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Website analysis in an EFL context: content comprehension, perceptions on web usability and awareness of reading strategies

  • Debopriyo Roy (a1) and Stephen Crabbe (a2)

Website analysis is an interdisciplinary field of inquiry that focuses on both digital literacy and language competence (Brugger, 2009). Website analysis in an EFL learning context has the potential to facilitate logical thinking and in the process develop functional language proficiency. This study reported on an English language website ( analysis experiment carried out for three weeks as an in-class and homework activity in a third year (junior) level English as a Foreign Language (EFL) course at a Japanese technical university. The purpose was to explore EFL learners’ ability to analyze an English language website and produce concrete design responses in English. During the first week of the analysis (involving sixteen students selected due to performing the best during earlier in-class website analysis activities on the course), participants produced their own responses to eight open-ended design questions about the website. The second week of the analysis (involving all 59 students on the course) tested the students’ ability to search for information from the website, and recorded their impressions about the website design based on standard usability questionnaires (CSUQ, QUIS, and MPRC). The third week of the analysis had the 59 students self-report on their use of meta-cognitive reading strategies (MARSI 1.0 Questionnaire) during the website analysis. The results of the questionnaires showed that, overall, the EFL students had a basic understanding of major design questions related to information organization, screen interface design, audience, technology used, etc. However, there was statistically significant variability between responses in different groups (comprehensive evaluation, webpage design, terminology and website information and website capabilities) and the respondents were not unanimous in their impressions about the website. The result of the student self-reports on metacognitive reading strategies showed wide acceptability and use of problem-solving strategies.

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