Multimedia technologies in EFL education: new learning strategies in academic listening

Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №9 - 2017

Zhubanova Sholpan, Kazakh Ablai khan University of International Relations and World Languages, Kazakhstan
Tukhtabayeva Assel, Kazakh Ablai khan University of International Relations and World Languages, Kazakhstan

Kazakh Ablai khan University of International Relations and World Languages, Kazakhstan

In the present time the level of the country economic development mostly depends on the intensity of innovative activity: in global competition only those countries that provide the most favorable conditions for innovations can score gains. Consequently, the development of innovative economy is one of the most effective ways to improve the competitiveness of the country. From the foreign countries’ experience and on their examples it is possible to make a conclusion that the national innovation system will be effective and will bring high incomes only if the country’s society has a high level of culture of innovations perception. The innovations reflected in the new scientific knowledge, products, technologies, services, stuff qualification and methods of management are the key factor of competitiveness in all economically developed countries.

For realization of the following tasks in the educational system, the best solution is multimedia technology, which provides unique opportunities for the use of innovative methodology in foreign language education.

Now multimedia technologies called "new media," "hypermedia," "integrated media," or more commonly "multimedia" have been defined in a number of ways (Ekinci D., etc.). "Multimedia", in its broadest sense, means graphics, music, sound effects, voice, video, and animation, in any combination, in the same program or presentation (Blumenfeld, 1991. Fensham, 1990; It can be defined as an integration of multiple media elements (audio, video, graphics, text, animation, etc.) into one synergetic and symbiotic whole that results in more benefits for the end user than any one of the media elements can provide individually.

For educational technology purposes, multimedia refers to computer-based systems that use associative linkages to allow users to navigate and retrieve information stored in a combination of text, sounds, graphics, video, movies, music, lighting and other media as for education (Meyer, 2001; www. wps.; Sandholtz, 1997; Vanbuel, 2006).

Multimedia's basic technologies include text, maps, graphic images, electronic presentations, animation, videoconferencing, digital audio and video, web learning environment, videoconferencing systems (Lieshout and etc, 2001; Phillips, 1997; Behrens, 1996, 1997; Bijnens 2004, 2005; Cleveland, 1998).

Since several years ago, education experts had been proposing a new style of education involving using multimedia, which differs radically from the traditional ways. Changing the education systems as a new ways is towards a new paradigm for teach (Rosenberg, 2001). Today, multimedia technology mainly comprise of the use of technology in the process of teaching and learning. The term “technology” does not only include the use of latest tools and techniques like laptops, interactive whiteboards and smart phones; Internet, Wi-Fi, YouTube and Skype etc., although they are massively preferred by today's learners for their learning potential, but also encompasses efficient and enhanced learning management systems, schema of information dissemination, effective teaching and management of student masses, feedback mechanisms and performance evaluation methodologies etc.

Multimedia technologies have a lot of advantages such as widely available, reusable multimedia and decrease pressure on lecturer, better individual student engagement, globality (Repman, 1993; West, 2006). In fact, some students may be better able to learn from multimedia than from any other format. The possibilities of this medium for students with aural or visual learning style preferences are unprecedented. Reynolds and Anderson (1992) describe the relevance of multimedia to three objectives of learning:

- Cognitive objectives. Used to teach recognition or discrimination of applicable visual stimuli and audio stimuli.

- Psychomotor objectives. An excellent tool to recreate real world conditions.

- Affective objectives. Interactive multimedia is very useful in the affective domain. The strength of detailed portrayal of situations and interactive participation of the learner increases its usefulness for effective domain objectives.

Academic listening (video / audio / film) in EFL education is impossible to imagine without the use of multimedia technologies. Listening in the classroom comprises interviews, talk shows, videoconferencing, lectures and films. It conveys information through two sensory channels: aural and visual. The richness of these forms of information [images, motion, sound, and, at times, text] benefits learners, by enabling them “…to learn through both verbal and visual means, to view actual objects and realistic scenes, to see sequences in motion, and to view perspectives that are difficult or impossible to observe in real life” (Wetzel, 1994). In addition, Marshall (2002) details three theories that explain how learning may occur via well-selected video/audio “based on the ability of the entertaining media to engage the learner, activate emotional states, initiate interest in a topic, and allow for absorption and processing of information”.

