This study investigated the effectiveness of two methods of instruction, Teacher-Based
Instruction (TBI) versus Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL), in improving
undergraduate Arab learners' English reading ability in the three aspects of speed,
comprehension and vocabulary knowledge.
The Experimental Pre-test/Post-test Treatment Group Design was implemented in both experiments carried out in this study. Two samples of 100 and 150 students for
Experiments I & II, respectively, were randomly chosen from two higher education
institutions in the Arab world. Each sample was divided into two groups depending on
learners' pre-instruction preferences for TBI or CALL methods. After eight weeks of
instruction using one method, the students of the two groups exchanged instructional
methods for another period of eight weeks. In both cases the learners attended three 90-
minute reading lectures per week.
Quantitative and qualitative data analysis showed that CALL was significantly more
effective than TBI for improving the learners' reading ability in the three aspects
targeted. Results showed that CALL was more effective due to different reasons: learners
were more motivated to read and they enjoyed reading; CALL made learners' reading
progress visible to them through immediate feedback; it fostered learner autonomy and
their desire to be in control of the program and it offered the learners a large number of
different reading activities to work on. Learners' suggestions for improving CALL were
mainly related to increasing the time they can use CALL programs in learning to read.
Findings of the study should encourage higher education institutions especially in the
Arab world to take considerable steps towards utilising computers in instruction. Even at
school level this utilisation should be considered, but further research should be carried
out with learners at different age levels and in different regions in the Arab world.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.