Research of On-Line Help as Learner
Strategies for Multimedia
National Tsing Hua University
Recently, language learning researchers have seemed to focus more on
process than product because process data are claimed to provide better
information for understanding language acquisition. Since research on
learners’ use of strategies is believed to shed light on learning processes, it
is attracting more and more researchers’ attention. On the other hand,
computer assisted language learning (CALL) researchers and courseware
developers have been much concerned with evaluation partly because of
the high cost of CALL, especially multimedia CALL, development. Empirical
data of learner strategies in CALL contexts are needed to disclose
what learners actually do when they use courseware and, perhaps more
important, what kind of learning actually occurs in CALL mediated contexts.
This paper first provides a short survey of learner strategy research,
strategy instruction, and the use of on-line help in multimedia materials. 1
Then, a study which was conducted as part of a formative evaluation study
on an interactive videodisc (IVD) program is discussed. The study investigated
(a) learners’ use of resource facilities (e.g., their use of scripts,
glossaries, and background information) in the IVD program and (b) their
reactions to the use of the resource facilities.
Learning strategies, multimedia, think aloud protocols, strategy instruction,
on-line help, computer log data
Recently, those who study language learning seem to focus more on
language process than language product because process data are claimed
Volume 14 Numbers 2-4 81
Research of On-Line Help
to be able to provide better information for understanding language learning
than product data. Research on learners and their use of strategies are
attracting more and more researchers’ attention because the strategy perspective
is believed to be able to shed light on learning process (see, for
example, O’Malley and Chamot 1990 and Oxford 1990). On the other
hand, CALL researchers and courseware developers have been very much
concerned with the evaluation of CALL materials. In most cases, the cost
of CALL is substantially greater than that of human teachers, especially
for multimedia CALL which has become very popular nowadays. Although
several empirical studies have addressed the issues of learning strategies
in CALL contexts, data are still sorely needed to disclose how learners
actually use courseware. Perhaps more important, such data are very much
needed to uncover what kind of learning occurs in CALL mediated contexts.
For example, do learners actually do what programs ask them to
do? Do learners know how to use appropriate strategies in multimedia
On-line help has long been a central feature in instructional media, especially
in multimedia programs because it provides immediate assistance
to learners during program use. On-line help can also provide evidence of
learners’ use of resourcing strategies, that is, the ways in which learners
use the on-line resources available to them during program use. How do
different learners use, and perceive the design of, various kinds of on-line
help facilities so typical in multimedia materials?
All the questions above can be approached by investigating learners’
use of strategies. In this paper, a short survey of learning strategies and
strategy training research in CALL contexts is presented. Then there follows
a discussion of a study which was conducted as part of the formative
evaluation of an IVD program to show how strategy research can help in
multimedia CALL evaluation.
CALL STRATEGY RESEARCH
Early research on learning strategies was focused on the documentation
of learners’ use of strategies and the identification of the strategies used at
different proficiency levels. Those who use effective strategies to cope
with language learning problems are called “good” or “effective” learners;
those who use ineffective strategies are called “poor” or “ineffective” learners.
Based on the findings of strategy research, good learners are believed
to be able to (a) ask questions, (b) make inferences, (c) use deduction, (d)
seek clarification, verification, and negotiation of meaning, (e) see the
target language as a system amenable to understanding through analysis
and reasoning, (f) use memory efficiently, (g) practice and self-evaluate in
order to achieve accuracy and fluency, (h) organize their learning efforts
82 CALICO Journal
around preferred learning techniques, (i) choose, prioritize, and plan their
learning, (j) have a tolerant affective and empathic attitude toward native
speakers, (k) be active participants in the learning process (see O’Malley
and Chamot 1990; Oxford 1990; and Rees-Miller 1993).
Strategy research has had an impact on CALL as well. Several scholars
have examined what learners do when they use courseware and how they
interact with learning material in computer courseware (see Jamieson and
Chapelle 1987; Chapelle and Mizuno; Hsu, Chapelle and Thompson 1993;
Liou 1994a; Park 1994; Mikulecky, Clark and Adams 1989; and Chou
1992). To document the learner strategies used in a CALL context, Jamieson
and Chapelle (1987) investigated English as a Second Language (ESL)
learner behavior in using spelling and dictation material in PLATO IV by
operationalizing on-line behavior to reveal strategies of monitor input,
advance preparation, and monitor output. For example, advance preparation
strategies were inferred from the amount of time that elapsed between
the end of input and the time that students pressed the first key to
begin answering a given question. Jamieson and Chapelle found that all
strategies were used more often in more complex dictation tasks than in
simpler spelling tasks. They also collected data on two cognitive learning
styles, reflection/impulsivity and field independence/dependence. The field
independent subjects were found to use more advance preparation and
output monitoring strategies. Advance preparation was also related to
impulsivity/reflection. The researchers further incorporated cognitive learning
styles into strategy research which disclosed an important individual
In another study, Chapelle and Mizuno (1989) investigated ESL students’
use of strategies in learner-controlled grammar courseware. They
investigated two cognitive strategies (resourcing and practice) and three
metacognitive strategies (self-monitoring, self-management, and self-evaluation).
