Iranian EFL Learners’ Perception of the Efficacy and Affordance of Activity Theory-based Computer Assisted Language Learning in Writing Achievement
Second language writing instruction has been greatly influenced by the growing importance of technology and the recent shift of paradigm from a cognitive to a social orientation in second language acquisition (Lantolf & Thorne, 2006). Therefore, the applications of computer-assisted language learning and activity theory have been suggested as a promising framework for writing studies. The present study aimed to investigate the perception of Iranian EFL learners of the efficacy and affordance of activity theory integrated with computer-assisted language learning in writing improvement. To this end, sixty-seven sophomores majoring in English translation were selected as the participants of this study. The writing instruction was geared to an e-learning platform based on the six elements of activity theory--subject, object, mediating artifacts, rules, community, and division of labor--appropriate for the writing course. The students were assigned to write nine expository paragraphs on six different developmental patterns and share various relevant materials on the platform during the treatment. Their assignments were carefully monitored and evaluated by the instructor. Upon the completion of the treatment, the students completed a closed-ended questionnaire and an open-ended questionnaire and took part in a semi-structured focus group interview to express their perception. The results showed that the students held favorable perception toward the use of computer-assisted language learning within the activity theory framework. The findings of the study also revealed that there was a significant difference among the students' perception concerning the four mediating elements of activity theory.