2019). Brown (2005) defined M-learning as being a subset of E-learning that
is explicitly a form of web-based delivery of content and learning management;
moreover, it features with mobility, flexibility, and convenience when compared
to online learning. However, Peters (2007) went further in defining m-Learning as
being a model of flexible learning that is ‘just in time, just enough and just for me’.
Other scholars described mobile learning as a sort of portable education that uses
portable devices to access learning and knowledge on the move without the time
and location constraints (Kukulska-Hulme & Pettit, 2009; Traxler, 2009). El-
Hussein and Cronje (2010) attempted to provide a comprehensive definition of
mobile learning that is “any type of learning that takes place in learning
environments and spaces that take account of the mobility of technology, mobility
of learners, and mobility of learning” (p. 20).
2.2.1 Significance of Mobile Technology in EFL Context
M-learning recognizes learners’ diversity and individual differences to determine
the way of learning (Traxler, 2009). It has the potentials to provide authentic
listening materials such as songs and news in English for language learners
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(Elfiona, Embryany & Pamela, 2019). Authentic materials can help the language
learners see how the language is related to the real word (Brown, 2001), enhances
their active involvement in the learning process (Hapsari & Ratri, 2014), and
fosters their self-confidence (Unver, 2017). Furthermore, mobile technology can
contextualize the learning activities, and it can combine between formal and
informal learning opportunities (Pulla, 2020). Thus, learning won’t only be limited
to the classroom setting but also will be extended to learning in real-life
communities.
Moreover, mobile technology gives students the flexibility and motivation to learn
at their own pace at a convenient time. It promotes autonomy and makes the
learning process more independent (Al-Hunaiyyan, Alhajri & Al-Sharhan, 2018;
Beatty, 2010; Kim, 2013; Read & Kukulska-Hulme, 2015; Traxler, 2009). It also
involves learners in determining their objectives, developing more useful learning
strategies, and determining the method and timing that they decide on (Raya &
Fernández, 2002). Besides, it can provide a variety of English expressions and
vocabulary (Kim, 2013). Hence, mobile learning can fit different learning styles,
directs learners to control their education, contextualize the learning experiences,
and frees learners from the formality of conventional education.
2.2.2 Challenges
Although mobile learning has proved to have significant merits in the learning
process, it cannot stand without some drawbacks. Rogers and Price (2009)
mentioned that overloaded information, distractions by mobile devices, and
difficulty in designing appropriate learning experiences that encourages
collaboration and interaction between learners are the three main challenges that
may occur when employing mobile technologies. Therefore, language teachers
must create mobile learning experiences which are not too bewildering or overly
complicated and make sure that learners are not working in isolation from their
counterparts. Likewise, Zhang (2019) found that a lack of internet access, a lack of
continuity of mobile data transfer, weak cellular signals in some areas can hinder
a real continuous learning experience on mobile devices. Likewise, Alrefaai (2019)
found that EFL learners face various challenges when they use mobile devices
such as technical problems, small screen sizes, distractions, the accuracy of the
information, health problems, and getting bored. In Oman, there is a shortage of
technological aids or a failure of some teachers to utilize them due to their lack of
knowledge or training on how to use educational technology (Al-Issa & Al-
Bulushi, 2012; Al-Musawi, 2007; Al-Senaidi, Lin & Poirot, 2009).
2.3 Emerging Mobile Technologies in the Omani context
Several studies in Oman examined the teachers’ and students’ attitudes towards
mobile-based learning. Al-Emran and Shaalan (2017) revealed that M-learning
could be adopted by all academics regardless of their age and qualifications.
However, instructors’ attitudes towards mobile technology are determined by
their beliefs about the effectiveness of mobile technology in education. The more
positive perception they have towards mobile technology, the more optimistic
they are towards the utilization of M-Learning. Likewise, Al Aamri (2011) found
that students like to use mobile devices while teachers do not want them to do so.
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Teachers think that mobile devices could be a big distraction for both teachers and
students. Therefore, the researcher recommended fostering the use of mobile
technology in education and emphasizing the merits of mobile phone in the
classroom. In this respect, Al Yafei and Osman (2016) noted that m-learning could
be an effective medium for self-learning as it promotes autonomy and increases
learners’ motivation which helps in solving many motivational barriers that might
occur under fixed and even monotonous educational routines. Both learners and
language educators hold positive attitudes towards integrating mobile
technologies in the Omani context. However, there should be more studies
investigating the merits of mobile devices in the classroom to gain confidence in
using it.
In summation, the existing body of research shows that the use of mobile learning
in language learning, especially in listening comprehension, is an essential
contributor to second language learning. It increases the level of self-awareness
and ability of learners and decreases the level of anxiety. Moreover, the literature
provides conclusive empirical studies supporting the idea of using mobile
learning that helps language learners undertake the listening activities in a
scaffolded way and offers possibilities for interaction and collaboration. Thus, as
the assertion that M-learning can enhance listening comprehension skills for L2
learners is assumed and demonstrated empirically, supporting the use of M-
learning as a means for increasing listening ability can encourage the appearance
of this research in the future. Their unique features like portability, individuality,
and connectivity make mobile based-instruction an integrative, an interactive,
and innovative experience. The primary of the present study, therefore, is to
investigate the effects of M-learning on the development of L2 learners’ listening
ability.
3. Methods
This section discusses the research methodology and the procedures of designing
and applying the research instruments including the statistical analysis that were
adopted in analyzing and interpreting the results of the instruments, including a
description of the participants, the research design, data collection, and data
analysis.
3.1 Participants
The participants of the study were from the foundation program at a Military
Educational Institute (MEI), Oman. They were about 48 students enrolled in level
one. Two intact classes comprised the sample of the study, one as a control group
(n =16 students) and the other one as an experimental group (n=15 students). All
participants were full-time students registered for a 14-week course. They ranged
in age from 20 to 23. All participants had a similar educational background and
the same learning environment. The comprehension listening pre-test was
administered to both groups before the intervention to determine the equivalency
of the two groups in the English listening comprehension skill. The researcher
conducted an independent-samples t-test to compare the mean scores between
the two groups. Table 1 presents the means and standard deviations of the
students' scores on the listening pre-test before receiving the intervention.
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Table 1. Independent Samples T-test Results for Pre-test before the intervention
Groups n Mean* SD df t-value p-value
Control group 16 16.19 4.215 29 -0.845 0.405
Experimental group 15 17.47 4.207
*Total score=25
The results showed that there was no significant difference in mean pre-test scores
between the control group (M = 16.19, SD = 4.215) and experimental group (M =
17.47, SD = 4.207) before the intervention, (t (29) = -0.845, p>.05). The p-value is
0.405 (p>.05), which advocates that there is no significant difference between the
two groups. These results indicate that the level of listening ability of the two
groups was equivalent at the start of the intervention.
3.2 Research Design
This study is a quasi-experimental research design in which the researcher used a
pre-test and a post-test to determine the effect of mobile learning on students’
listening comprehension skills. The research followed this sort of design as there
is no control of the random assignments of the subjects to the treatment group.
Fraenkel, Wallen and Hyun (2011) affirmed that a quasi-experimental design is an
experimental design in which the researcher cannot assign individual participants
to groups randomly. Based on this, the researcher selected the experimental group
and control group without randomization. The control group students received
the English listening materials lessons following a conventional way of teaching.
In contrast, the students in the experimental group worked with the same
listening materials through mobile devices using the mobile application (Google
Classroom). After the experiment, the researcher compared the performance of
both groups to gauge the effect of the mobile-based learning treatment on the
experimental group.
3.3 Research Instruments
To gather data, the researcher has administered a comprehension listening test
and an attitude questionnaire. A brief explanation of each comes below.
3.3.1 Listening Comprehension Test
The comprehension listening test was developed based on the objectives of the
English language program course and aims to gauge the effectiveness of using
mobile-based learning materials on the learners’ level of listening proficiency. The
test was administered twice: as a pre-test before the intervention to determine the
equivalence of the participants. Also, it was used as a post-test for both groups at
the end of the treatment to measure the effect of using mobile learning on
students’ listening ability.
A panel of the Head of English section, four EFL teachers who were teaching in
the foundation program, three evaluation experts from the Exam Cell in the
institute, and an external examiner specialist validated the content of the test.
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There was an agreement among the panel about the suitability, clarity, and
relevancy of the test scoring.
The listening test was pilot-tested by the Exam Cell on a group of 73 level-one
students to establish its reliability. According to the results, the Cronbach alpha
showed that the listening test reached the right level of internal consistency at
about 0.87. Therefore, the researcher is confident that this test was reliable for data
collection.
3.3.2 The Questionnaire
The questionnaire survey was developed to assess the learners’ attitudes towards
using mobile learning for improving their listening skills. The researcher designed
the questionnaire based on the relevant literature and previous studies (Al Aamri,
2011; Al-Hunaiyyan et al., 2018; Al Yafei & Osman, 2016; Kim, 2013). The
questionnaire consisted of two main sections. In the first section, there were 20
statements scored on a five-point Likert scale (1= strongly disagree; 2= disagree;
3= neutral; 4= agree; and 5= strongly agree). In this section, the participants
indicate the level of their agreement and disagreement with the statements
regarding their attitudes towards using mobile devices in improving their English
listening skills. There are four main dimensions in this section: perceived
usefulness, motivation, self-management of learning, and intention to use.
In section two of the questionnaire, there were open-ended questions, including
what the participants liked most about using mobile devices in learning English
listening skills, the difficulties they faced, and other suggestions to improve the
implementation of m-learning. Appendix 1 shows the sections of the
questionnaire.
The initial version of the questionnaire was reviewed and checked by twelve
experts in the ELT and instructional technology field. The jury assessed the
validity of the survey in terms of its relevance, clarity, and suitability. Based on
their recommendations, the researcher made some modifications and changes
accordingly.
The questionnaire later was pilot-tested on a sample of 30 students to check its
reliability. Reliability analysis was calculated using Cronbach reliability
coefficient; the coefficient was (α = 0.893) to the statements of the questionnaire.
Thus, an alpha of 0.893 is an appropriate reliability coefficient as the statements
of the survey reached the right level of internal consistency.
3.4 Description of the Materials
The study used the materials of the course textbook. The listening materials in the
handbook are adapted from authentic sources to stimulate the learners’ interests
and engage them in classroom discussions. A wide variety of recoding contents—
including lectures, radio interviews, news reports, and informal conversations—
are utilized to provide opportunities for extensive and intensive listening
practices. The audio files are on a CD ROM that comes with the textbook.
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Regarding the mobile-based listening materials, the researcher converted the
original content of the course textbook into an electronic version. They
emphasized the same course objectives and followed the same sequence of the
teaching lessons. The mobile-based materials were assessed and validated by the
course coordinator and the course teachers. They checked the validity of the
materials in terms of its relevancy, clarity, functionality, and presentation in the
mobile App.
3.5 Procedures and Implementation
This study aimed to investigate the students’ academic achievement in listening
skills and their attitudes towards using m-learning. Therefore, the researcher
divided participants of the research into two groups, a control group (used the
conventional method) and an experimental group (followed mobile-based
learning). The researcher firstly administered the listening pre-test for both
groups, which showed that there were no significant differences between the two
groups before the experiment.
The researcher conducted a tutorial for the experimental group to explain the plan
of the study and to practise on how to use the mobile application (Google
Classroom). Also, the researcher explained the instruments to the participants,
and consent forms were signed, too. The students in both groups were exposed to
the same listening materials, exercises and assignments for eight weeks. The
control group followed the usual teaching method of a paper and pencil, while
the experimental groups used the Google Classroom App.
In the last phase of the study, the post-test was administered to both groups to
determine the impact of the listening-oriented mobile learning materials on
students’ listening comprehension ability. Then, the students in the experimental
group completed the attitude questionnaire and reflected on the use of mobile
learning strategy.
3.6 Data Analysis
The researcher used the SPSS program (version 25) to analyze the listening
comprehension test scores and questionnaire data. Descriptive statistics,
including means and standard deviations, were computed for both instruments.
An independent sample t-test was conducted before and after the intervention to
compare the scores of both groups. The researcher also carried out a paired
sample t-test to see if the students in the experimental group made significant
improvements in listening proficiency after using the mobile App. Finally, to
investigate the students’ attitudes towards the mobile learning strategy in
learning English listening and the difficulties that they encountered, the
participants’ responses to the questionnaire were tabulated and interpreted.
