THE IMPACT OF COMPUTER ASSISTED LANGUAGE LEARNING (CALL) ON FOREIGN LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY OF UNIVERSITY STUDENTS IN RUSSIA
The need for the study has been caused by the ever-increasing requirements set by the federal and regional educational authorities for the level of foreign language proficiency the university students need to demonstrate at the end of their studies. Various programs are growing in response to demand to develop longer sequences of foreign language training that will enable students to graduate from universities with an acceptable level of proficiency. Consistent with recognized current approaches to education, Russia views foreign language proficiency as comprising a broad set of competences, including: the ability to read and write, to speak and understand a foreign language and to function in a historically and culturally-appropriate and professionally-mediated way with the native speakers, etc.
Today universities cannot afford to look solely to conventional solutions to overcome the shortage of resources or qualified teachers to realize their goals. The foreign language professionals must look to technology as one possible avenue for meeting the requirements set forth in the educational standards. Computer assisted language learning (CALL) may not be the most appropriate response to every problem; however, it could be considered as an option.
The purpose of this paper is to analyze whether CALL may support different learning needs and styles of a new cohort of university students (known as Generation Z), enrich university curriculum with alternative CALL-based models for better learning outcomes, provide educational opportunities to everyone enrolled in academic programs, enable learners and teachers to create learning spaces to fulfil the claims and achieve the level of proficiency specified as compulsory for university graduates.
The methodological framework of the study rests on the comparative approach allowing accumulating best teaching strategies and practices of using CALL by top universities. A comprehensive analysis and synthesis of technical, pedagogical and managerial issues of CALL has also been provided. Based on the empirical approach, testing, evaluation and control of usability, accessibility, availability and safety of some CALL-based tools and resources have been performed. An experimental study has brought certain relevant data concerning attitudes and learning outcomes of students in a traditional versus CALL-based learning environment, advantages and disadvantages of CALL, etc.
The main result of the study is the design of a CALL-based model that enhances the quality of foreign language education and increases chances of achieving the desired level of language proficiency among the university students.