Investigating the impact of the Amazon Alexa on the development of L2 listening and speaking skills

Hsiao Ling Hsu, Howard Hao Jan Chen*, Andrew G. Todd

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

With advances in technology, intelligent personal assistants (IPAs) have become available to assist users with a variety of tasks using voice commands. Because IPAs may induce dialogic interactions, researchers speculated that they may benefit second language learning, especially regarding pronunciation, listening and speaking skills. So far, very few experimental studies have examined the effects of IPAs. The present study examined the effects of one popular IPA, the Amazon Echo Show, on L2 learners’ listening and speaking skills as well as the learners’ perceptions of the IPA. Two classes were recruited and randomly assigned as a control and an experimental group. While the control group continued with their regular lessons, the experimental group received seven Alexa sessions (each of around 50 minutes). Both groups took mock TOEIC listening and speaking tests before and after the experiment and the experimental group completed a survey exploring their perceptions of working with the IPA. A significant difference was found regarding speaking, suggesting that learners can improve their speaking skills through interacting with an IPA. The learners reported that IPAs offered more oral interactions and also reduced their speaking anxieties. These positive findings suggest that researchers should further explore the potential of IPAs.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInteractive Learning Environments
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Intelligent personal assistants (IPAs)
  • interactions
  • learners’ perceptions
  • listening skills
  • speaking skills

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications

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