A SURVEY STUDY ON THE POTENTIAL EDUCATIONAL VALUE OF WHATSAPP IN THE IRANIAN EFL SETTINGS By Maria Shobeiry

Abstract

This study investigated the main motives of using WhatsApp and the potential educational value of it in the Iranian EFL contexts in comparison with institutional e-learning platforms, Big Blue Button, and Google Meet.  A total of 301 male and female advanced EFL learners answered a questionnaire which was a combination of Sheldon’s (2008) and Jong, Lai, Hsia, Lin, and Liao’s (2014) questionnaires. The results of the one-way ANOVA and Post Hoc Test on the respondents’ ranking scores to various items of the questionnaire revealed that WhatsApp was the first preferred platform for the facilities of a) being immediately informed on the educational materials by the instructor b) educational online group discussion, and c) convenience of sharing educational materials and reviewing past instructions. The institutional e-learning platform was the second favorite and Google Meet and Big Blue Botton were found to be the least favorite platforms in this study. For 52.8% of the respondents having the instructor in the WhatsApp group was a hindrance to freely expressing themselves which revealed an obvious influence of culture in this study since in Iran instructors have a remarkably higher social status than their learners. WhatsApp was found to have a high educational value in the Iranian EFL contexts since the highest motives for using WhatsApp included relationship maintenance and educational peer discussions. Also WhatsApp was found to be a good educational medium for extrovert and low-motivated EFL learners.  

Keywords: Institutional e-learning platforms, Cultural issues in e-learning, Immediacy of exchange of knowledge, Group work in e-learning, Extrovert e-learners.

[1] Ph.D. Candidate, University of Tehran, Department of English Studies and Applied Linguistics.

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