Strategy use was operationalized in a manner similar to that of
Jamieson and Chapelle. Results indicated that some students did in fact
use various on-line strategies but not always the optimal strategies. No
significant differences were found between groups of learners at different
proficiency levels. Chapelle and Mizuno suggested that the type of data
collected in the study was essential for understanding second language
acquisition and for developing intelligent courseware sensitive to students’
needs. Using the same grammar material, Hsu, Chapelle, and Thompson
(1993) analyzed learner’s use of exploring, experimenting, and hypothesis-testing
strategies. Their results indicated that learners explored CALL
environments in routine ways but failed to explore the morphosyntactic
possibilities included in the grammar courseware. As for learner group
differences, routine exploration was positively correlated with attitudes of
intermediate learners but negatively correlated with those of advanced
learners. In these studies, both of which covered traditional grammar
Volume 14 Numbers 2-4 83
Research of On-Line Help
courseware, optimal strategies clearly converged, and learners’ attitudes
were incorporated into the researchers’ agendas.
Using a hypertext reading program, Liou (1994a) investigated reading
strategies (including dictionary use strategies) employed by three groups
of EFL learners at different proficiency levels. The subjects were asked to
read a hypertext article glossed by the Longman bilingual English-Chinese
dictionary. A re-reading local text strategy was found to differentiate the
three groups of learners, but pre-reading, globally re-reading, and reading
aloud strategies did not. Interestingly, two ineffective word consultation
strategies were documented: disregarding key words in text and choosing
incorrect word senses among the multiple dictionary entries. Good learners
were found to skip over some key words and not to look them up in
the dictionary. In an ongoing study using ELLIS, Park (1994) has inquired
into which metacognitive strategies learners use and to what extent they
use them to acquire in-depth and independent learning practices in interactive
CALL STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION RESEARCH
As more and more research findings uncover the ways in which different
language learners use strategies, some scholars assert that general learning
gains may be achieved by transferring effective learner strategies (those
used by good learners) to weak learners. This notion has also been applied
in CALL contexts. In a study on learning strategies used by college students
in their native language, Mikulecky, Clark, and Adams (1989) found
that the reading strategy training designed into their computer program
was effective and that these strategies were transferable to new material.
In an EFL context, Chou (1992) investigated the effects of four kinds of
on-line help in a hypertext reading program: text only (no help), text with
on-line vocabulary help, text with on-line sentence structural analysis, and
text with strategy help (skimming, organizing, following guidelines to paragraphs,
and using supplementary information). He then randomly divided
39 high school students into four groups, each of which used one of the
four versions of the reading program. Chou found that the different types
of help did not make a difference in reading comprehension scores among
the groups of subjects, but his questionnaire data showed that subjects
used the vocabulary help the most frequently and thought that it was the
Meskill (1991) implemented strategy training in a multimedia CALL
conversation lesson. Thirty-four ESL college students were asked to use
an interactive videodisc lesson with six types of messages advising strategy
use: rehearse, monitor, repeat, plan, associate, and use resources. A
second version of the same lesson did not include any strategy advice.
84 CALICO Journal
Subjects were randomly assigned to groups and used one of the versions
of the lesson. On-line collection devices and off-line interview methods
were used to collect process data. Results showed that most of the subjects
read the advice messages and followed them. However, no significant
differences were found between the advice and the non-advice groups
for learning gains, time on task, or the amount of material accessed. This
study again confirms that learners vary in the appropriate use of individual
strategies: good learners (with higher language proficiency) know
what to do, but weak learners need direct guidance.
From the literature review above, we can see that the use of strategies
by good and poor learners were a research focus because effective strategies
are believed to be transferable to weak learners. Second, resourcing
strategies in CALL contexts proved to be important because on-line help
offers an inherent advantage in CALL programs. In addition, strategy training
in IVD material seems feasible, as Meskill (1991) has demonstrated.