For students, learning English as a second language, video / film / TV/ audio demonstrates communicative language within a language environment and cultural context (Wood, cited in Aiex, 1999). Video, especially film, provides a social context for English language learners; it can be played either with the sound on, so that students hear the language being spoken, or alternatively, with the sound off, so that learners can use their own language skills to provide the dialogue or narrative.

Effectively integrating video into classroom instruction involves preparation and activities before, during and after viewing. Selecting effective video/audio is an essential component of integrating this medium into practice and realizing the promise of multimedia in the classroom.

Analyzing the researcher’s works on video / film / audio usage in educational process, we suggest an innovative technology of Academic Listening based on requirements of the modern foreign language education, considering basic principles on using an effective listening and outcomes received from aural and audio-visual reception.

Instructional planning of academic listening considers the following principles:

- Interactivity principle;

- Language progression principle;

- Authenticity;

- Teaching listening strategies (predicting, inferring, monitoring, clarifying, responding, and evaluating);

- The use of different types of listening;

- Variety of tasks.

Within these principles, students should develop the skills of listening for gist: specific information; detailed understanding; implications; etc. Educational video / film/ audio can be taken from one of the most exciting new paths- Video-on-Demand (VOD) systems that make videos available to classroom teachers, which can be stored on a computer server, where they can be assessed at any time by teachers or students.

In fact, the ability of VOD systems to assist teachers in locating and presenting short targeted clips of no more than two to five minutes in length dovetails exactly with expert recommendations for video usage: “Most educational experts agree that video is best shown in short segments so as to maximize learners’ concentration” (Shephard, 2003).

It is clear that this new technology opens many new opportunities for learning that are just beginning to be explored. As the documented strengths of film, television and video are made more and more available and accessible through Video-on-Demand systems, the potential for learning and exploration opens up before us.

At recent times, the most used linkages and software tools for downloading movies; creating animated videos; creating a video-based discussions; tools that allows users to record their speaking on a given topic; creating a high quality and professional video; creating a video with clips or photos; recording and editing a 9 minute screen cast videos; creating fun movies; hosting a video chat with people; setting up collaborative audio discussions; web walls where students can post videos, images, audio, or text notes; watching TV, video, or a film with subtitles; listening to media (radio, TV, recordings, cinema) - ORORO, fmovies,, www., Powtoons, Animoto, Magisto, Popcorn Maker, GoAnimate and etc. [See Table 1]. As for teaching listening to public announcements; listening as a member of a live audience (public meetings; public lectures) and listening to overhead conversations- TED talks is an effective form of media that has selected videos of different talks on various topics (historical, political, economic contexts etc.) and concludes one of the most significant factors in the success of language progression. The language user as a listener receives and process a spoken input proceeded by one or more speakers.

Table 1

Listening is a language skill that can be acquired with the help of training as well as any other skills. Students get vital information not only about grammar and vocabulary but also about pronunciation, rhythm, intonation, pitch and stress. Moreover, listening to spoken language lets students hear different varieties and accents of it.

According to Common European Framework of Reference for languages (CEFR) the following certain requirements for listening materials must be corresponded: it should be authentic or at least realistic for beginners; depending on the level of learners the length of the text and the topic of it should be well-selected, as long tapes on subjects which students are not interested in will be demotivating and will result in lost comprehension making listening value less. J. Harmer considers, listening can be effective when it follows a number of principles: use of pre-listening tasks: listening to every text twice; making students be encouraged to respond to the content of a listening, not just to the language; applying different listening tasks for different listening stages; exploiting listening texts to the full.

The logical framework of our Academic Listening comprises various tasks designed in the combination within reading, writing and speaking skills i.e. listening tasks derived on reproduction writing or essay writing; retelling (monologue) or discussion (dialogue); FCE/PET tests or derivatives/event details [See Table 2].

Table 2

It guarantees the students’ better perception of information and formation of intercultural communicative competence. Moreover, we applied listening tasks in correspondence within listening stages and activities before, during and after viewing/ watching/ listening [See Table 3].

Table 3

The most important factor that should be emphasized is the significance of listening outcomes (CEFR) depending on the level of learners. We have taken only two levels B1, B2 as we teach LAP for the 1-2 year students [See Table 4].

Table 4

Combination of four skills in one logical framework on the formation of listening skills guarantees the students’ better perception of information and formation of intercultural communicative and professional competences in the easiest way.

