Iranian EFL Learners’ Preferences of Different Digital Technologies for Language Learning Beyond the Classroom

Ismail Xodabande


In recent years, increasing availability of digital technologies and internet connection for the majority of global population has affected almost every aspect of modern life including education and language learning. As a result, the face of language learning is changing both inside and outside the classroom and there is an ever growing need to study various affordances of these new technologies in education and learners’ and teachers’ attitudes towards using them. To this end, the current study investigated Iranian EFL learners’ preferences regarding the use of different digital technologies for language learning beyond the classroom and their beliefs on how these technologies augment their language skills. To collect participants’ data, an online questionnaire was employed and responses from 114 Iranian EFL learners (50 males and 64 females) were obtained through a locally popular social media network. The results of the online survey revealed that participants use various media types and digital technologies for developing their language skills beyond the classroom, and electronic dictionaries, Internet sites, and films are among the highly employed multimedia types. Further statistical analysis (MANOVA) of data also revealed that despite some variation in frequency of use for various technology types among male and female participants, the two groups only have significant differences in using computer games and music. Findings of the study indicate that despite some imposed restrictions on social network and Internet use in Iran, most Iranian EFL learners are actively using them in their language learning beyond the classroom. On implication side, the paper discusses some benefits of using digital technologies for language learning and teaching.


Digital Technologies in Language Learning, Language Learning Beyond the Classroom, Technology Preferences in Language Learning, CALL

Full Text:




Allen, L. K., Crossley, S. A., Snow, E. L., & McNamara, D. S. (2014). L2 Writing Practice: Game Enjoyment as a Key to Engagement. Language Learning & Technology, 18(2), 124-150. Retrieved from

Beatty, K. (2010). Teaching and Researching Computer-Assisted Language Learning (2nd ed.). Harlow: Longman.

Benson, P. (2007). Autonomy in language teaching and learning. Language Teaching, 40(1), 21-40. doi:doi:10.1017/S0261444806003958

Benson, P. (2011). Teaching and Researching Autonomy (2nd ed.). Harlow: Longman.

Benson, P. (2015). Commenting to Learn: Evidence of Language and Intercultural Learning in Comments on YouTube Videos. Language Learning & Technology, 19(3), 88-105. Retrieved from

Blake, R. J. (2008). Brave New Digital Classrooms: Technology and Foreign Language Learning. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press.

Blattner, G., & Fiori, M. (2009). Facebook in the Language Classroom: Promises and Possibilities. Instructional Technology and Distance Learning (ITDL), 6(1), 17-28. Retrieved from

Blattner, G., & Fiori, M. (2011). Virtual Social Network Communities: An Investigation of Language Learners’ Development of Sociopragmatic Awareness and Multiliteracy Skills. CALICO Journal, 29(1), 24-43. Retrieved from

Blattner, G., & Lomicka, L. (2012). Facebook-ing and the Social Generation: A New Era of Language Learning. Alsic, 15(1). doi:10.4000/alsic.2413

Burston, J. (2014). The Reality of MALL: Still on the Fringes. CALICO Journal, 31(1), 103-125. doi:10.11139/cj.31.1.103-125

Chik, A. (2014). Digital Gaming and Language Learning: Autonomy and Community. Language Learning & Technology, 18(2), 85-100. Retrieved from

Chwo, G. S., Marek, M. W., & Wu, W.-C. V. (2018). Meta-analysis of MALL research and design. System, 74, 62-72. doi:10.1016/j.system.2018.02.009

Colley, A., & Comber, C. (2003). Age and gender differences in computer use and attitudes among secondary school students: what has changed? Educational Research, 45(2), 155-165. doi:

Dashtestani, R. (2013). Implementing Mobile-Assisted Language Learning (MALL) in an EFL Context: Iranian EFL Teachers' Perspectives on Challenges and Affordances. JALT CALL Journal, 9(2), 149-168. Retrieved from

Demouy, V., Jones, A., Kan, Q., Kukulska-Hulme, A., & Eardley, A. (2016). Why and how do distance learners use mobile devices for language learning? The EUROCALL Review, 24(1), 10-24. doi:

Dörnyei, Z., & Taguchi, T. (2010). Questionnaires in Second Language Research: Construction, Administration, and Processing (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge.

Ducate, L., & Lomicka, L. (2009). Podcasting: An Effective Tool for Honing Language Students’ Pronunciation? Language Learning & Technology, 13(3), 66-86. Retrieved from

Ebrahimi, N. A., Eskandari, Z., & Rahimi, A. (2013). The Effects of Using Technology and the Internet on Some Iranian EFL Students' Perceptions of Their Communication Classroom Environment. Teaching English with Technology, 13(1), 3-19.