Multimedia language materials have become very popular, but research is
sorely needed to show their effectiveness. Specifically, the effect of on-line
help on learners, such as that revealed by research in traditional CALL
courseware, requires further research.
RESEARCH ON USE OF ON-LINE HELP IN CALL MATERIALS
On-line help plays a role of fundamental importance in the design of
electronic instructional media because it provides immediate assistance to
learners during the learning process. It can also provide evidence of learners’
use of resourcing strategies. According to Chapelle and Mizuno (1989,
28-29), resourcing strategies are “Students’ requests for help are evidence
of their use of resourcing, use of target language reference materials.”
Oxford (1990, 81) defined resourcing strategies as “[u]sing resources for
receiving and sending messages. This strategy involves using resources to
find out the meaning of what is heard or read in the new language, or to
produce messages in the new language.” Although several studies have
presented some initial data (see the review of Chou  above, the
meager empirical evidence currently available means that the questions of
whether on-line help is useful, how often learners tend to use it, and what
kind of help is crucial for particular types of tasks still remain unclear.
On a French writing task, Bland et al. (1990) analyzed subjects’ requests
for on-line glossary help and documented the types of help received
by the subjects as evidence of learners’ language development. They identified
three types of help requests: (a) token matching for complex morphological,
phrase, and grammatical queries, (b) type matching for base
form and grammatical relationship searches, and (c) relexicalization [using
first language or the second language paths) for syntactic or semantic
Volume 14 Numbers 2-4 85
Research of On-Line Help
circumlocution. Gildea, Miller, and Wurtenberg (1990) launched a series
of experiments to investigate how contextual enrichment in IVD material
helped native language vocabulary learning in preschool children. Their
findings indicated that (a) children knew when to initiate look-up but not
what information to ask for, (b) the kinds of helpful contexts for learning
were not additive, (c) children who sought help in the form of illustrative
sentences outperformed all others on multiple-choice tests, (d) definitions
added very little and actually detracted from performance over time, and
(e) pictures significantly improved sentence production for many words.
Liou (1994a) showed that learners used glossary help to assist reading
comprehension but did not seem to use optimal look-up strategies.
The dual mode of presenting video and audio delivery in IVD programs
creates an authentic context for target language input. Further, Secules et
al (1992) suggested that teacher-mediated instruction with video can promote
better listening comprehension than traditional classroom exercises
and drills. Among interactive video materials, the most frequently available
kind of help is text (or closed captions) which accompanies the video.
The following two studies address the role played by subtitles in non-
CALL video presentation. Danan (1992) found that textual reinforcement
has its place in video instruction; reverse subtitling (L1 subtitles with L2
audio) was the most helpful for recall of vocabulary, and bimodal input
(L2 subtitles and L2 audio) also proved to be beneficial. Vanderplank
(1988) analyzed students’ reactions to standard subtitles and found that
they reduced anxiety in class and released otherwise occupied cognitive
capacity for language processing. Comparing the effect of subtitles on learners
of different proficiency levels, Vanderplank also found that subtitles
were less useful for low-level learners than for intermediate learners. Hsu
(1994) showed that text reinforcement type modifications in the ELLIS
CD-ROM English listening material were most effective for learner improvement
in comprehension, oral repetition help being the second most
effective. Dictionary help was found to be ineffective because the subjects
were at a very beginning level and could not make good use of this kind of
complex on-line help. Li (1994) investigated whether active or passive
on-line help was beneficial and found that learners of French needed active
guidance in using CALL material.
Although these studies provide initial understanding of how learners
use CALL materials, more data are required to determine how students
use new generation multimedia courseware and what kinds of courseware
features are conducive to language learning. Towards this end, capturing
what learners do with help features by means of computer logs is a very
useful way to collect learner data, data which can also yield valuable evidence
for multimedia evaluation.
86 CALICO Journal
The following study examines learners’ use of strategies in IVD material
designed to strengthen listening comprehension skills. The IVD courseware
was developed and evaluated in a research project undertaken by the author
(see Liou 1994b). The study represents one of a series of empirical
studies with an emphasis on learners’ use of on-line help. The data that
show what learners actually did with on-line resources will be compared
to how useful they perceived the courseware to be.
