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Abstract

This study aimed to gauge the efficacy of three modes of instruction of English idioms, ie, Short Message Service (SMS)-based learning, contextual learning and self-study learning. More precisely, this study capitalized on the push aspect of SMS affordance to deliver bite-sized English idiom lessons on spaced intervals to the learners irrespective of the traditionally inherent problems in most teaching classrooms of English as a Foreign Language learning contexts and thus promote regular study. Students' perceptions and attitudes toward mobile learning and the application of SMS in teaching and learning English (idioms) were also sought by conducting a poststudy survey. Overall, the results revealed that students receiving short mini-lessons on their mobile phones via SMS were more enthusiastic and learned more than their counterparts on paper or contextual groups.

Practitioner Notes

What is already known about this topic

  • • 
    Among different functions a mobile phone can afford, its Short Message Service (SMS) has been widely used to transmit and receive general and educational contents.
  • • 
    SMS affordance of mobile phones has been used to teach language components such as grammar and vocabulary.
  • • 
    The efficiency of teaching English idioms via SMS in comparison with other methods (eg, contextual learning and self-study approaches) has not been examined in the Mobile Assisted Language Learning practices simultaneously.

What this paper adds

  • • 
    Gauging the comparative efficacy of SMS-based instruction of English idioms in contrast with two other instruction modes, ie, contextual learning and self-study simultaneously.
  • • 
    Delivering bite-sized SMS-based English idiom lessons to the learners beyond the constraints of the traditional classrooms and promoting regular study.
  • • 
    Seeking students' perceptions and attitudes toward mobile learning and the application of SMS in teaching and learning English idioms by conducting a poststudy survey.

Implications for practice and/or policy

  • • 
    Insights gathered from the comparative integration of mobile devices, particularly mobile phones and its different affordances into teaching classrooms of English as a Foreign Language learning contexts, are considered to have important implications for the educators and technologists to harness the potential of mobile technologies and design appropriate tasks that pave the way for the widespread use of this platform for language learning on a large scale.
  • • 
    A deep understanding of the mobile devices used and the possibilities associated with them is needed in order to better design the mobile learning (m-learning) activities.
  • • 
    Embarking on an m-learning project entails designing particular activities tailored to the needs of students involved in the learning process.