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ERIC Number: EJ1162984
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Dec
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1056-7941
Using Intelligent Personal Assistants for Second Language Learning: A Case Study of Alexa
Dizon, Gilbert
TESOL Journal, v8 n4 p811-830 Dec 2017
The proliferation of smartphones has given rise to intelligent personal assistants (IPAs), software that helps users accomplish day-to-day tasks. However, little is known about IPAs in the context of second language (L2) learning. Therefore, the primary objectives of this case study were twofold: to assess the ability of Amazon's IPA, Alexa, to understand L2 English utterances and to investigate student opinions of the IPA. Four university students of English as a foreign language (EFL) in Japan participated in the study, which involved each participant interacting with Alexa in a 20-min session. Three sets of data were collected and analyzed to achieve the study's aims: learner-generated command performance, interactive storytelling performance, and interviews. The quantitative results showed that Alexa accurately understood only 50% of learner commands, whereas comprehensibility during the interactive storytelling skill, Earplay, was much higher (90%). Three themes were identified from the interviews based on criteria developed by Hubbard (2009): hindered learner efficiency due to the lack of first language (L1) support, improved learner effectiveness through indirect pronunciation feedback, and better access to conversational opportunities. These findings demonstrate that EFL learners perceive Alexa to be a potentially useful tool to enhance language learning and underscore the need for additional (L2) research of IPAs.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Japan
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A