Twenty EFL college students at the National Tsing Hua University in
Taiwan, ROC, participated in the project. Before the students were admitted
to the university, they had completed six years of required English
language instruction in high school. The primary criterion for subject recruitment
in the project was students’ listening proficiency, which was
based on scores of the listening section of a version of the TOEFL, direct
observation of the students’ abilities, and records from instructors of various
courses. Ten first-year “ineffective” learners and ten second-year “effective”
learners were selected for the project.
The material used in the project was a self-paced interactive video unit.
Two functions to control the videodisc player (pause and rewind) and
eight types of on-line help (a Chinese script, an English script, gist, background
information, idiom search, word search, repetition of the current
sentence, and repetition of the previous sentence) had been designed into
the program. The gist help screen provided a summary of the video content,
the background information help screen provided information necessary
to understand the video, and the idiom and word search functions
provided automatic look-up facilities for unknown words or expressions.
Of the eight types of help, the first six were textual, and the last two were
audio. The design of the courseware reflected the negotiated interaction
model proposed by Long (1980 and 1985) and Doughty (1991). This
model postulates that language acquisition can occur through comprehensible
input which is facilitated by negotiated interaction between interlocutors.
As a delivery system, IVD programs can create an environment
in which negotiated interaction can be achieved by means of communication
between the computer and the learner.
To assess listening comprehension and to elicit introspective self-report
data while learners used the program, 54 comprehension questions were
displayed at appropriate points during the playing of the video. Subjects
were asked to think aloud in Chinese and answer questions such as “What
are you thinking?” “What don’t you understand?” “How did you know the
answer?” (see Cohen and Hosenfeld 1981). The think aloud protocols
were recorded and then transcribed.
The program’s tracker records students’ names and ID numbers, their
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Research of On-Line Help
start time, and their use of the program such as frequency of access to
specific on-line help devices. The tracker also records the starting frame
number and ending number of videodisc segments, which permits the identification
of the portion of the video viewed by students when they seek
textual help. These data can be used to infer strategies of request for clarification
or confirmation as described in the negotiated interaction model.
After the students finished the program, they were asked to complete a
questionnaire to elicit their attitudes towards the material.
The research questions addressed in this study include
1. Do subjects use the video controller functions and on-line help? If
so, what kinds of functions and help do they use?
2. How frequently do subjects use particular functions or help?
3. How much time do subjects spend in completing tasks (e.g., understanding
the video, thinking aloud, and answering comprehension
4. How do subjects at different proficiency levels vary in their use of
specific help devices, their frequency of use, and time on task?
5. How do subjects at different proficiency levels use strategies to cope
with video comprehension tasks?
6. What are the subjects’ attitudes towards the design of the courseware?
The data used to investigate these questions were computer files logged
by the program, recorded think aloud protocols, and written questionnaire
data. The standard record in the computer file contains 13 fields for
each subject (see fig. 1).
ID NUMBER = 821201
NAME = Sherry
DATE = Thu Dec 02 1993
END_FRAME = 21688
PAUSE = 6789 12099
BACKWARD = (6824-6700)(11866-11798)(19339-18876)
CHINESE = (7890--ON)(12980--OFF)
ENGLISH = (5498--ON)(6588--OFF)(12390--ON)
GIST = 19058 19558
BACK_INFO = 19058
REPEAT = 19058 19058 19588 19588
P_SENT = 19058 19588
WORDS = (19058--ectoplasmic)
Fig. 1. Standard Record in the Computer file
88 CALICO Journal
The video frame numbers were later recoded as logical units corresponding
to the comprehension questions, that is, a total of 54 logical units.
Since the subject described in fig. 1 finished at frame number 21,688, we
could check the recoded data and determine that the student quit after
she finished question number 28. In addition, the student paused twice
(at frame numbers 6,789 and 12,099), rewound the video three times
(from frame number 6,824 to 6,700; from 11,866 to 11,799; and from
19,339 to 18,876). At frame number 7,890, she asked for the Chinese
script help and then turned this help device off at frame 12,980. She also
asked for English help at different points and left that help device on from
frame number 12,390 to the end of the video segment. She requested gist
help twice (at 19,058 and 19,588). She was apparently stuck by the word
“ectoplasmic” as indicated by the checked word, two repetitions of the
sentence, and a single repetition of the previous utterance. Finally, she
used the two kinds of repetition help, Repeat and P_sent, at frame number
19,588. Word and Idiom searches were saved in the WORDS field.