Egbert, J. L. (2005). Conducting Research on CALL. In J. L. Egbert, & G. M. Petrie (Eds.), CALL Research Perspectives. Mahwah, New Jersey: Routledge.

Gee, E., & Lee, Y. N. (2016). From age and gender to identity in technology-mediated language learning. In F. Farr, & L. Murray (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Language Learning and Technology (pp. 160-172). Abingdon: Routledge.

Godwin-Jones, R. (2011). Emerging technologies: Mobile apps for language learning. Language Learning & Technology, 15(2), 2-11. Retrieved from

Godwin-Jones, R. (2017). Smartphones and language learning. Language Learning & Technology, 21(2), 3-17. Retrieved from

Golonka, E. M., Bowles, A. R., Frank, V. M., Richardson, D. L., & Freynik, S. (2014). Technologies for foreign language learning: a review of technology types and their effectiveness. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 27(1), 70-105. doi:

Hall, G. (2011). Exploring English Language Teaching: Language in Action. New York: Routledge.

Hedayati, H. F., & Marandi, S. S. (2014). Iranian EFL teachers’ perceptions of the difficulties of implementing CALL. ReCALL, 26(3), 298-314. doi:10.1017/S0958344014000172

Internet Usage in the Middle East. (2017, June 25). Retrieved from Internet World Stats: Usage and Population Penetration:

Jahromi, S. A., & Salimi, F. (2013). Exploring the human element of computer-assisted language learning: an Iranian context. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 26(2), 158-176. doi:

Ke, F., & Grabowski, B. (2007). Gameplaying for maths learning: cooperative or not? British Journal of Educational Technology(38), 249-259. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2006.00593.x

Kern, R. (2006). Perspectives on Technology in Learning and Teaching Languages. TESOL Quarterly, 40(1), 183-210. doi:10.2307/40264516

Kern, R. (2011). Technology and language learning. In J. Simpson, The Routledge Handbook of Applied Linguistics (pp. 200-214). New York: Routledge.

Lai, C., & Gu, M. (2011). Self-regulated out-of-class language learning with technology. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 24(4), 317–335. doi:

Lau, K. (2017). ‘The most important thing is to learn the way to learn’: evaluating the effectiveness of independent learning by perceptual changes. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 42(3), 415-430. doi:

Lin, C.-H., Warschauer, M., & Blake, R. (2016). Language Learning Through Social Networks: Perceptions and Reality. Language Learning & Technology, 20(1), 124-147. Retrieved from

Liu, H., Lin, C.-H., & Zhang, D. (2017). Pedagogical beliefs and attitudes toward information and communication technology: a survey of teachers of English as a foreign language in China. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 30(8), 745-765. doi:10.1080/09588221.2017.1347572

Liu, M. (2004). Examining the performance and attitudes of sixth graders during their use of a problem-based hypermedia learning environment. Computers in Human Behavior, 20(3), 357-379. doi:

Lomicka, L., & Lord, G. (2012). A tale of tweets: Analyzing microblogging among language learners. System, 40(1), 48-63. doi:

Luik, P. (2011). Would boys and girls benefit from gender-specific educational software? British Journal of Educational Technology, 42(1), 128-144. doi:doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2009.01005.x

McCarthy, M., & Carter, R. (2001). Ten Criteria for a Spoken Grammar. In E. Hinkel, & S. Fotos (Eds.), New Perspectives on Grammar Teaching in Second Language Classrooms (pp. 51-75). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

McCarthy, M., & O'Keeffe, A. (2014). Spoken Grammar. In M. Celce-Murcia, D. M. Brinton, & M. A. Snow (Eds.), Teaching English as a second or foreign language (pp. 271-287). Boston: National Geographic Learning.

Mills, N. (2011). Situated Learning through Social Networking Communities: The Development of Joint Enterprise, Mutual Engagement, and a Shared Repertoire. CALICO, 28(2), 345-368. doi:10.11139/cj.28.2.345-368

Mokhtari, H. (2013). Iranian EFL Learners’ Attitude Towards CALL. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 70, 1630-1635. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.01.232

Mompean, J. A., & Fouz-González, J. (2016). Twitter-Based EFL Pronunciation Instruction. Language Learning & Technology, 20(1), 166-190. Retrieved from

Murphy, J. (2003). Pronunciation. In D. Nunan (Ed.), Practical English Language Teaching (pp. 111-128). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Nunan, D., & Richards, J. C. (2015). Language Learning Beyond the Classroom. New York: Routledge.