4. Results
The study was based on a quasi-experimental design in which two groups are
involved with one group receiving the treatment. The results obtained from the
research instruments were analyzed and presented. Tables were used to present
and describe the data, and analysis and interpretations were followed.
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4.1 The Effect of M-learning on Listening Comprehension Skill
To answer the first research question, the researcher administered a post-listening
test to both groups and used an independent sample t-test to compare the scores
of both groups. Table 2 presents the results of independent samples t-test of the
post-test after the intervention by groups.
Table 2. Results of Independent Samples T-test for Post-test after the intervention
Groups n Mean* SD t-value df p-value
Control group 16 17.13 3.74 -2.57 29 0.016
Experimental group 15 20.20 2.83
*Total score= 25
The results show a clear significant difference between the mean score of the
experimental group (M=20.20) and the control group (M=17.13). It resulted in a
statistically significant difference between the groups (t= -2.093, p<0.05) and in
favour of the experimental group. Thus, using m-learning was more effective than
the conventional method in improving the learners’ comprehension listening skill.
The eta squared (2 = 0.19) indicated a large effect size according to the guidelines
proposed by Cohen (1988) for interpreting this value: 0.01=small effect,
0.06=moderate effect, and 0.14=large effect. In other words, 19% of the variations
in the post-test scores were explained by mobile-based learning practices, which
means that mobile learning treatment was effective.
To further investigate the impact of m-learning on the experimental group, the
researcher also used a paired sample t-test. Table 3 summarizes the results of the
paired samples t-test in both tests for the experimental group.
Table 3. Results of paired Samples T-test
Groups n Test Mean* SD t-value Df p-value
Experimental group 15 Pre- 17.47 4.21 -3.54 14 0.003
15 Post- 20.20 2.83
*Total score=25
As shown in Table 3, the test results of the experimental group revealed a
significant improvement in the post-test (M=20.20, SD=2.83) over the pre-test
(M=17.47, SD=4.21). The results demonstrated that the mean scores were higher
for post-test after the intervention at a significant level (t(14)=- 3.54, p <0.05). The
results of the eta squared (2 = 0.47) also indicated a large effect size, according to
Cohen’s (1988) three levels for interpreting this value. In other words, 47% of the
variations in the post-test scores were explained by mobile-based learning
practices, which also means that mobile learning treatment positively affected the
learners’ listening ability.
4.2. The Attitude of the Participants
The data of the questionnaire were analyzed and addressed in four dimensions to
answer the second research question. The dimensions are as follows: perceived
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usefulness, motivation, self-management of learning, and intention to use. The
respondents have shown different estimates of the statements of the
questionnaire. Table 4 presents the overall mean of the survey.
Table 4. The Dimensions of the Questionnaire
Dimension Mean SD
1. Dimension of Perceived Usefulness 4.32 0.42
2. Dimension of Motivation 4.15 0.37
3. Dimension of Self-Management of Learning 4.05 0.42
4. Dimension of Intention to Use 4.15 0.35
Overall Mean / Std. Deviation 4.17 0.39
As shown in Table 4, the participants generally tended to have a positive attitude
towards using mobile learning for teaching English listening skills (M = 4.17, SD
= 0.39). Thus, the results showed that the majority of participants had positive
attitudes towards emerging mobile learning in the learning process as a useful
tool for improving listening comprehension skills.
Each dimension of the questionnaire is further analyzed. Table 5 shows the
students perceptions of the usefulness of mobile learning.
Table 5. The dimension of Perceived Usefulness
Statement Mean SD
1. Mobile learning provided more extensive listening practice. 4.33 0.62
2. Listening practice through the mobile device improved my listening
ability.
4.47 0.52
4. I listen to audio materials using my mobile device more than once. 4.00 0.93
12. Listening practice through mobile devices helped me learn a variety
of English vocabulary.
4.47 0.74
Overall Mean / Std. Deviation 4.32 0.42
The results showed that the students generally had a positive perception of the
usefulness of using mobile learning in learning the listening skill (M=4.32). The
participants in the experimental group think that mobile learning was useful in
improving their listening ability as mobile devices have successfully increased
their exposure to the target language and have expanded their vocabulary
repertoire.
Table 6 shows the students’ responses to the statements that tackled the
motivation dimension towards mobile learning.
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Table 6. Dimension of Motivation
Statement Mean SD
5. Using mobile devices motivated me to practise the listening skill. 4.27 0.59
6. The mobile device reduced my anxiety in learning listening skill. 3.87 0.99
7. I enjoyed the exercises through my mobile device than the traditional
way.
4.20 0.78
17. I prefer mobile phone exercises to paper-based listening exercises. 4.13 0.74
18. I am satisfied with using the mobile device for practising listening
skills.
4.27 0.59
19. Mobile devices encourage self-studying outside classroom. 4.13 0.64
Overall Mean / Std. Deviation 4.15 0.37
Overall, the results indicated that the students believed that mobile devices
motivated them to practise listening exercises better than the conventional
method of paper-based tasks (M=4.15). The participants in the experimental
group think that mobile learning has the potentials to encourage them to practise
listening skills outside the classroom.
Table 7 shows the students’ attitudes on mobile learning effectiveness towards
providing a flexible delivery of learning and directing the learners towards a more
independent self-management of learning.
Table 7. The dimension of Self-Management of Learning
Statement Mean SD
3. Mobile devices helped me to practise listening anytime and anywhere. 4.47 0.92
8. Mobile devices provided immediate feedback while listening. 4.13 0.74
9. Mobile devices assisted me in selecting listening tasks outside the
classroom.
3.87 0.64
10. Mobile devices helped me manage my listening activities outside the
classroom.
3.80 0.78
11. Mobile devices helped me evaluate my listening skills outside the
classroom.
4.20 0.56
13. I believe I can improve my listening skills alone through mobile
devices without the teacher’s help.
3.80 1.01
Overall Mean / Std. Deviation 4.05 0.42
Generally, the students believed that mobile devices provide learning
dispositional characteristics like anytime and anywhere sort of learning, provision
of quick feedback and independency of teachers (M=4.05). Consequently, learners
can develop a more independent and self-directed style of learning. Therefore,
mobile learning has the predisposition to provide a self-management style of
learning.
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However, the success towards shifting to a more self-management of learning
depends on the learners’ willingness and intention to seek their self-directed style
of learning outside the classroom. Therefore, examining the fourth dimension of
the plan to continue using mobile learning is crucial. Table 8 presents the students’
intention to continue using mobile learning to practise language learning further.
Table 8: The dimension of Intention to Use
Statement Mean SD
14. I would like to practise other English skills using mobile devices. 4.20 0.78
15. I encourage others to use mobile devices for English language
learning.
4.60 0.63
16. I would like to listen to authentic materials through my mobile device. 3.87 0.74
20. I’ll continue using mobile learning for learning English after the
course.
3.93 0.96
Overall Mean / Std. Deviation 4.15 0.35
The results emphasized that the students had the willingness to engage with the
language learning process through mobile learning (M=4.15). The highest score
was on statement 15 (I encourage others to use mobile devices for English
language learning, M=4.60) followed by statement 14 (I would like to practice
other English skills using mobile devices, M= 4.20).
4.3 The Challenges of using Mobile Devices
The researcher used a thematic analysis of the open-ended questions following
coding methods to answer the third research question. There were four main
themes emerged from the analysis of the data using the coding method. These
themes are attributed to the following issues: mobile software-related issues,
mobile features-related issues, technical issues, and listening to content-related
problems.
Some students complained about some issues related to the features of mobile
software (Google Classroom). The design of mobile software did not allow the
learners to play the recordings and view the questions on the same page on their
mobile phones. Participant #3 said, “it was difficult to listen to the audio materials
and answer the questions at the same time”. Due to this issue, the participants
tend to forget what they heard quickly and faced difficulty to grasp the intended
meaning of the recordings. Participant #11 added, “When listening to the audio
materials, it was not possible to look at the question page at the same time, so we
had to close the listening page and open the questions page. For this, we often
forgot things or we were unable to answer directly”.
Other students complained about some mobile features-related issues. Most of the
complains related to the screen sizes of mobile phones. The participants said that
the screen sizes of mobile phones were small, which made it difficult for them to
read and answer the questions. Participants #6 wrote, “The words were tiny and
unclear due to the small screen of the phone”. Also, due to the small sizes, some
students faced difficulty in typing the answer on the screen. Participant #10
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added, “The screen size of the phone was small, and therefore, there was difficulty
in reading some questions and answering them; the phone does not help much in
writing”.
Students also commented on technical issues and mentioned things including a
wireless network service and lack of internet access. Some students had some
difficulties accessing the Internet using the wireless network due to the lack of
internet coverage. Participant #7 wrote, “Internet in the college was slow.
Opening the audio file took a lot of time”. Alternatively, they had sometimes to
use their internet subscriptions to download the listening materials, which was
inconvenient for them.
Some students also mentioned some listening content-related issues like the audio
files were not very clear, and the speakers were very fast, which made it difficult
to understand the audio files. Participant #9 mentioned, “Sometimes the speaker
was not clear in pronouncing some words, and some recordings were high-
speed”.
Summing up, the findings of the study showed that there was a statistically
significant difference (p < 0.05) between the post-test mean scores of the
experimental group and the control group. Moreover, mobile learning is a novel
educational strategy that can bring effectiveness, incentives, and motivation to the
learning process; however, its implementation has some limitations and
challenges on software design, screen sizes of mobile phones, and networks
connectivity.
5. Discussion
The first research question asked, “Are there any statistically significant
differences in listening performance between students who learn listening skills
through mobile devices and students who conventionally learn listening skills?”
The findings to this question revealed that mobile-learning had a statistically
significant effect on the students’ listening comprehension skills. The learners in
the experimental group significantly outperformed the learners in the control
group in the post-listening test even though the two groups were equivalent in
the pre-listening test before the experiment. The findings of the study indicate the
usefulness of using mobile devices in enhancing English language listening
learning which lends support to several previous studies (Al Yafei & Osman, 2016;
Chen, 2016; Chen, Hsu & Doong, 2016; Lie & He, 2014; Rahimi & Soleymani, 2015;
Read & Kukulska-Hulme, 2015). They all provided support to the effectiveness of
mobile devices in enhancing the language teaching and learning process.
The improvement of the experimental group students in listening comprehension
skills might have been due to the potentials that mobile learning has provided.
The researcher noticed that the students in the experimental group were highly
interested in exploring learning the target language listening skills through their
mobile devices. The students translated their high degree of motivation towards
mobile learning into a higher level of engagement, exposure, and inclination to
explore more listening materials through their mobile devices. Read and
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IJLTER.ORG Vol 19 No 8 August 2020

  • 1. International Journal of Learning, Teaching And Educational Research p-ISSN: 1694-2493 e-ISSN: 1694-2116 IJLTER.ORG Vol.19 No.8
  • 2. International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research (IJLTER) Vol. 19, No. 8 (August 2020) Print version: 1694-2493 Online version: 1694-2116 IJLTER International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research (IJLTER) Vol. 19, No. 8 This work is subject to copyright. All rights are reserved by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically those of translation, reprinting, re-use of illustrations, broadcasting, reproduction by photocopying machines or similar means, and storage in data banks. Society for Research and Knowledge Management
  • 3. International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research The International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research is a peer-reviewed open-access journal which has been established for the dissemination of state-of-the-art knowledge in the fields of learning, teaching and educational research. Aims and Objectives The main objective of this journal is to provide a platform for educators, teachers, trainers, academicians, scientists and researchers from over the world to present the results of their research activities in the following fields: innovative methodologies in learning, teaching and assessment; multimedia in digital learning; e-learning; m-learning; e-education; knowledge management; infrastructure support for online learning; virtual learning environments; open education; ICT and education; digital classrooms; blended learning; social networks and education; e- tutoring: learning management systems; educational portals, classroom management issues, educational case studies, etc. Indexing and Abstracting The International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research is indexed in Scopus since 2018. The Journal is also indexed in Google Scholar and CNKI. All articles published in IJLTER are assigned a unique DOI number.