Descriptive statistical methods were used to analyze the amount of time
that subjects spent on task, the kinds of help they requested, and their
listening comprehension scores. Independent T-test and correlation procedures
were used to compare frequency of strategy use between the two
groups of subjects. For unknown reasons, the records of one of the effective
learners’ on-line records of performance were incomplete, and some
data for this student were not included in the analysis. The members of
the “effective” group completed a total of 397 comprehension questions,
whereas the members of the “ineffective” group completed a total of 294
questions. The types and frequency of help requested by the students are
summarized in table 1.
Table 1. Sums and Means Help Frequency (percentage) and Types of Help
Help type Effective Group Ineffective Group
Pause 2 2
Replay 51 103
Chinese script 41 40
English script 54 96
Gist 10 7
Background knowledge 5 3
Repetition 8 13
repetition/p-sent 9 12
word search 8 10
Sum 188 286
Mean .47 .98
Notes: sum = total frequency of help requested by that group; mean =
total frequency of help (sum divided by number of questions answered
within that group
Volume 14 Numbers 2-4 89
Research of On-Line Help
As it turns out, subjects searched for meanings of unknown words only
after they requested the English script help. This strategy makes sense
because if students did not know the meaning of an acoustic form, they
could rarely spell the word out. Overall, the “effective” learners requested
less than half the help that the “ineffective” learners requested (.47 versus
.98). The analysis also indicates that the members of the ineffective group
used one type of on-line help almost exclusively for each comprehension
question. Not surprisingly, the members of the effective group, being more
proficient learners, needed less help and requested much less on-line help.
The video controller rewind function, the English script help, and the
Chinese script help were used the most frequently. The standardized frequency
mean (the number of requests for help divided by total numbers
of questions answered by each subject) between the two groups were compared
using an independent T-test. The results of this analysis are shown
in table 2.
Table 2. Comparison of Types of Help Requests (N = 20)
Help type Mean help S.D. Degrees of t-value
requests per freedom
ineffective group 0.36 0.23 18 2.21*
effective group 0.15 0.21
ineffective group 0.14 0.23 18 0.16**
effective group 0.12 0.24
ineffective group 0.34 0.38 18 1.54**
effective group 0.13 0.22
*p ≤ .05
Only the difference in the means of the use of the rewind function between
the two subject groups was significant. This result suggests that use
of the strategy for requesting for video clarification and verification, but
not the strategy for requesting textual reinforcement, was significantly
different between the types of learners. These results corroborate Hsu’s
1994 study in which he examined beginning ESL adult learners’ use of a
CD-ROM program and found that replaying English speech was used the
most often, with textual reinforcement being the second most frequently
In Chapelle and Mizuno’s study, the data reported on time spent on task
and the number of sentences completed were considered formal practice
by learners in the grammar CALL lesson. However, since our IVD lesson
90 CALICO Journal
was not intended to strengthen formal skills, students’ use of the lesson’s
features may well be considered functional practice strategy, that is, finding
opportunities to use the language in communicative situations (see
A successful CALL lesson should engage students in a sufficient number
of transactions. The data in table 3 show the time subjects spent on
task and their listening comprehension scores. The comprehension scores
represent the percentage of correctly answered questions during the think
Table 3. Means of Time on Task and Listening Comprehension Scores
Group Comprehension score Time on Task
ineffective group (N = 10)
Mean 67.43 61.10
S.D. 13.82 11.14
effective group (N = 9)
Mean 74.03 52.10
S.D. 12.39 7.34
Both groups took about one hour to finish the assigned tasks. T-test procedures
showed no significant differences between the groups’ time on
task or comprehension scores.
To examine the extent to which frequency of use of the help devices
correlated with comprehension scores, correlation analyses were conducted.
The correlation analysis did not show significant differences in either group
(-.566 for the ineffective group and 0.137 for the effective group), which
means that the frequency of students’ use of the help devices did not have
an impact on their understanding of the video.
We also computed the average frequency for all on-line help (mean of
0.24, S.D. of 0.12). We then defined maximal strategy users as those whose
frequency of help use was at least one standard deviation above the mean,
and minimal strategy users as those whose frequency of help was at least
one standard deviation below the mean. To see how the maximal strategy
users performed differently from the minimal strategy users, an independent
t-test was conducted between the two groups. The results of this
analysis are shown in table 4.
Volume 14 Numbers 2-4 91
Research of On-Line Help
Table 4. Comparison of Comprehension Scores between Minimal and
Maximal Strategy Users
Group Mean comprehension S.D. t-value
Minimal strategy users 72.22 12.38 1.02*
(N = 6)
Maximal strategy users 61.35 21.68
(N = 4)
No significant difference was found between the maximal strategy users
and the minimal strategy users. It should be noted that the number of
subjects was too small to show significance in the statistical analysis. It is
also likely that the quantity of use of resourcing strategies did not account
for performance differences.