Our interactive e-course handout on Academic Listening combining communicative skills such as writing, reading, speaking (Table 2) is presented in Moodle at KazUIR&WL. Moodle is a Learning Management System (LMS), Course Management System (CMS), or Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), which has a goal to give teachers and students the tools they need to teach and learn.

Instructional techniques being used creatively to develop an engaging and motivating learning experience. It is a full-length semester interactive course handout for students of non-linguistic specialties by the level B1 (II-HC), B2 (III-HC) [See Table 5].

Table 5

The interactive e-course handout aim to develop a comprehensive range of competencies in a systematic and coherent way.

1. Intercultural communicative competence (Kunanbayeva S.S., 2010):

- complicated personal formation, including knowledge of native and other cultures;

- skills of practical application of the knowledge;

- a set of personality traits that contribute to the realization of their knowledge, skills;

- practical experience of their use in the interaction with representatives.

Intercultural communicative competence includes the following subcompetences:

Cognitive subcompetence provides the language development as an essential part of cognition process. The humans perceive the outer world through the cognition development. It gives the opportunity to step in the second world conceptualization.

Communicative subcompetence - the ability and willingness to implement the student communicative intentions

Socio-cultural subcompetence, forming a students’ "secondary cognitive consciousness" as a concept and image of the world and the formation of another lingua-society in its cognitive system "secondary structure - knowledge", correlated with knowledge about the world and language of “textual thematic units".

Lingua-cultural subcompetence, forming a students’ primary "conceptual picture of the world" on the basis of their culture as a reflection of the national language lingua-cultural consciousness and mentality.

2. Digital competence. According to the European Commission (2006) and the Adecco Institute (2008) technological and digital competences are among the major skills requirements for future ‘talents’. Digital competence implies a real understanding of many aspects of the digital workplace and classroom, including hardware, software and communication. It also includes the ability to find, select, judge and evaluate good quality online content.

3. Multilingual competence is the ability to communicate in one or more foreign or local languages and to understand and deal with the diversity of languages.

4. Social competence is the ability to identify social dilemmas and to achieve a level of social understanding.

5. Civic competence - to develop the knowledge and skills appropriate to enable effective study, work and leisure within this context. The new learning generation needs to be equipped with the skills to “fully participate in civic life, based on knowledge of social and political concepts and structures and a commitment to active and democratic participation”.

Interactive e-course handout is an effective interactive educational technology for all students, but its positive effect on special populations of students is gaining greater attention all the time. Interactive e-course handout may help to promote learning in students with high aural / visual orientation in their learning styles; it can also provide important learning opportunities to students working in a second language.

There are numerous advantages for such students when instruction is supplemented by the use of interactive e-course handout:

First, [video-based contexts] provide rich sources of information with opportunities to notice sensory images, dynamic features, relevant issues, and inherent problems. Second, they give students the ability to perceive dynamic moving events and to more easily form rich mental models. This advantage is particularly important for lower achieving students and for students with low knowledge in the domain of interest. Third, interactive e-course handout allows students to develop skills of pattern recognition which are related to visual and auditory cues rather than to events labeled by the teacher. In sum, interactive e-course handout is ideal for creating a common experience for the teacher and learner that can be used for ‘anchoring’ new knowledge.

It is clear that new technologies and innovative way of teaching opens many new opportunities for learning that are just beginning to be explored.


1. Rosenberg, M.J. (2001), E-Learning: Strategies for Delivering Knowledge in the Digital Age, McGraw-Hill, New York, NY

2. A Common European Framework of Reference for Languages Learning, Teaching, Assessment. - Strasbourg, 1986.

3. Aiex, N.K. (1999). Mass media use in the classroom. ERIC Digest D147. Bloomington, IN: ERIC Clearinghouse on Reading and Communication Skills.

4. Marshall, J.M. (2002). Learning with technology: Evidence that technology can, and does, support learning. White paper prepared for Cable in the Classroom.

5. Meyer, R.E. (2001). Multimedia learning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

6. Rockman et al. (1996). Evaluation of Bill Nye the Science Guy television series and outreach: Executive summary. San Francisco, CA: Author.

7. Shephard, K. (2003). Questioning, promoting and evaluating the use of streaming video to support student learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 34(3), pp. 295-308.

8. Kunanbayeva S.S. (2010) Theory and practice of foreign language education. Almaty. – 344 p.

Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №9 - 2017

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