Evaluating the effects of a ‘student buddy’ initiative on student engagement and motivation

Motzo, Anna (2016). Evaluating the effects of a ‘student buddy’ initiative on student engagement and motivation. In: Goria, Cecilia; Speicher, Oranna and Stollhans, Sascha eds. Innovative language teaching and learning at university: enhancing participation and collaboration. Dublin, Ireland, Voillans, France: Research-publishing.net, pp. 19–28.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.14705/rpnet.2016.9781908416322

URL: http://research-publishing.net/display_article.php...

Abstract

Motivation is one of the most important factors which influences second language learning (Dörnyei, 1998; Gardner & Lambert, 1972). A support mechanism which reinforces student motivation through encouragement, social interaction, feedback, sound learning environments and good teaching is crucial for ensuring successful learning. This is particularly relevant in distance or online language learning settings, as learners work more autonomously and independently than in conventional classrooms and there is a higher risk of feeling isolated and not part of a well-defined and supportive learning community. This paper presents initial research conducted by the Department of Languages at the Open University to evaluate the efficacy of a peer-support initiative on level 1 modules where the drop-out rate is significant. The study is supported by both qualitative and quantitative evidence, which evaluates student engagement on the forum, the support mechanisms offered by elected peers and their role in building an online community.

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