Qualitative analyses of the think aloud transcripts were helpful in identifying
and classifying strategies more clearly. The results of the comparison
between effective and ineffective learners are summarized in fig 2.
I. during the meaning getting process
1. attend to and understand larger linguistic units and understand
the meaning of utterances more correctly;
2. attend to more audio and visual clues at the same time;
3. use various strategies more flexibly (different kinds of strategies
4. use both personal experience and linguistic context to determine
the meaning of utterances;
5. understand the framework of the story;
II. during the meaning elaborating process
1. use organizational devices to synthesize new and old information;
2. think aloud systematically;
III. other strategies
1. use replay of video less frequently;
2. be more confident about the task.
Fig. 2. Summary of Effective Listening Strategies
These findings are similar to those reported by Bacon’s 1992 study on
American learners of Spanish as a foreign language. It is possible that
both Chinese and American foreign language learners at this level use
similar strategies to cope with listening problems, but more evidence is
required to support firm conclusions.
92 CALICO Journal
Results of the questionnaire data are shown in table 5.
Table 5. Summary of Questionnaire Data
Students’ Attitudes towards the Design of the Program
Question item Positive Neutral Negative
1 65% 34% 1%
2 70% 30% 0%
3 30% 55% 15%
4 25% 75% 0%
5 80% 20% 0%
6 70% 30% 0%
7 64% 32% 4%
Of the seven question items, the ones which did not receive positive responses
were numbers 3 and 4. Number 3 refers to the wording used in
gist and background information help screens, and number 4 refers to the
design of the feedback message. Students seemed to find the wording in
gist and background information difficult and therefore not especially useful.
Based on students’ responses to the questionnaire item, we plan to
revise these sections later. The only feedback message included in the lesson
was a response generated when the dictionary did not list a word
students needed. For the other items, most of the subjects replied quite
positively. Students’ responses to items 5 and 6 show that they felt the
courseware was effective and interesting. We used a correlation analysis
to compare students’ use of on-line help and their attitudes towards the
design of the program. The variables in this analysis were the responses to
the relevant questionnaire items (numbers 1, 2, and 5) and the mean frequency
of on-line help requests per question (the number of requests divided
by the number of comprehension questions answered by each subject).
No significant correlations were found; .012 for the ineffective group,
.098 for the effective group, and. 078 for all students combined. For the
subjects in this study, the use of on-line help had no relationship with their
attitudes toward the program.
The results of this study suggest that effective and ineffective learners
use similar types of help and frequency of help but different amounts of
help. As for time on task and comprehension of the video, effective and
ineffective learners do not vary greatly from each other. Qualitative analyses
show that effective and ineffective learners do in fact use learning
strategies differently. Finally, based on students’ responses to the questionnaire
items, they generally felt positive about the design of the
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Research of On-Line Help
Some implications can be drawn from this study. As an innovative instructional
delivery system, multimedia may be augmented with many features
from the courseware developer’s perspective, and we may speculate
as to what may be helpful. Yet, based on the findings in the study, some of
the help features are seldom used. We are curious whether learners really
use optimal learning strategies or whether CALL developers implement
more help than is needed. If the former is true, strategy instruction should
be implemented in the courseware; if the latter is true, developers may
wish to concentrate on other, more important design features.
Future research may refer to an intelligent help concept developed by
Sussex (1992), who suggested ways to develop students’ metacognitive
strategies. Liou (1995) examined this issue using another version of the
same multimedia-assisted language learning system but did not find a
measurable instructional effect. Clearly, more research is needed before
conclusive answers and optimal multimedia design features can be identified.
1 Earlier versions of the paper were presented at the TESOL Summer Meeting,
13-17 July 1994, at the University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, and at Japanese
Association for Language Teachers Conference, 7-10 October 1994, at Matsuyama.
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Hsien-Chin Liou, Professor of Foreign Languages and Literature at National
Tsing Hua University, Taiwan, R.O.C., has conducted research and
courseware development in multimedia materials design, CALL and writing
instruction, and intelligent CALL. She has published in the CALICO
Journal, System, and the CÆLL Journal.
Foreign Languages and Literature
National Tsing Hua University
101 Sec 2, Kuang Fu Road
Hsinchu, Taiwan 30043
Republic of China
Phone: 886-35-715131 ext. 4405
96 CALICO Journal