Computer-Supplemented Structural Drill Practice Versus Computer-Supplemented Semantic Drill Practice by Beginning College German Students: A Comparative Experiment
AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH
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This study investigated the effectiveness of two types of computer practice, structural and semantic, across two levels of verbal aptitude. The experiment was conducted at the United States Air Force Academy. Subjects n 72 were beginning college German students who had no previous high school language training. The cadets were randomly assigned to three groups 1 Structural Practice, 2 Semantic Practice, and 3 No Practice Control. Groups 1 and 2 practiced the same grammatical concept on the computer with structural and semantic exercises, respectively. A structural exercise could be accomplished based on knowledge of structure alone, while a semantic exercises successful accomplishment depended upon understanding of the meaning of the itemproblem structure was a secondary consideration. The control group had no practice. The results of the study support the importance of meaningful semantic practice in the second-language learning process. Interpersonal interactions are not an explanation for the advantage observed for meaningful language practice in other experiments.
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