  • 4. Foreword We are very happy to publish this issue of the International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research. The International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research is a peer-reviewed open-access journal committed to publishing high-quality articles in the field of education. Submissions may include full-length articles, case studies and innovative solutions to problems faced by students, educators and directors of educational organisations. To learn more about this journal, please visit the website http://www.ijlter.org. We are grateful to the editor-in-chief, members of the Editorial Board and the reviewers for accepting only high quality articles in this issue. We seize this opportunity to thank them for their great collaboration. The Editorial Board is composed of renowned people from across the world. Each paper is reviewed by at least two blind reviewers. We will endeavour to ensure the reputation and quality of this journal with this issue. Editors of the August 2020 Issue
  • 5. VOLUME 19 NUMBER 8 August 2020 Table of Contents Training Professional Humanities’ Teachers: A Controversial Study about Generic Methods ...................................1 Tamar Ketko The Effects of Mobile Learning on Listening Comprehension Skills and Attitudes of Omani EFL Adult Learners ... .................................................................................................................................................................................................16 Abdullah Al-Shamsi, Abdo Mohamed Al-Mekhlafi, Saleh Al Busaidi and Maher Mohammad Hilal What about Study Motivation? Students´ and Teachers’ Perspectives on What Affects Study Motivation ............ 40 Lena Boström and Göran Bostedt The Dragon, the Knight and the Princess: Folklore in Early Childhood Disaster Education .....................................60 Maila D.H. Rahiem and Husni Rahim Lecture-simulation-combined Education Improve Nursing Undergraduates' Knowledge and Attitude for Palliative Care .......................................................................................................................................................................81 Yan Wang Contextualising Computational Thinking: A Case Study in Remote Rural Sarawak Borneo ....................................98 Nur Hasheena Anuar, Fitri Suraya Mohamad and Jacey-Lynn Minoi Can Peer to Peer Interaction (PPI) be a Global Theme to Promote Engagement in Students of Diverse Characteristics and Country Contexts?............................................................................................................................ 117 Nazlee Siddiqui, Khasro Miah, Afreen Ahmad Hasnain and David Greenfield Teacher Education Institutions in the Philippines towards Education 4.0..................................................................137 Rivika Alda, Helen Boholano and Filomena Dayagbil Influence of Demotivators on Acceptance of Technology: Challenges of Expatriate School Teachers while Imparting Online Teaching ............................................................................................................................................... 155 Gokuladas V. K. and Baby Sam S. K. Conceptual Framework of Evaluation Model on 4 C'S-Based Learning Supervision ............................................... 173 Eny Winaryati, Mardiana and Muhamad Taufik Hidayat The Effect of Classroom Climate on Academic Motivation Mediated by Academic Self-Efficacy in a Higher Education Institute in China.............................................................................................................................................. 194 Qiumei Wang, Kenny Cheah Soon Lee and Kazi Enamul Hoque Metacognitive Writing Strategies Used by Omani Grade Twelve Students............................................................... 214 Ibtisam Sultan Al Moqbali, Salma Al Humaidi, Abdo Al Mekhlafi and Maher Abu Hilal Implementation of Online Learning during the Covid-19 Pandemic on Madura Island, Indonesia....................... 233 Priyono Tri Febrianto, Siti Mas'udah and Lutfi Apreliana Megasari
  • 6. High School Students’ Difficulties in Making Mathematical Connections when Solving Problems....................... 255 Jailani ., Heri Retnawati, Ezi Apino and Agus Santoso Application of Rasch Model to Develop a Questionnaire for Evaluating the Quality of Teaching for Students’ Creativity Development..................................................................................................................................................... 278 Thi Le Thuy Bui, Vyacheslav I. Kazarenkov and Van De Tran The Challenges of South African Teachers in Teaching Euclidean Geometry............................................................ 297 Simon A. Tachie Health Professional Students’ Perceptions and Experiences of Remote Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic ............................................................................................................................................................................................... 313 Fatmah Almoayad, Afrah Almuwais, Samiah F. Alqabbani and Nada Benajiba Baseline Assessment in the Elementary Mathematics Classroom: Should it be Optional or Mandatory for Teaching and Learning?..................................................................................................................................................... 330 Mamsi Ethel Khuzwayo and Herbert Bhekumusa Khuzwayo Authentic Videos in Teaching English to Engineering Students at Universities........................................................ 350 Nataliia Saienko and Mariana Shevchenko Quality Management of Educational Activities in the Training of Specialists in the Field of Health Care: the Case of Ukrainian Medical HEIs................................................................................................................................................ 371 Svitlana V. Gordiychuk, Liudmyla M. Kalinina, Irena E. Snikhovska and Olga V. Goray Use of Augmented Reality to Improve Specific and Transversal Competencies in Students ..................................393 Esteban Vázquez-Cano, Verónica Marín-Díaz, Wellington Remigio Villota Oyarvide and Eloy López-Meneses How School Culture and Teacher’s Work Stress Impact on Teacher’s Job Satisfaction ............................................ 409 Susan Febriantina, Suparno Suparno, Marsofiyati Marsofiyati and Rusi Rusmiati Aliyyah Investigating the Quality of University Education: A Focus on Supply Chain Management..................................424 Joash Mageto, Rose Luke and Gert Heyns Exploring the Content Knowledge of Accounting Teachers in Rural Contexts: A Call for a Decoloniality Approach ............................................................................................................................................................................. 447 Habasisa Vincent Molise
  • 7. 1 ©2020 The author and IJLTER.ORG. All rights reserved. International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research Vol. 19, No. 8, pp. 1-15, August 2020 https://doi.org/10.26803/ijlter.19.8.1 Training Professional Humanities’ Teachers: Study about Generic Methods Controversial A Tamar Ketko Kibbutzim College of Education, Tel Aviv, Israel https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7552-8545 Abstract. In the 21st century, generic methods and synergetic learning have been widely embraced in the areas of pedagogical and professional studies. It is crucial, especially in school-activity environments that involve technology and digital knowledge. Those who are capable of studying in teams and who promote ‘collective intelligence’ are likely to become influential and inspiring students and teachers. By understanding aligned visions from different viewpoints, students and teachers can maximize their efforts and talents. The idea of collective teacher efficacy (CTE) positively affects student outcomes and therefore is an essential tool in teacher training and practices. We live in the ongoing dynamics of integrated diverse thoughts, methods, disciplines, and activities. To create a better ecology for qualitative existence, numerous scholars and teachers, seek to devise necessary changes in education and social initiatives. In a world split by regimes and values, dealing with conflictual dilemmas is inevitable: preserving classical methods on the one hand, and encouraging innovative attitudes on the other. These contradictory approaches raise critical didactical questions about training future teachers and educators without prejudicing their fundamental essence. This article presents a three-years research of a group of students, at the Kibbutzim College of Education, Tel Aviv, who were trained to become professional teachers in the humanities, and their pedagogical eco-systems. It discusses some dilemmas about progressive school methods and focuses on some of the advantages and disadvantages of the generical attitudes in their practical work, regarding the gap between their first year of studying and the first year of teaching. Keywords: Generic studies; Interdisciplinary; Pedagogical attitudes; Professional training 1. Introduction The differentiation, isolation, and preventing the blurring of identity, were always the focal point of competition, tensions between tribes, peoples, cultures, and governing mechanisms. This idea is also present in the theological sources and the logic underlying division into categories. It is reasonable to assume that on these foundations, seven fields of human wisdom have been consolidated, and
  • 8. 2 ©2020 The author and IJLTER.ORG. All rights reserved. separated from rituals and theology. These seven perceived components of a well- balanced education system are divided into two groups. The first comprised Latin, rhetorical language and logic, and the second, Mathematics, Geometry, Astronomy, and Music. In the 12th century, after the first universities were established in Western Europe, academic faculties also added Theology, Law, Medicine, and Philosophy as fields of study. Continuing the tradition of the guilds, which represented diverse skills in the Middle Ages, the importance of a profession grew as did the clarification of professional skills. These had to be studied in an orderly manner under the strict supervision of the “master,” to guarantee the necessary level of execution and knowledge. This led to the development of vocational schools and higher education institutions that taught building, engineering, architecture, all types of technology, and the accompanying practical fields of knowledge, which demanded accreditation and a degree following advanced international standards (Doolitlle, 2015; Bergman, 2018). Shifting chronologically to the Modern Age, it appears that the ability to manage knowledge and its fabric of combinations is manifested not only in the degree of aspiration to readjust it to present reality but also in the ability to respond to the unexpected. The idea of focusing only on what is relevant to human existence and the professional field questions the value of accumulated knowledge and the acquisition of basic concepts and introductory infrastructures. Response to a specific policy that each regime enforces, current events, and changing public trends, dictates what study content will remain, and what will be deleted. Steps of this kind necessarily demand innovative research methods and skills of follow- up and control for measuring the educational yardstick and risk evaluation. This is true because of the 21st century, which will most probably be characterized by political, social, and cultural uncertainty, the impact of the media and social networks on methods of choice, and the level of achievement and success in the field (Goleman, 2006; Brophy, 2006). We are now witnessing an ever-developing trend of research and workspace that underscore the need for synergetic collaboration, which abandons professional isolation and fortification within spheres of interest solely on vertical axes. This is a horizontal perception that advocates spheres of knowledge relevant to improved results, mainly in subjects that pertain to human life, such as medicine, psychology, law, education, and teaching. Facing this contemporary global age demands more brainstorming processes which include high numbers of participants in the vein of the whole being greater than its parts (Plucker, Kennedy & Dilley, 2019). The variety of processes and technical and scientific possibilities creates opportunities for collaboration with people in faraway places, in tangential spheres, most notably in the academic and educational fields. The central discourse in this article examines different and contradictory aspects of the process of assimilation of generic and synergetic methods in the educational systems and the process of training teachers for the 21st century (Griffin & Care, 2014). The generic ecosystem demands the development of social and personality skills, such as advanced skills in digital technology, language command, and
  • 9. 3 ©2020 The author and IJLTER.ORG. All rights reserved. interaction with people who come from different cultures and fields. This also mandates relinquishment of ego struggles, power positions, exclusivity, and the control over copyrights in favor of a multiplicity of intelligence and partnership in implementation and success (Plucker et al., 2019; Gamoran & An, 2016). It is reasonable to assume that a reality that fosters teaching through generic training, learning from afar, a decrease in the number of subjects and examinations, and a shift toward thematic “tasting” in the school space, is and will be rapid. The question is, will the result justify itself. 2. Personal success vs. group achievement: fostering generic learning The synergetic concept has been taken from the language of organizational management in diverse cycles: macro-level–global governmental forums, public organizations, and academic institutions, and micro-level–municipal councils, political movements, community centers, and schools. It is essential to understand the uniqueness of the engendered perceptual change by incorporating the fields of knowledge, and entrepreneurship skills, and their execution. Knowing that, we can grasp the difference between the idea of one entrepreneur being innovative and groundbreaking as he or she may be, and the entrepreneurship process is undertaken by a team of several copywriters, each in his or her field. Recognize the contribution of a successful plan, both, by empowering partners and maximizing their skills is important in building mechanisms that guarantee the best kind of assimilation. At the same time there may be risks involved in the encounter of ideas and personal styles in every project, and doubtlessly in education and learning. Before examining the new teaching methods, it is necessary to clarify the foundations of the synergetic perception and what should, or should not, be adopted to empower teachers and learning processes in schools of the future generations. Synergy is a joint activity or study that involves two or more participants who come from different disciplines or professions. By collaborative work, they seek to increase the value of their mission and enrich one another with ideas and personal or guided knowledge. This process makes ‘the whole greater than the sum of its parts (1+1=3) and it creates many thoughts and encourages diverse discourse (Hattie, 2016). Moreover, it is a humanistic mechanism that explains how team participation reinforces the ability to identify, understand, and solve complex issues in almost every subject. Such sharing enables mediation and the completion of each one’s lacunas separately, overcoming the weak points of each. It is essential to underscore that the benefits of synergetic and generic collaborative activity depend on the need, the ecosystems culture, the participants’ abilities, and the risks facing those about to join. The importance of sharing methods has also been expressed in encouraging continuous learning from one another, seeing how others behave, think and operate, and viewing things from a new perspective (Fullan, 2016). How does this affect the education system and teacher training? The generic and synergetic approach became an essential part of many educational systems and teachers' training programs (Goleman, 2006; Rosiek & Kinslow, 2016). It seems that the study content and choice of specialization and