Ota, F. (2011). A Study of Social Networking Sites for Learners of Japanese. New Voices, 4, 144-167. doi:

Polat, N., & Mahalingappa, L. J. (2010). Gender Differences in Identity and Acculturation Patterns and L2 Accent Attainment. Journal of Language, Identity & Education, 9(1), 17-35. doi:

Rassaei, E. (2017). Video chat vs. face-to-face recasts, learners’ interpretations and L2 development: a case of Persian EFL learners. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 30(1-2), 133-148. doi:

Reinders, H., & Benson, P. (2017). Research agenda: Language learning beyond the classroom. Language Teaching, 50(4), 561-578. doi:10.1017/S0261444817000192

Reinders, H., & Wattana, S. (2014). Can I Say Something? The Effects of Digital Gameplay on Willingness to Communicate. Language Learning & Technology, 18(2), 101-123. Retrieved from

Richards, J. C. (2015). The Changing Face of Language Learning: Learning Beyond the Classroom. RELC Journal, 46(1), 1-18. doi:10.1177/0033688214561621

Saeidi, M., & Yusef, M. (2012). The Effect of Computer-Assisted Language Learning on Reading Comprehension in an Iranian EFL Context. In L. Bradley, & S. Thouësny (Ed.), CALL: Using, Learning, Knowing, EUROCALL Conference 22-25 August 2012, Proceedings (pp. 259-263). Gothenburg, Sweden:

Saran, M., Seferoglu, G., & Cagıltay, K. (2009). Mobile Assisted Language Learning: English Pronunciation at Learners' Fingertips. Egitim Arastirmalari-Eurasian Journal of Educational Research, 34, 97-114.

Stockwell, G. (2010). Using Mobile Phones for Vocabulary Activities: Examining the Effect of Platform. Language Learning & Technology, 14(2), 95-110. Retrieved from

Stockwell, G. (2013). Technology and motivation in English-language teaching and learning. In E. Ushioda, International perspectives on motivation: Language learning and professional challenges (pp. 156-175). Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Sun, Z., Lin, C.-H., You, J., Shen, H. j., Qi, S., & Luo, L. (2017). Improving the English-speaking skills of young learners through mobile social networking. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 30(3-4), 304-324. doi:10.1080/09588221.2017.1308384

Szyszka, M. (2015). Multimedia in Learning English as a Foreign Language as Preferred by German, Spanish, and Polish Teenagers. In L. Piasecka, M. Adams-Tukiendorf, & P. Wilk (Eds.), New Media and Perennial Problems in Foreign Language Learning and Teaching (pp. 3-20). Springer International Publishing Switzerland.

Thornton, P., & Houser, C. (2005). Using mobile phones in English education in Japan. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 21, 217-228. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2729.2005.00129.x

Verdugo, D. R., & Belmonte, I. A. (2007). Using Digital Stories to Improve Listening Comprehension with Spanish Young Learners of English. Language Learning & Technology, 11(1), 87-101. Retrieved from

Volman, M., Eck, E. v., Heemskerk, I., & Kuiper, E. (2005). New technologies, new differences. Gender and ethnic differences in pupils' use of ICT in primary and secondary education. Computers & Education, 45(1), 35-55. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2004.03.001

Wajcman, J. (2010). Feminist theories of technology. Cambridge Journal of Economics, 34(1), 143-152. doi:

Wang, S., & Smith, S. (2013). Reading and Grammar Learning Through Mobile Phones. Language Learning & Technology, 17(3), 117-134. Retrieved from

Warschauer, M. (2005). Sociocultural Perspectives on CALL. In J. L. Egbert, & G. M. Petrie (Eds.), CALL Research Perspectives (pp. 41-51). Mahwah, New Jersey: Routledge.

White, C. (2008). Language Learning Strategies in Independent Language Learning: An Overview. In S. Hurd, & T. Lewis (Eds.), Language Learning Strategies in Independent Settings (pp. 3-24). Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Xodabande, I. (2017). The effectiveness of social media network telegram in teaching English language pronunciation to Iranian EFL learners. Cogent Education, 4(1), 1347081. doi:

Young, B. J. (2000). Young. Journal of Research on Computing in Education, 33(2), 204-216. doi:

Zaini, A., & Mazdayasna, G. (2015). The impact of computer-based instruction on the development of EFL learners' writing skills. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 31(6), 516-528. doi:10.1111/jcal.12100



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2013-2023 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD.

International Journal of Education and Literacy Studies  

You may require to add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list’ If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox'. Otherwise, you may check your 'Spam mail' or 'junk mail' folders.