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Learners' Perceptions of Online Extensive English Reading: A Case Study on EFL Adolescents in Taiwan
online extensive reading
EFL learner autonomy
This study aims to investigate if the online extensive reading program is beneficial for promoting EFL adolescents’ perceptions of their autonomy. A further exploration of what factors may contribute to fostering the perceptions of their autonomy and what features of the online reading platform may attract them to keep reading is also conducted. 180 eighth graders recruited from six intact classes in a junior high school in northern Taiwan were the participants in this study. Three of these classes were assigned to the experimental group, participating in the eight-week online extensive reading program, and the others were the control group, without receiving any treatment. Every week, the experimental group spent a class period reading and was encouraged to read as many e-books as possible on the online reading platform after school. To gather the quantitative and qualitative data, instruments including the autonomy scale, students’ weekly reading logs, the post-reading questionnaire and a semi-structured interview were utilized in this study. The results of the autonomy scale indicated that the experimental group significantly outperformed the control group on their autonomous learning on the post-test, suggesting that the online extensive reading program may be helpful in reinforcing EFL adolescents’ perceptions of their autonomy; furthermore, some possible factors that may benefit the participants of the experimental group by fostering the perceptions of their autonomy were identified, including their self-selection, collaboration and positive attitude towards reading as well. The results also manifested that the popular features of the online reading platform -- the reward system, vivid animation, appealing content, listening input, diversity of topics and graded content -- may attract the students to keep reading e-books, showing that the learners’ motivation and willingness may play an essential role in English reading. However, instructors should be cautious while utilizing the reward system on the online reading platform since it may blur the learners’ focus in reading.
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