  • 10. 4 ©2020 The author and IJLTER.ORG. All rights reserved. professionalization streams have not been pursued obtaining a diploma, status, or a threshold for promotion. Teaching has become a changing interactive space, dependent on social, political, cultural, occupational, and interest-driven context. Everything that takes place inside and between classrooms is a microcosm of what goes on outside, with the relevant, pragmatic direction which has practical implications on the community of learners (Carlson, 2017). The diversity of intelligence, thinking teams, and synergetic work, leading multidisciplinary initiatives and projects, has permeated the education system and teachers’ training. However, it is important to conduct an in-depth observation of the dynamics of these frameworks, and the place of the individual within them. In the final analysis, we are speaking of the life, coping, and success of each student individually (Rothstein, 2017). The ultimate methods for qualitative learning, which will preserve a high standard of intellectual and professional curiosity, and address the needs of an ever-advancing reality, shifts like a pendulum between the axis of time and findings that change from time to time. Until twenty years ago, the results of direct instruction, characterized by clear-cut definitions of the lesson objective, the development of an individual relationship with learners, and skills for examining the level of their theoretical and practical understanding, were lauded. Findings show that personal and direct contact had the most significant effect on the level of achievement and the student’s success in later stages of life (Hattie, 2015). According to Hattie, a review of every learner, mainly those who were average or below average, made the management of expectations and examination of the complexity of the student’s character and abilities, imperative. He claimed that explicit teaching transformed teachers into role models, rendering them self- critical, and self-reflective vis-à-vis each student anew. In this way, in which teachers could become “a teacher of him, or herself” mentors, they examine the world through the eyes of their students, and sufficiently skilled to instill in them these abilities (Nir, Ben David, Bogler, Dan & Zohar,2016; Schofer, 2019). With the overusing of the traditional models of teaching means, lesson structure, performance, and division into activity teams, the term “pedagogical innovation” became frequently required. The idea of making more sources accessible does not depend only on attractive digital and “less tiresome” appearances in contrast to “old methods.” The beginning of the changing process of the academic community considering the use of digital innovation was based mainly on an empirical pilot study performed in the alternative, democratic, or “natural” schools (Alammary, Sheard & Carbone 2014; Plucker, et al., 2019). At the same time, social movements emerged, calling to bring education back to “human nature,” eradicate the competition for grades and adjust achievement measures to the individual pace of each learner (Goodman, Joshi, Nasim & Tyler, 2015). In other words, assimilation of the technological means in the pedagogical and academic systems was carried out slowly, coupled with professional and research distrust. This was true despite the OECD findings of Paniagua & Istance (2018) that showed how approaches that combine generic knowledge clusters with digital innovation not only boost achievement but also help in cultivating values of collaboration, mutual responsibility, social and emotional empathy, and
  • 11. 5 ©2020 The author and IJLTER.ORG. All rights reserved. readiness for the 21st century. Alex Paniagua and David Istance, OECD researchers, believe that this is closely linked to the degree of technological and communicational exposure. Their findings show that all these changes encouraged learning based on inquisitiveness, an in-depth study based on experiential partnership, demonstrating an improvement in the level of achievement (Paniagua & Istance, 2018: 77-84). In this context, education researchers Calarco (2019) and Schofer (2019), who deal with the development of schools affected by change over time, claim that thought should be devoted to the tension created between what is desirable and real. On the one hand, boundless openness concerning instilling skills for knowledge management is encouraged, still, on the other hand, the school is turning into a functional organization recruited to provide a precise response to a vital policy in its existential environment. The neo-institutional theory that they explored tested the innovative approaches on a dual reality test of the achievements of the individual within the ordinary achievements of the team or group. The innovative pedagogical approaches offer differential teaching and enhancement of the motivation of students according to their abilities, together with online teaching from afar outside the classroom framework. In this way, learners’ achievements depend on them only, on their knowledge, literate and analytical skills, and ability to concentrate. At the same time, circles of learning companions are encouraged, corresponding to the group project method that demands shared and synergetic responsibility for each study and research assignment. According to these methods, the greater the number of knowledge spheres and research sources and creativity, the greater the high-level and trailblazing achievements (Sahlberg, 2015, 2018). In such instances, commendation is accorded to all group members, or the project, with no specific and special attention to one of them, only. The objective of changes to the perception of education management systems and its practical assimilation is to train students to become citizens and human beings. They will be attuned to a future reality, not only on the product level. All forms of thinking may change, as well as the value hierarchy and measures of evaluation of success, decision-making, and the choice of career and specialization (Fullan, 2016; Calarco, 2019; Schofer, 2019). Remaining for a lengthy period in a specific place to secure a higher position is no longer relevant in a dynamic reality that shifts people from one place to another in a short timeframe to meet the rapid pace of innovation. To this end, it is imperative to invest in a different language of thinking and implementation skills, such as creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving strategies, partnership management, and practical synergy. Exploring innovative teaching methods shows that generic skills are used and needed in progressive schools and are necessary for free lessons and synergetic projects. This also relates to the PBL (Project Based Learning) method that reasonably represents the perceptual change in managing and instilling knowledge acquisition. Since coping with content and the completion of assignments is usually carried out in teams, it is essential to train moderators and teachers who will preside over learning and the implementation of this collective work, people who will be able to orchestrate a
  • 12. 6 ©2020 The author and IJLTER.ORG. All rights reserved. philharmonic work to guarantee the best well-suited product (Brophy, 2006; Doolittle, 2015). However, in a combined project, be it learning, research, or practical, it is imperative to be attentive to the inner and interpersonal dynamics within each team and group. This mandates an agreed-upon contract with well-defined definitions and clear-cut conditions that relate to the strength of each participant, the scope of his or her contribution, and ability to meet schedules despite the individual pace, which is never identical. Also, it is crucial to relate to the capacity to accept criticism and feedback in a democratic and empathic way at every stage, mainly when it is mandatory to favor the success of the group or the assignment over individual promotion. It is important to remember that not everyone is fit to work in a team or a group (Goodman et al., 2015). This characteristic and the willingness to relinquish ego and special status is not entirely natural or self- evident. It is often essential to assess the nature of the assignment, and see whether it promotes synergetic and energetic group work. Still, it obstructs a leap forward by one of the team members who possesses a unique trait (Rosiek & Kinslow, 2016). In such an event, they need distant space for action and a route of activity that is separate from other group members so that they will not “interfere” their performances and revelations in specific fields. This is true of teams of teachers, members of the academic staff, or any other organization. We are witness to the natural behavioral components of jealousy, competitiveness, the ability to take genuine pride in the success of the other, and the ability to cope with human differences. Learning methods and research, brainstorming, and generic and synergetic endeavor may expose such human weaknesses and the gaps that may arise may, even on the covert level, obscure the final results and the profit of the collaborative process (Gamoran and An, 2016; Bergman, 2018; Virtanen & Tynjälä, 2019). In the collective circles of the 21st century, students are the ones who play a central role and not teachers, moderators, or principals. In these spaces, they are more the facilitators of studying and research mentors who encourage critical thinking and discover new concepts of creativity (Bauder & Rod, 2016), trying not to remove the needs of students and team members, abilities, or personal style. Accepting that this term is essential for any synergized process - is it possible not to demand it, sometimes, in favor of the group’s interests and success? This issue boosted renewed deliberation on thinking strategies and the implementation of training professional teachers, particularly in middle schools and high schools. Through several case studies that were examined in the Humanities Department at a Tel Aviv Teacher Training College, several unexpected findings concerning the idea of synergy in teaching and generic learning will be presented. It will be compared with disciplinary training in separate streams according to “old” methods.
  • 13. 7 ©2020 The author and IJLTER.ORG. All rights reserved. 3. Going back to disciplinary learning: Methodology and study characteristics In research, it is customary to speak of three different models of teacher training. The first is behavioristic and attributes importance to the “teacher’s technical toolbox.” Regarding this approach, teaching is a profession measured by its qualities and achievements, and it examines how a teacher meets the demands of the subject and acts according to policy (Ashton, 1996; Ainscow, 2005). Here the thematic and pedagogical content precedes any practical activity and therefore comes before all experiential work. Training for the enrichment and the development of creativity will be carried out only after proving theoretical conversancy (Christianakis, 2010; Griffin & Care, 2014). The second model is rationalistic, which relates to teachers not only as of the “executors” of policy and an instrumental tool of the government, but as thinking, deliberating, and autonomous human beings. This is despite the fact that although the spheres of knowledge in which they are involved are defined by academic discipline and prescribed didactic methods. Nonetheless, a rational teacher is an intellectual who deals with the continuous transformation of the pedagogical experience in a humanistic-liberal spirit, according to valuable cultural assets. The intention is to sharpen the thinking of teachers, and turn them into reflective and constructive human beings so that they can translate theoretical courses into the practice of the cultural ecology in which they live. The third model represents the teacher’s critical and reflective skills, which place the learner on center stage. The idea is that the responsibility of learning is passed on to the students, and knowledge acquisition, practice, and meeting evaluation examinations. It thus cultivates the independence to reach goals in ways that are suitable to their wishes. The core of this method is the nurturing of dialogic pedagogy and emotional involvement with the student during the learning process (Alammary, et al, 2014; Carlson, 2017). Compared to previous methods, this method comes closer to liberal perceptions and open, democratic, and enabling education. The approach creates an equal process shared by teachers and students in the spirit of Freire (1997), according to which teachers do not oblige students to accept their standpoints, nor do they use their authority to impart their worldview. This type of teaching model envelops the personality and characteristics of students which are honesty and authenticity, motivation and responsibility, and the development of both introspective and reflective awareness (Freire, 1997; Grollios, 2016). As mentioned earlier, these are the three traditional models that serve as the foundation for developing learning methods that fall in line with the changes in human ecology in the Western world. Given the accelerated changes in the “real” world outside school, there was a need to tighten and make more precise the rational, pragmatic, and practical connection between content, values, and the shaping of the character of both students and teachers, between their role as citizens, each in his or her area. The aim was to leave the comfort zones of conceptual and ideological fixedness and cultivate inquisitiveness toward learning and innovation, and digital skills instead of rigidly preserving antiquated habits (Tamir, 2015; Doolittle, 2015; Ravitch, 2016). Thus, while breaking down the barriers in the workplace which were between
  • 14. 8 ©2020 The author and IJLTER.ORG. All rights reserved. classrooms, activity areas, and offices, concepts such as dialogue, openness, collaboration, transparency, genericism, empathy, and interdisciplinary synergy, began permeating pedagogical language. There was no doubt that the revolution in the education system was apparent in the entire learning process (Carlson, 2017; Hannon & Peterson, 2017). This research is based on a primarily qualitative study, and on a constructive paradigm that makes it possible to examine different aspects in the Humanities teachers' training department. Being the head of a department, eased to gather data and follow a group of selected students following with the “field-based theory,” a method that made it possible to gather information from individual interviews of students during the process of their admission, training, and school experience in both forms. Generic lessons on one hand and disciplinary lessons, on the other. Let us consider a test case carried out at the Kibbutzim College of Education, the largest academic institution for teacher training in Israel. The dilemma concerns the lecturers and pedagogical counselors because of all that has been stated so far, about the graduate interns. Firstly, there is a desire to preserve a level of knowledge in the subject of specialization from all possible angles. Still, then, there is a commitment to provide training that is suitable to the 21st century: combined and online teaching, PBL skills, digital skills and “learning experiences,” and Internet and cellular capabilities that replace conservative frontal teaching. To investigate this conflict, individual interviews were conducted in a chosen group of 48 first-year students. 4. Methods and results As part of their studies, they had five practical hours a week in one of the high schools in one of their subjects of specialization. They were supposed to study for four years, and in their fourth year, begin a year of internship as specialized teachers in high schools in two selected subjects in the humanities. It merits note that this year students were trained according to the combined generic method, i.e., one lecturer, an expert in one of the humanities. It was taught in pedagogical seminars, with no specialized subject differentiation, with no differentiation between the language of writers or men and women of religion, and that of the historians. They expected to build the disciplinary lesson plans in history, literature, or the Bible studies, under the curricula and demands of the schools in which they worked. This approach stemmed from an interdisciplinary worldview according to which it is essential that all students in teacher training experience independent professional development and undertake responsibility for the degree of success or failure of the class. They have to encourage individual reflective skills to create “their own character” as teachers. This method makes it imperative for future teachers to find supportive theoretical bodies of knowledge on their own before they teach each chapter or topic in the classroom. It is crucial when they unrelated the didactic and technological skills which they amassed in generic training such as verbal analysis, content understanding, the encouragement of dialogue and discussion, and discussion of test cases and their relevance to reality.
