Learning Complex Grammar in the Virtual Classroom: A Comparison of Processing Instruction, Structured Input, Computerized Visual Input Enhancement, and Traditional Instruction


  • Victoria Russell


This study investigated the effects of processing instruction (PI) and structured input (SI) on the acquisition of the subjunctive in adjectival clauses by 92 second-semester distance learners of Spanish. Computerized visual input enhancement (VIE) was combined with PI and SI in an attempt to increase the salience of the targeted grammatical form for Web-based delivery. VIE was operationalized as word animation of subjunctive forms. Four experimental groups (+PI +VIE, +PI -VIE, +SI +VIE, +SI -VIE) were compared with traditional instruction (TI), and the results indicate that for interpretation and production tasks, there were no signifi cant differences between TI and the experimental groups. However, for interpretation tasks on the immediate posttest, the +PI+VIE group outperformed the +SI-VIE group. In addition, responses from the Posttreatment Questionnaire revealed that learners who received PI, with or without VIE, expressed a preference for the PI materials over their regular course materials, which fell under the TI paradigm.