  • 15. 9 ©2020 The author and IJLTER.ORG. All rights reserved. At the end of their first year of practical work, arguments were raised about the scope of professional readiness and their sense of security as teachers who will, in the future, prepare students for the matriculation exams, or final papers in their field of specialization. The main argument raised in numerous variations was about their lack of scientific and disciplinary maturity beyond that which was required according to the curriculum. For example, anyone planning to teach literature in high school had to acquire broad intellectual, cultural, and artistic education. They had to be conversant in numerous styles of writing, be exposed to an enormous variety of writers, poets, and playwrights from different cultures and periods, and receive pedagogical and scientific guidance in inter-textual and provocative reading. The majority felt that their teaching was detached from an in-depth foundation of knowledge, and this could not be achieved independently in a way that would do justice to the profession. Their answers show that most of them proved conversance in teaching and the structural and digital changes in schools, in the PBL method, and in learning outside the classroom. Also, it was clear to them that the skills of teaching and learning had to fall in line with the synergetic and dynamic reality in which we live, and therefore the role of the school in the life of the children was critical. This state of affairs was manifested in the findings shown in Table 1: out of 48 subjects, 38 (approximately 80%) believe that generic learning diminishes comprehensive theoretical and research expertise. Out of these 48 students, 43 (90%) believe that combined generic training impairs the field of knowledge which they chose to professionalize as specialized teachers. The majority argues that a significant difference exists between training a specialized teacher and training a general (homeroom) teacher. Teachers of the humanities, who are more ‘verbal,’ should be given separate pedagogical guidance for each subject of their specialization. Table 1: Students’ attitudes to generic training in the humanities, 2017 The humanities demand separate teaching due to multi- verbal contents Sciences and technology fit generic learning because they are less verbal Generic learning reduces profound knowledge and research Generic training impairs the specialized teacher Specialized teachers are different from generic tutors of teams' projects 42 31 38 43 44 Yes 6 17 10 5 4 No
  • 16. 10 ©2020 The author and IJLTER.ORG. All rights reserved. Figure 1: Students’ attitudes to generic training in the humanities, 2017 Given the findings as mentioned above, a decision was taken to change the process of the combined specialized pedagogical training of that group of students. To this end, the generic method was eliminated in the department for teaching the humanities in high schools. The academic staff undertook the task of building separate didactic seminars for each subject of specialization, based on a disciplinary division. For the three subjects, literature, history, and Bible studies, six professional-pedagogical instructors were chosen for second and third-year students; throughout the year they trained students in one field only. In this framework, students were provided with theoretical and scientific bodies of knowledge. They were exposed to research in their specific area and diverse methods of teaching. The objective was to turn them into expert specialized teachers who chose to specialize in this subject. Over the two years of their training, the students continued to acquire experience in different high schools, according to their academic planning and the demands of their degree. When this period was concluded, the same 48 students were interviewed again to discover the extent that this change contributed to their success in the classrooms in comparison with the way, they felt in the generic training framework. Findings left no room for doubt as shown in Table 2: over 90% reported a strong sense of security in teaching their specialized subject, and their success in creating curiosity among their students. Over 80% claimed that disciplinary guidance helped them decide which specialization they wanted to choose in the future, and perhaps even continue toward attaining a master’s degree. A similar percentage was found among those who claimed that the generic system was professionally detrimental to their training, and to the subject itself as a field of knowledge. 42 31 38 43 44 6 17 10 5 4 The humanities demand separate teaching due to multi-verbal contents Sciences and technology fit generic learning because they are less verbal Generic learning reduces profound knowledge and research Generic training impairs the specialized teacher Specialized teaches are different from generic tutors of teams' projects Yes
  • 17. 11 ©2020 The author and IJLTER.ORG. All rights reserved. Table 2: Students’ attitudes to generic training in the humanities, 2020 Separate professional training improves the quality of teaching Separate professional training improves managerial skills Disciplinary training in teaching improves the students’ achievements There is an advantage in generic learning as a basis for disciplinary learning There is a disadvantage in generic learning as a basis for disciplinary learning 44 39 37 10 38 Yes 3 2 2 38 10 No 1 7 9 0 0 Not sure Figure 2: Students’ attitudes to generic training in the humanities, 2020 These discoveries necessitate new thinking about pedagogical methods that train teachers for future schools in the next generation. They also have implications on preparing students to become citizens in the 21st century, with cognitive, mental, and physical readiness to realize themselves and succeed in everything that life has in store for them. Realizing this, it appears that it is essential to equip teachers and students with as many methods and learning challenges as possible, without discrediting one way in favor of another. The most obvious conclusion, voiced by the majority of participants, relates to the importance of in-depth theoretical and practical bodies of knowledge in their training as teachers who specialize in the humanities. Reflective descriptions of what went on in their classrooms reveal that students as well require more profound theoretical studies. This is counter to what is usually believed concerning this generation - its lack of patience for in-depth learning, reading, and writing. The conclusions mentioned above, do not underestimate the value of generic, synergetic learning and activity through projects and group assignments together with means that are not solely theoretical. It is reasonable to assume that this is 44 39 37 10 38 3 2 2 38 10 1 7 9 0 0 Separate professional training improves the quality of teaching Separate professional training improves managerial skills Disciplinary training in teaching improves the students’ achievements There is an advantage in generic learning as a basis for disciplinary learning There is a disadvantage in generic learning as a basis for disciplinary learning Yes No Not sure
  • 18. 12 ©2020 The author and IJLTER.ORG. All rights reserved. only the beginning of a study that will expand to other areas of specialization and other academic institutions. From all that has been stated in this article, it is crucial to examine the balance, dosage, and assimilation of these methods in coordination with the criteria of culture, location, social profile, time constraints, and mandatory policies. However, the case study presented above, and the arguments that have been raised from different and contradictory viewpoints, show that these subjects demand caution and close professional reviewing, mainly in teaching. It is imperative to focus on the overt and covert tension created between the will of the individuals to promote their abilities, separate from their commitment to invest efforts in promoting their group. Those who support PBL and generic learning guarantee all students that they will express themselves and contribute and will not be “devoured” by the group experience (Alammary et al., 2014; Rosiek & Kinslow, 2016). Those who harbor doubts concerning this method take care that the effort invested in learning means and methods, is greater than the effort of having all students broaden and deepen their knowledge and understanding, and encourage them to achieve self-fulfillment. Another issue, that we should be aware of, is the collaborative and innovative learning methods addressed to those who tend to be less prominent due to personal and social inhibitions, or difficulties in expression. At the same time, one should not ignore the fact that risk always exists that exceptional and gifted students, who possess natural leadership skills, will do everything in their power to curtail their natural characteristics. In their wisdom, they realize that this type of learning and research method sanctifies partnership and the mutual contribution of each one equally, and this, in turn, forces them to lower their profile. From this derives the supreme importance of training future teachers and enhancing their professional skills, so that they will possess the sensitivity and education needed to detect these difficulties and know how to resolve them vis- à-vis every student, both separately and as part of the group. These are the future teachers who are supposed to become specialists through innovative approaches, intending to be able to implement them in the schools where they will conduct their practical work and later permanent work. Alongside the understanding that to be a specialized teacher it is imperative to deeply study the area of specialization, and continue to do so in the years to come, these teachers are aware of the fact, that in the schools in which they will work – the staff thinks differently. The study set-ups include more multidisciplinary projects, learning ‘outside the classroom’ and online learning, and a free choice of classes and evaluation methods. It is obvious that the required hours for a degree in education diploma should contain more practical work in digital pedagogy, with all the media means and their incorporation into generic learning. However, this type of teaching eliminates the uniqueness of the discipline and directs them to become “service providers” and project managers in the classroom. It is reasonable to assume that a student who wishes to specialize only in history and becomes a history teacher, will find it harder to survive in his/her work at a school that changes its physical and systemic structure (Gamoran & An, 2016). On the other hand, a teacher who was granted accreditation to teach two or three subjects such as history and
  • 19. 13 ©2020 The author and IJLTER.ORG. All rights reserved. literature through generic training will find it easier to adjust in this type of innovative school. The interviews' answers over three years of training and practical work, exposed more and more interesting facts regarding professional and mental difficulties. Their training process included all the advanced educational models, to introduce them to practical perception and reinforce their steps along an axis built between the academic world and its demands for a degree, and the school that adheres to the constraints of a policy determined each time anew. Thus, the question arises again: why should they engage in overqualified studies of their subject of specialization, as if they were medical students? Why do they need academic degrees, cultivation of research skills, and writing articles about professional and practical training, when in fact their status, and presence as “specialized teachers” is diminishing in the classroom and public? (Nir et al., 2016; Hannon & Peterson, 2017). 5. Conclusions In modern classrooms, students participate in more active learning and are highly motivated by working in project-teams and subject-groups. By developing partnerships in understanding and analyzing failure, they are more likely to retain knowledge. This pedagogical approach accords them the freedom to learn in their way, and to solve common problems by carrying on open-minded debates and brainstorming. Another important outcome of this article is that collaborative learning redefines traditional student-teacher relationships, in and outside the classroom (Paniagua & Istance, 2018; Sahlberg, 2018). It is imperative to examine how demanding disciplinary learning (like in the past), more hours of reading and practicing and fewer hours of recreation and screen games, devoid of group background noise, and enhance the drive to explore and excel. This is essential to enable maximal concentration in reviewing and enriching memory reservoirs and the ability for greater and more complex analytical, cognitive, and mental understanding. The findings which are presented here, prove that the gap between theory and practice, which derives from the complexity created by generic perceptions, increases. These issues became critical for all graduators at the Israeli Colleges of Education and are been discussed in teams of experts in the educational systems. Although it is still early to arrive at a definite conclusion about the data of continuous change in generic teaching, it performs in any pedagogical discourse with more extensively in recent years. This is mainly due to the socio-cultural state of affairs and because of geopolitical events that define the reality of the background of all educational and disciplinary processes, and mostly, the face of the next generation. The discussion around these issues needs more researches for accomplishment to make better decisions in teachers' training, especially in the Humanities studies.
  • 20. 14 ©2020 The author and IJLTER.ORG. All rights reserved. 6. References Ainscow, M. (2005). Developing inclusive education systems: What are the levers for change? Journal of Educational Change, 6(2), 109–124. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10833-005-1298-4 Alammary, A., Sheard, J., & Carbone, A. (2014). Blended Learning in Higher Education: Three Different Design Approaches. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 30(4), 440 – 450 . https://doi.org/10.14742/ajet.693 Ashton, P. T. (1996). Improving the Preparation of Teachers. Educational Researcher, 25(9), 21–35. https://doi.org/10.3102/0013189X025009021 Bauder, J., & Rod, C. (2016). Crossing the thresholds: Critical information literacy pedagogy and the ACRL framework. College & Undergraduate Libraries, 23(3), 252–264. https://doi.org/10.1080/10691316.2015.1025323 Brophy, J. (2006). Observational Research on Generic Aspects of Classroom Teaching in P. A. Alexander & P. H. Winne (Eds.), Handbook of educational psychology (pp. 755–780). New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203874790.ch33 Bergman, M. (2018). A Knowledge Representation Practionary - Guidelines Based on Charles Sanders Peirce. New York: Springer International Publisher. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-98092-8 Carlson, D. (2017). Teachers in Crisis: Urban School Problem and Teachers' Work Culture. New York: Routledge. Christianakis, M. (2010). Collaborative Research and Teacher Education. Issues in Teacher Education, 19(2), 109-125. Calarco, J. (2019). Social Class and Student-Teacher Interactions in T. Domina, B. G. Gibbs, L. Nunn & A. Penner (Eds.). Education and Society – An Introduction to Key Issues in the Sociology of Education, (pp. 96 – 110). California: University of California Press. https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctvpb3wn0.11 Doolittle, A. (2015). The best of Many Worlds: Methodological Pluralism in Political Ecology. In L. B. Raymond (Ed.) The International Handbook of Political Ecology, (pp. 515 – 529). Northampton: Edward Elgar Publications. https://doi.org/10.4337/9780857936172.00047 Freire, P. (1997). Teachers as Cultural Workers – Letters to Those Who Dare Teach. New York: Routledge, Westview Press. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429496974 Fullan, M. (2016). The New Meaning of Educational Change. New York: Routledge and Teachers College Press. https://doi.org/10.1007/1-4020-4451-8_12 Gamoran, A., & An, B. P. (2016). Effects of school segregation and school resources in a changing policy context. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 38(1), 43– 64. https://doi.org/10.3102/0162373715585604 Goleman, D. (2006). Social intelligence: The new science of human relationships. New York: Bantam Dell. Goodman, A., Joshi, H., Nasim, B., & Tyler, C. (2015). Social and emotional skills in childhood and their long-term effects on adult life. Washington: Institute of Education. Griffin, P., & Care E. (Eds.). (2014). Assessment and teaching of 21st century skills: Methods and approach. New York: Springer. Grollios, G. (2016). Paulo Freire. New York: Routledge. Hannon, V., & Peterson, A. (2017). Thrive: Schools Reinvented for the real challenges we face. London: Innovation Unit Press. Hattie, J. (2015). What Doesn’t Work in Education: The Politics of Distraction. London: Pearson.
  • 21. 15 ©2020 The author and IJLTER.ORG. All rights reserved. Hattie, J. (2016). The applicability of Visible Learning to higher education. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology, 1(1),79–91. https://doi.org/10.1037/stl0000021 Nir, A., Ben David, A., Bogler, R., Inbar, D., & Zohar, A. (2016). School autonomy and 21st-century skills in the Israeli educational system: Discrepancies between the declarative and operational levels. International journal of educational management, 30(7), 1231-1246. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEM-11-2015-0149 Paniagua, A., & Istance. D. (2018). Teachers and designers of learning environments: The importance of innovative pedagogies. Paris: Center for Educational Research and Innovation, OECD. https://doi.org/10.1787/9789264085374-en Plucker, J., Clint K., & Dilley., A, (2019). What we know about collaboration" In E. Eisenberg & O. Selivansky-Eden (Eds.). Adapting Israel's Education System for The Challenges of the 21st Century, (pp. 31 – 42). Jerusalem: The Israel Democracy Institute. Ravitch, D. (2016). The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education. New York: Basic Books. Rosiek, J., & Kinslow, K. (2016). Resegregation as Curriculum: The meaning of the new segregation in U.S. public schools. New York: Routledge. Rothstein, R. (2017). The color of law: A forgotten history of how our government segregated America. New York: W. W. Norton. Sahlberg, P. (2015). Finnish lessons. What can the world learn from educational change in Finland? New York: Teachers College Press. https://doi.org/10.17323/1814- 9545-2014-4-260-268 Sahlberg, P. (2018). Finnish ED Leadership: Four Big, Inexpensive Ideas to Transform Education. Carolina: Corwin. Schofer, E. (2019). The Growth of Schooling in Global Perspective. Education and Society – An Introduction to Key Issues in the Sociology of Education, 8–22. https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctvpb3wn0.5 Tamir, Y. (2015). Who's Afraid of Equality? Education and Society in Israel. Tel Aviv: Yedioth Ahronoth and Chemed Books. [Hebrew] Virtanen, A., & Tynjälä P. (2019). Factors Explaining the Learning of Generic Skills: A Study of University Students’ Experiences" Teaching in Higher Education, 24 (7), 880-894. https://doi.org/10.1080/13562517.2018.1515195
  • 22. 16 ©2020 The authors and IJLTER.ORG. All rights reserved. International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research Vol. 19, No. 8, pp. 16-39, August 2020 https://doi.org/10.26803/ijlter.19.8.2 The Effects of Mobile Learning on Listening Comprehension Skills and Attitudes of Omani EFL Adult Learners Abdullah Al-Shamsi, Abdo Mohamed Al-Mekhlafi*, Saleh Al Busaidi and Maher Mohammad Hilal Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5627-2609 https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2821-6199 https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9649-429X https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7026-498X Abstract. This study aimed to explore the effect of using mobile learning on improving adult learners’ listening skills in Oman, to investigate their attitudes, and to explore the factors that stand as barriers to its implementation. The study is quasi-experimental consisted of two groups, an experimental group (n=15) and a control group (n=16) from a foundation program at a military educational institute. The research data included the results of two sets of listening tests and learners’ responses on an attitude questionnaire. The students in the experimental group outperformed their counterparts in the control group as a result of the mobile learning strategy. There was a statically significant improvement in the experimental group students’ listening ability. Also, the participants had positive attitudes towards using mobile learning in improving their listening comprehension skills. The participants found that mobile learning enhanced their motivation, increased their exposure, expanded their vocabulary repertoire, and provided easy access to “anytime” and “everywhere” learning. However, they emphasized some challenges that were related to mobile software design, screen sizes of mobile phones, network connections, and the appropriateness of the listening content. Based on the findings, the study suggested some educational implications and recommendations. Keywords: Mobile learning; listening comprehension skill; attitudes; language exposure; autonomous 1. Introduction Mobile devices are the next generation of learning as they are extending into all areas of human life (Kim, 2013). Mobile learning is providing us with *Corresponding author: Abdo Mohamed Al-Mekhlafi; Email: raymoh123321@gmail.com
  • 23. 17 ©2020 The authors and IJLTER.ORG. All rights reserved. opportunities to change the existing learning methods and strategies and gives a more flexible approach to manage learning experiences on the move (Kukulska- Hulme & Traxler, 2005). Mobile learning technologies “help produce learning that is personally customized, socially constructed, and which extends beyond the classroom” (Holden & Sykes, 2011, p. 4). Several empirical studies assert that mobile-learning is a useful and instructive tool for language learning, and it can encourage students to be more autonomous and independent in their learning process (Chen, 2016; Liu & He, 2015). Chen (2016) emphasized that “Mobile learning apps provide multiple channels and modalities for adult learners to practice language skills” (2016, p. 40). Regarding language learning, researches in the literature have shown that listening comprehension is crucial for second language acquisition (Feyten, 1991; Richards, 2005). Listening ability is an essential factor that contributes significantly to the second language learning process. Richards (2005) stated that “The development of good listening skills is seen not only as something valuable for its own sake but as something that supports the growth of other aspects of language use, such as speaking and reading” (p. 85). However, many language learners and teachers consider listening as the most difficult skill to be taught (Aryana & Apsari, 2018). In Oman, several studies assessed the students' listening comprehension skills. They found out that Omani students have difficulty in listening comprehension due to incompetent treatment of listening comprehension and insufficient exposure to listening outside the classroom (Al-Busaidi, 1997). Also, the listening materials and conventional teaching methods are of poor quality (Al-Belushi, 1999). Moreover, learners are unable to follow listening materials in a stressful environment because of the cognitively demanding listening activities (Al-Issa, 2005). Likewise, Al-Handhali (2009) claimed that content issues, lack of exposure, lack of encouragement, and teachers’ methodological decisions in classrooms all contributed to listening comprehension difficulties. Therefore, the problem of this current study lies in the weak performance of many Omani students’ in listening comprehension and their insufficiency of exposure to the English language outside classrooms. Therefore, listening skills must be investigated further in Oman. New approaches in teaching are needed to be adopted, and modern technologies are required to be exploited and utilized. Al-Harrasi (2014) recommended that a less-stressful environment is necessary for the classroom, and learners need more interactive listening activities. Al-Belushi (1999) also recommended utilizing the latest technologies that are made available for language learning. He urged teachers to encourage students’ autonomy and independence in their learning process and to give opportunities for individual students to listen to what interests them and to listen in their own time and place. Thus, a shift towards integrating educational technologies is required to give learners some opportunities to practise listening comprehension skills outside the classroom independently. Therefore, to improve the learners’ listening skills, it is recommended to increase time exposure to the language by providing different listening materials for students to listen to in their
  • 24. 18 ©2020 The authors and IJLTER.ORG. All rights reserved. free time outside the classroom. Also, it’s essential to utilize advanced technologies, online listening materials and to provide less stressful learning environments (Al-Belushi, 1999; Al-Busaidi, 1997; Al-Handhali, 2009; Al-Issa, 2005). Concerning utilizing advanced technologies, several studies have reported the potential use of mobile-based technology in enhancing language learning and accordingly have required EFL teachers to use mobile learning to perform language learning activities (Al Aamri, 2011; Al Yafei & Osman, 2016; Beatty, 2010; Chen, 2016; Kim, 2013). Crompton and Burke (2018) urged higher education teachers to use mobile technologies to increase learning opportunities outside classrooms. Mobile devices can allow language learners to access different learning materials everywhere, flexibly, and at any time (Kim, 2013; Read & Kukulska-Hulme, 2015). Also, they help to overcome many problems such as anxiety of language learning, inadequate language practices, and deficiency of language exposure (Rahimi & Soleymani, 2015). Furthermore, students can develop self-regulation and self-assessment through mobile devices (Gangaiamaran & Pasupathi, 2017; Liu & He, 2015; Zheng & Chen, 2018). Besides, some mobile learning applications can provide opportunities for immediate feedback and language analysis (Chen, Hsu & Doong, 2016). Mobile learning can establish an educational electronic learning platform that offers motivating educational experiences for instructors and students. It can also enhance the learners’ self-regulated learning experiences and increase language exposure outside the classroom. Therefore, the importance of promoting listening comprehension skills and the great opportunities that mobile-learning can positively offer has led to the need to investigate this issue further in Oman. The primary purpose of this study, thus, is to explore the impact of mobile-learning on improving listening comprehension skills and explore the pedagogical attitudes of students towards the integration of the mobile-learning in their classroom activities. The study addresses the following research questions: 1. Are there any statistically significant differences in listening performance between students who learn listening skills through mobile devices and students who conventionally learn listening skills? 2. What are the students’ attitudes towards using mobile devices in improving their listening comprehension skills? 3. What challenges do students face in using mobile devices? 2. Literature Review The growing popularity of the term mobile learning among language learners and the vitality of listening skill in language acquisition bring with them a shift in focus that may impact the teaching and learning process. This dramatic shift towards using m-learning in teaching English language listening skills can provide access to listening materials from everywhere and at anytime. The literature review provides a theoretical background of English listening comprehension skills and information background about mobile learning and its impacts on EFL contexts.
  • 25. 19 ©2020 The authors and IJLTER.ORG. All rights reserved. 2.1 Listening Comprehension Skill in L2 Learning Listening comprehension skill plays an active part in L2 learning (Brown, 2001; Feyten, 1991; Richards, 2005; Vandergrift & Goh, 2012). Listening is an essential skill in a way that exists in most of the activities we do throughout our lives (Al- Belushi, 1999). A person cannot communicate or interact with others unless s/he understands the spoken language (Rivers, 1966). Therefore, the rationale behind teaching listening skills is to prepare English language learners for understanding the actual speech in real-life communication contexts and for facilitating second language acquisition. Besides, listening ability contributes significantly to the predictability of foreign language acquisition process (Feyten, 1991) and creates a channel by which the learner gains access to a great deal of comprehensible input in the target language (Krashen, 2013; Rost, 2007). Furthermore, the development of listening comprehension plays a significant role in developing other language skills (Dunkel, 1986), expands the learners’ vocabulary repertoire and grammar knowledge (Rost, 1994), and improves learners’ pronunciation of the target language (Harmer, 2007). Listening plays an active part in the language learning process, and language learners cannot maintain acquisition until a certain amount of the listening input in the target language is intelligible. 2.1.1 Learners’ Problems in Listening Comprehension Although listening plays a significant and constructive role in language learning, language learners confront several difficulties and problems when practising listening comprehension skills. Kim (2013) stressed that many English learners find listening skill a challenging skill as it demands a complex process of interpreting information from sound, especially when there are no visual aids. Also, students need to comprehend and process both content knowledge (data) and linguistic knowledge (language) simultaneously while they are doing the listening. According to Namaziandost, Ahmadi and Keshmirshekan (2019), limitations on learner’s listening ability are due to the listener’s limited vocabulary, length of the discourse, inability to understand the speaker’s accent, and the speaker’s speech rate. In his article, Goh (2000) notified that students tend to forget what they hear quickly, are unable to recognize the meanings of words, and tend to face difficulty to comprehend the intended purpose of the message even though they had understood the literal meaning of the words. Thus, learners’ problems in listening comprehension are due to personal cognitive differences, individual emotional statuses such as learners’ anxiety, and the context of the spoken language (Vandergrift & Goh, 2012). 2.1.2 Contemporary Trends in Teaching Listening Comprehension The difficulties that EFL learners face when listening to the target language and the value of mastering listening skills for language acquisition emphasize the importance of seeking new strategies and techniques to facilitate listening comprehension skills. Teachers should help students improve their listening comprehension proficiency by reducing students’ concern about listening and providing a less worrying classroom environment (Al-Handhali, 2009). Also, students should be encouraged to promote self-regulated learning to seek listening opportunities outside the classroom (Gangaiamaran & Pasupathi, 2017; Yabukoshi, 2018; Vandergrift & Goh, 2012). Moreover, there has been an
  • 26. 20 ©2020 The authors and IJLTER.ORG. All rights reserved. increasing call on employing more authentic materials in the learning process (Vandergrift, 2007), and on providing more extensive listening exposure to the target language outside the classroom (Lee & Cha, 2017). Based on the above discussion, integration of mobile learning can enable students to reduce their anxiety, increase their language exposure, enhance independent learning, and develop some learning strategies so that learners are motivated to seek more opportunities outside the classroom (Al Aamri, 2011; Al Yafei & Osman, 2016; Chen, 2016; Kim, 2013; Kukulska-Hulme & Traxler, 2005; Liu & He, 2015; Rahimi & Soleymani, 2015). Vandergrift (2007) emphasized that “Broader access to these new technologies will likely shift the focus from the classroom to independent learning” (p. 206). Mobile devices can be utilized outside the classroom to enhance the learning process and create a more self-regulated learning environment (Zheng & Chen, 2018). Besides, mobile-based learning can be a convenient tool in providing immediate feedback and assessment for students so that they track their self-improvement in the language (Chen, Hsu & Doong, 2016). Therefore, this study intends to examine the effect of using mobile devices in improving listening comprehension skills. To sum up, the previous studies in the literature show that listening comprehension is a complex process which requires much listening exposure and extensive practice outside the classroom. Therefore, teachers need to inspire learners to become independent, to look for listening opportunities outside the classroom through using English language media, to establish goals and means of self-evaluation, and to keep a record of their performance. The use of mobile learning can facilitate a shift from teacher-led education to student-led one, so that students can listen to the language anytime and anywhere and be more self- independent. 2.2 Mobile Learning (M-Learning) Many scholars and practitioners have described mobile learning in different forms (Grant, 2019). Brown (2005) defined M-learning as being a subset of E-learning that is explicitly a form of web-based delivery of content and learning management; moreover, it features with mobility, flexibility, and convenience when compared to online learning. However, Peters (2007) went further in defining m-Learning as being a model of flexible learning that is ‘just in time, just enough and just for me’. Other scholars described mobile learning as a sort of portable education that uses portable devices to access learning and knowledge on the move without the time and location constraints (Kukulska-Hulme & Pettit, 2009; Traxler, 2009). El- Hussein and Cronje (2010) attempted to provide a comprehensive definition of mobile learning that is “any type of learning that takes place in learning environments and spaces that take account of the mobility of technology, mobility of learners, and mobility of learning” (p. 20). 2.2.1 Significance of Mobile Technology in EFL Context M-learning recognizes learners’ diversity and individual differences to determine the way of learning (Traxler, 2009). It has the potentials to provide authentic listening materials such as songs and news in English for language learners
  • 27. 21 ©2020 The authors and IJLTER.ORG. All rights reserved. (Elfiona, Embryany & Pamela, 2019). Authentic materials can help the language learners see how the language is related to the real word (Brown, 2001), enhances their active involvement in the learning process (Hapsari & Ratri, 2014), and fosters their self-confidence (Unver, 2017). Furthermore, mobile technology can contextualize the learning activities, and it can combine between formal and informal learning opportunities (Pulla, 2020). Thus, learning won’t only be limited to the classroom setting but also will be extended to learning in real-life communities. Moreover, mobile technology gives students the flexibility and motivation to learn at their own pace at a convenient time. It promotes autonomy and makes the learning process more independent (Al-Hunaiyyan, Alhajri & Al-Sharhan, 2018; Beatty, 2010; Kim, 2013; Read & Kukulska-Hulme, 2015; Traxler, 2009). It also involves learners in determining their objectives, developing more useful learning strategies, and determining the method and timing that they decide on (Raya & Fernández, 2002). Besides, it can provide a variety of English expressions and vocabulary (Kim, 2013). Hence, mobile learning can fit different learning styles, directs learners to control their education, contextualize the learning experiences, and frees learners from the formality of conventional education. 2.2.2 Challenges Although mobile learning has proved to have significant merits in the learning process, it cannot stand without some drawbacks. Rogers and Price (2009) mentioned that overloaded information, distractions by mobile devices, and difficulty in designing appropriate learning experiences that encourages collaboration and interaction between learners are the three main challenges that may occur when employing mobile technologies. Therefore, language teachers must create mobile learning experiences which are not too bewildering or overly complicated and make sure that learners are not working in isolation from their counterparts. Likewise, Zhang (2019) found that a lack of internet access, a lack of continuity of mobile data transfer, weak cellular signals in some areas can hinder a real continuous learning experience on mobile devices. Likewise, Alrefaai (2019) found that EFL learners face various challenges when they use mobile devices such as technical problems, small screen sizes, distractions, the accuracy of the information, health problems, and getting bored. In Oman, there is a shortage of technological aids or a failure of some teachers to utilize them due to their lack of knowledge or training on how to use educational technology (Al-Issa & Al- Bulushi, 2012; Al-Musawi, 2007; Al-Senaidi, Lin & Poirot, 2009). 2.3 Emerging Mobile Technologies in the Omani context Several studies in Oman examined the teachers’ and students’ attitudes towards mobile-based learning. Al-Emran and Shaalan (2017) revealed that M-learning could be adopted by all academics regardless of their age and qualifications. However, instructors’ attitudes towards mobile technology are determined by their beliefs about the effectiveness of mobile technology in education. The more positive perception they have towards mobile technology, the more optimistic they are towards the utilization of M-Learning. Likewise, Al Aamri (2011) found that students like to use mobile devices while teachers do not want them to do so.
  • 28. 22 ©2020 The authors and IJLTER.ORG. All rights reserved. Teachers think that mobile devices could be a big distraction for both teachers and students. Therefore, the researcher recommended fostering the use of mobile technology in education and emphasizing the merits of mobile phone in the classroom. In this respect, Al Yafei and Osman (2016) noted that m-learning could be an effective medium for self-learning as it promotes autonomy and increases learners’ motivation which helps in solving many motivational barriers that might occur under fixed and even monotonous educational routines. Both learners and language educators hold positive attitudes towards integrating mobile technologies in the Omani context. However, there should be more studies investigating the merits of mobile devices in the classroom to gain confidence in using it. In summation, the existing body of research shows that the use of mobile learning in language learning, especially in listening comprehension, is an essential contributor to second language learning. It increases the level of self-awareness and ability of learners and decreases the level of anxiety. Moreover, the literature provides conclusive empirical studies supporting the idea of using mobile learning that helps language learners undertake the listening activities in a scaffolded way and offers possibilities for interaction and collaboration. Thus, as the assertion that M-learning can enhance listening comprehension skills for L2 learners is assumed and demonstrated empirically, supporting the use of M- learning as a means for increasing listening ability can encourage the appearance of this research in the future. Their unique features like portability, individuality, and connectivity make mobile based-instruction an integrative, an interactive, and innovative experience. The primary of the present study, therefore, is to investigate the effects of M-learning on the development of L2 learners’ listening ability. 3. Methods This section discusses the research methodology and the procedures of designing and applying the research instruments including the statistical analysis that were adopted in analyzing and interpreting the results of the instruments, including a description of the participants, the research design, data collection, and data analysis. 3.1 Participants The participants of the study were from the foundation program at a Military Educational Institute (MEI), Oman. They were about 48 students enrolled in level one. Two intact classes comprised the sample of the study, one as a control group (n =16 students) and the other one as an experimental group (n=15 students). All participants were full-time students registered for a 14-week course. They ranged in age from 20 to 23. All participants had a similar educational background and the same learning environment. The comprehension listening pre-test was administered to both groups before the intervention to determine the equivalency of the two groups in the English listening comprehension skill. The researcher conducted an independent-samples t-test to compare the mean scores between the two groups. Table 1 presents the means and standard deviations of the students' scores on the listening pre-test before receiving the intervention.
  • 29. 23 ©2020 The authors and IJLTER.ORG. All rights reserved. Table 1. Independent Samples T-test Results for Pre-test before the intervention Groups n Mean* SD df t-value p-value Control group 16 16.19 4.215 29 -0.845 0.405 Experimental group 15 17.47 4.207 *Total score=25 The results showed that there was no significant difference in mean pre-test scores between the control group (M = 16.19, SD = 4.215) and experimental group (M = 17.47, SD = 4.207) before the intervention, (t (29) = -0.845, p>.05). The p-value is 0.405 (p>.05), which advocates that there is no significant difference between the two groups. These results indicate that the level of listening ability of the two groups was equivalent at the start of the intervention. 3.2 Research Design This study is a quasi-experimental research design in which the researcher used a pre-test and a post-test to determine the effect of mobile learning on students’ listening comprehension skills. The research followed this sort of design as there is no control of the random assignments of the subjects to the treatment group. Fraenkel, Wallen and Hyun (2011) affirmed that a quasi-experimental design is an experimental design in which the researcher cannot assign individual participants to groups randomly. Based on this, the researcher selected the experimental group and control group without randomization. The control group students received the English listening materials lessons following a conventional way of teaching. In contrast, the students in the experimental group worked with the same listening materials through mobile devices using the mobile application (Google Classroom). After the experiment, the researcher compared the performance of both groups to gauge the effect of the mobile-based learning treatment on the experimental group. 3.3 Research Instruments To gather data, the researcher has administered a comprehension listening test and an attitude questionnaire. A brief explanation of each comes below. 3.3.1 Listening Comprehension Test The comprehension listening test was developed based on the objectives of the English language program course and aims to gauge the effectiveness of using mobile-based learning materials on the learners’ level of listening proficiency. The test was administered twice: as a pre-test before the intervention to determine the equivalence of the participants. Also, it was used as a post-test for both groups at the end of the treatment to measure the effect of using mobile learning on students’ listening ability. A panel of the Head of English section, four EFL teachers who were teaching in the foundation program, three evaluation experts from the Exam Cell in the institute, and an external examiner specialist validated the content of the test.
  • 30. 24 ©2020 The authors and IJLTER.ORG. All rights reserved. There was an agreement among the panel about the suitability, clarity, and relevancy of the test scoring. The listening test was pilot-tested by the Exam Cell on a group of 73 level-one students to establish its reliability. According to the results, the Cronbach alpha showed that the listening test reached the right level of internal consistency at about 0.87. Therefore, the researcher is confident that this test was reliable for data collection. 3.3.2 The Questionnaire The questionnaire survey was developed to assess the learners’ attitudes towards using mobile learning for improving their listening skills. The researcher designed the questionnaire based on the relevant literature and previous studies (Al Aamri, 2011; Al-Hunaiyyan et al., 2018; Al Yafei & Osman, 2016; Kim, 2013). The questionnaire consisted of two main sections. In the first section, there were 20 statements scored on a five-point Likert scale (1= strongly disagree; 2= disagree; 3= neutral; 4= agree; and 5= strongly agree). In this section, the participants indicate the level of their agreement and disagreement with the statements regarding their attitudes towards using mobile devices in improving their English listening skills. There are four main dimensions in this section: perceived usefulness, motivation, self-management of learning, and intention to use. In section two of the questionnaire, there were open-ended questions, including what the participants liked most about using mobile devices in learning English listening skills, the difficulties they faced, and other suggestions to improve the implementation of m-learning. Appendix 1 shows the sections of the questionnaire. The initial version of the questionnaire was reviewed and checked by twelve experts in the ELT and instructional technology field. The jury assessed the validity of the survey in terms of its relevance, clarity, and suitability. Based on their recommendations, the researcher made some modifications and changes accordingly. The questionnaire later was pilot-tested on a sample of 30 students to check its reliability. Reliability analysis was calculated using Cronbach reliability coefficient; the coefficient was (α = 0.893) to the statements of the questionnaire. Thus, an alpha of 0.893 is an appropriate reliability coefficient as the statements of the survey reached the right level of internal consistency. 3.4 Description of the Materials The study used the materials of the course textbook. The listening materials in the handbook are adapted from authentic sources to stimulate the learners’ interests and engage them in classroom discussions. A wide variety of recoding contents— including lectures, radio interviews, news reports, and informal conversations— are utilized to provide opportunities for extensive and intensive listening practices. The audio files are on a CD ROM that comes with the textbook.
  • 31. 25 ©2020 The authors and IJLTER.ORG. All rights reserved. Regarding the mobile-based listening materials, the researcher converted the original content of the course textbook into an electronic version. They emphasized the same course objectives and followed the same sequence of the teaching lessons. The mobile-based materials were assessed and validated by the course coordinator and the course teachers. They checked the validity of the materials in terms of its relevancy, clarity, functionality, and presentation in the mobile App. 3.5 Procedures and Implementation This study aimed to investigate the students’ academic achievement in listening skills and their attitudes towards using m-learning. Therefore, the researcher divided participants of the research into two groups, a control group (used the conventional method) and an experimental group (followed mobile-based learning). The researcher firstly administered the listening pre-test for both groups, which showed that there were no significant differences between the two groups before the experiment. The researcher conducted a tutorial for the experimental group to explain the plan of the study and to practise on how to use the mobile application (Google Classroom). Also, the researcher explained the instruments to the participants, and consent forms were signed, too. The students in both groups were exposed to the same listening materials, exercises and assignments for eight weeks. The control group followed the usual teaching method of a paper and pencil, while the experimental groups used the Google Classroom App. In the last phase of the study, the post-test was administered to both groups to determine the impact of the listening-oriented mobile learning materials on students’ listening comprehension ability. Then, the students in the experimental group completed the attitude questionnaire and reflected on the use of mobile learning strategy. 3.6 Data Analysis The researcher used the SPSS program (version 25) to analyze the listening comprehension test scores and questionnaire data. Descriptive statistics, including means and standard deviations, were computed for both instruments. An independent sample t-test was conducted before and after the intervention to compare the scores of both groups. The researcher also carried out a paired sample t-test to see if the students in the experimental group made significant improvements in listening proficiency after using the mobile App. Finally, to investigate the students’ attitudes towards the mobile learning strategy in learning English listening and the difficulties that they encountered, the participants’ responses to the questionnaire were tabulated and interpreted. 4. Results The study was based on a quasi-experimental design in which two groups are involved with one group receiving the treatment. The results obtained from the research instruments were analyzed and presented. Tables were used to present and describe the data, and analysis and interpretations were followed.
  • 32. 26 ©2020 The authors and IJLTER.ORG. All rights reserved. 4.1 The Effect of M-learning on Listening Comprehension Skill To answer the first research question, the researcher administered a post-listening test to both groups and used an independent sample t-test to compare the scores of both groups. Table 2 presents the results of independent samples t-test of the post-test after the intervention by groups. Table 2. Results of Independent Samples T-test for Post-test after the intervention Groups n Mean* SD t-value df p-value Control group 16 17.13 3.74 -2.57 29 0.016 Experimental group 15 20.20 2.83 *Total score= 25 The results show a clear significant difference between the mean score of the experimental group (M=20.20) and the control group (M=17.13). It resulted in a statistically significant difference between the groups (t= -2.093, p<0.05) and in favour of the experimental group. Thus, using m-learning was more effective than the conventional method in improving the learners’ comprehension listening skill. The eta squared (2 = 0.19) indicated a large effect size according to the guidelines proposed by Cohen (1988) for interpreting this value: 0.01=small effect, 0.06=moderate effect, and 0.14=large effect. In other words, 19% of the variations in the post-test scores were explained by mobile-based learning practices, which means that mobile learning treatment was effective. To further investigate the impact of m-learning on the experimental group, the researcher also used a paired sample t-test. Table 3 summarizes the results of the paired samples t-test in both tests for the experimental group. Table 3. Results of paired Samples T-test Groups n Test Mean* SD t-value Df p-value Experimental group 15 Pre- 17.47 4.21 -3.54 14 0.003 15 Post- 20.20 2.83 *Total score=25 As shown in Table 3, the test results of the experimental group revealed a significant improvement in the post-test (M=20.20, SD=2.83) over the pre-test (M=17.47, SD=4.21). The results demonstrated that the mean scores were higher for post-test after the intervention at a significant level (t(14)=- 3.54, p <0.05). The results of the eta squared (2 = 0.47) also indicated a large effect size, according to Cohen’s (1988) three levels for interpreting this value. In other words, 47% of the variations in the post-test scores were explained by mobile-based learning practices, which also means that mobile learning treatment positively affected the learners’ listening ability. 4.2. The Attitude of the Participants The data of the questionnaire were analyzed and addressed in four dimensions to answer the second research question. The dimensions are as follows: perceived
  • 33. 27 ©2020 The authors and IJLTER.ORG. All rights reserved. usefulness, motivation, self-management of learning, and intention to use. The respondents have shown different estimates of the statements of the questionnaire. Table 4 presents the overall mean of the survey. Table 4. The Dimensions of the Questionnaire Dimension Mean SD 1. Dimension of Perceived Usefulness 4.32 0.42 2. Dimension of Motivation 4.15 0.37 3. Dimension of Self-Management of Learning 4.05 0.42 4. Dimension of Intention to Use 4.15 0.35 Overall Mean / Std. Deviation 4.17 0.39 As shown in Table 4, the participants generally tended to have a positive attitude towards using mobile learning for teaching English listening skills (M = 4.17, SD = 0.39). Thus, the results showed that the majority of participants had positive attitudes towards emerging mobile learning in the learning process as a useful tool for improving listening comprehension skills. Each dimension of the questionnaire is further analyzed. Table 5 shows the students perceptions of the usefulness of mobile learning. Table 5. The dimension of Perceived Usefulness Statement Mean SD 1. Mobile learning provided more extensive listening practice. 4.33 0.62 2. Listening practice through the mobile device improved my listening ability. 4.47 0.52 4. I listen to audio materials using my mobile device more than once. 4.00 0.93 12. Listening practice through mobile devices helped me learn a variety of English vocabulary. 4.47 0.74 Overall Mean / Std. Deviation 4.32 0.42 The results showed that the students generally had a positive perception of the usefulness of using mobile learning in learning the listening skill (M=4.32). The participants in the experimental group think that mobile learning was useful in improving their listening ability as mobile devices have successfully increased their exposure to the target language and have expanded their vocabulary repertoire. Table 6 shows the students’ responses to the statements that tackled the motivation dimension towards mobile learning.
  • 34. 28 ©2020 The authors and IJLTER.ORG. All rights reserved. Table 6. Dimension of Motivation Statement Mean SD 5. Using mobile devices motivated me to practise the listening skill. 4.27 0.59 6. The mobile device reduced my anxiety in learning listening skill. 3.87 0.99 7. I enjoyed the exercises through my mobile device than the traditional way. 4.20 0.78 17. I prefer mobile phone exercises to paper-based listening exercises. 4.13 0.74 18. I am satisfied with using the mobile device for practising listening skills. 4.27 0.59 19. Mobile devices encourage self-studying outside classroom. 4.13 0.64 Overall Mean / Std. Deviation 4.15 0.37 Overall, the results indicated that the students believed that mobile devices motivated them to practise listening exercises better than the conventional method of paper-based tasks (M=4.15). The participants in the experimental group think that mobile learning has the potentials to encourage them to practise listening skills outside the classroom. Table 7 shows the students’ attitudes on mobile learning effectiveness towards providing a flexible delivery of learning and directing the learners towards a more independent self-management of learning. Table 7. The dimension of Self-Management of Learning Statement Mean SD 3. Mobile devices helped me to practise listening anytime and anywhere. 4.47 0.92 8. Mobile devices provided immediate feedback while listening. 4.13 0.74 9. Mobile devices assisted me in selecting listening tasks outside the classroom. 3.87 0.64 10. Mobile devices helped me manage my listening activities outside the classroom. 3.80 0.78 11. Mobile devices helped me evaluate my listening skills outside the classroom. 4.20 0.56 13. I believe I can improve my listening skills alone through mobile devices without the teacher’s help. 3.80 1.01 Overall Mean / Std. Deviation 4.05 0.42 Generally, the students believed that mobile devices provide learning dispositional characteristics like anytime and anywhere sort of learning, provision of quick feedback and independency of teachers (M=4.05). Consequently, learners can develop a more independent and self-directed style of learning. Therefore, mobile learning has the predisposition to provide a self-management style of learning.
  • 35. 29 ©2020 The authors and IJLTER.ORG. All rights reserved. However, the success towards shifting to a more self-management of learning depends on the learners’ willingness and intention to seek their self-directed style of learning outside the classroom. Therefore, examining the fourth dimension of the plan to continue using mobile learning is crucial. Table 8 presents the students’ intention to continue using mobile learning to practise language learning further. Table 8: The dimension of Intention to Use Statement Mean SD 14. I would like to practise other English skills using mobile devices. 4.20 0.78 15. I encourage others to use mobile devices for English language learning. 4.60 0.63 16. I would like to listen to authentic materials through my mobile device. 3.87 0.74 20. I’ll continue using mobile learning for learning English after the course. 3.93 0.96 Overall Mean / Std. Deviation 4.15 0.35 The results emphasized that the students had the willingness to engage with the language learning process through mobile learning (M=4.15). The highest score was on statement 15 (I encourage others to use mobile devices for English language learning, M=4.60) followed by statement 14 (I would like to practice other English skills using mobile devices, M= 4.20). 4.3 The Challenges of using Mobile Devices The researcher used a thematic analysis of the open-ended questions following coding methods to answer the third research question. There were four main themes emerged from the analysis of the data using the coding method. These themes are attributed to the following issues: mobile software-related issues, mobile features-related issues, technical issues, and listening to content-related problems. Some students complained about some issues related to the features of mobile software (Google Classroom). The design of mobile software did not allow the learners to play the recordings and view the questions on the same page on their mobile phones. Participant #3 said, “it was difficult to listen to the audio materials and answer the questions at the same time”. Due to this issue, the participants tend to forget what they heard quickly and faced difficulty to grasp the intended meaning of the recordings. Participant #11 added, “When listening to the audio materials, it was not possible to look at the question page at the same time, so we had to close the listening page and open the questions page. For this, we often forgot things or we were unable to answer directly”. Other students complained about some mobile features-related issues. Most of the complains related to the screen sizes of mobile phones. The participants said that the screen sizes of mobile phones were small, which made it difficult for them to read and answer the questions. Participants #6 wrote, “The words were tiny and unclear due to the small screen of the phone”. Also, due to the small sizes, some students faced difficulty in typing the answer on the screen. Participant #10
  • 36. 30 ©2020 The authors and IJLTER.ORG. All rights reserved. added, “The screen size of the phone was small, and therefore, there was difficulty in reading some questions and answering them; the phone does not help much in writing”. Students also commented on technical issues and mentioned things including a wireless network service and lack of internet access. Some students had some difficulties accessing the Internet using the wireless network due to the lack of internet coverage. Participant #7 wrote, “Internet in the college was slow. Opening the audio file took a lot of time”. Alternatively, they had sometimes to use their internet subscriptions to download the listening materials, which was inconvenient for them. Some students also mentioned some listening content-related issues like the audio files were not very clear, and the speakers were very fast, which made it difficult to understand the audio files. Participant #9 mentioned, “Sometimes the speaker was not clear in pronouncing some words, and some recordings were high- speed”. Summing up, the findings of the study showed that there was a statistically significant difference (p < 0.05) between the post-test mean scores of the experimental group and the control group. Moreover, mobile learning is a novel educational strategy that can bring effectiveness, incentives, and motivation to the learning process; however, its implementation has some limitations and challenges on software design, screen sizes of mobile phones, and networks connectivity. 5. Discussion The first research question asked, “Are there any statistically significant differences in listening performance between students who learn listening skills through mobile devices and students who conventionally learn listening skills?” The findings to this question revealed that mobile-learning had a statistically significant effect on the students’ listening comprehension skills. The learners in the experimental group significantly outperformed the learners in the control group in the post-listening test even though the two groups were equivalent in the pre-listening test before the experiment. The findings of the study indicate the usefulness of using mobile devices in enhancing English language listening learning which lends support to several previous studies (Al Yafei & Osman, 2016; Chen, 2016; Chen, Hsu & Doong, 2016; Lie & He, 2014; Rahimi & Soleymani, 2015; Read & Kukulska-Hulme, 2015). They all provided support to the effectiveness of mobile devices in enhancing the language teaching and learning process. The improvement of the experimental group students in listening comprehension skills might have been due to the potentials that mobile learning has provided. The researcher noticed that the students in the experimental group were highly interested in exploring learning the target language listening skills through their mobile devices. The students translated their high degree of motivation towards mobile learning into a higher level of engagement, exposure, and inclination to explore more listening materials through their mobile devices. Read and