Saturday, October 10, 2015


Assalamualaikum and hi everyone =p. This is my article review for CALL Task 2.


TITLE : The Effects of "WhatsApp" Electronic Dialogue Journaling on Improving Writing Vocabulary Word Choice and Voice of EFL Undergraduates Saudi Students
JOURNAL : AWEJ Volume 4, Number 3, 2013 page 213-225
AUTHOR'S NAME: Basma Issa Ahmad Alsaleem 
from Allmam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University Saudi Arabia ;
The World Islamic Science and Education University-Jordan

link to the journal <- 



The Aims of the Research

Basically the research that I had chosen to review aims to explore the effect of "WhatsApp" electronic journaling on Improving Writing Vocabulary, Word Choice and Voice of EFL Students. It discusses on how this new application in the smart phones can improve the writing skills of EFL students particularly in Saudi Arabia. In this action research, students are required to post their reflective comments on different topics to their group which was created through WhatApp application. The researcher who conducted this study believed that the WhatsApp application has positive impact especially when it comes to second or foreign language learning. As had been mentioned by (Dyment & O'Connel 2008), journaling has been an approach used by teachers to allow students a place for reflection in order to improve their writing and traditionally they prefer pencil and paper journaling. However, as time goes by and the world of ICT evolves, the technologies such as BBM BlackBerry Messages and WhatsApps messages emerges. (Lenhart 2007) support this statement by saying that these technologies are widely used especially among undergraduates students today.

The Methodology and Subject/Samples

The study was conducted at Translations and Language College in a a female branch of Allmam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University. It involved 30 EFL undergraduate female students. Apart from that, the researcher conducted quantitative and quasi-experimental study in which involved pretest and post test.The students scores of their writing journaling had been given according to the guidelines of the rubrics from Read Write Think and the National Council of Teachers of English.

The Finding of the Research

It is found that the students react well to the dialogue journaling via WhatsApp application. At the end of the experiment, the students' word choice, voice and writing skills had improved. Plus, results indicate there is significant different in terms of the writing score  of the pretest and post test of the students who journaled in the WhatsApp. Hence, this finding prove that using WhatsApp would eventually help the students to improve their writing skills in general.


My Reaction

Does the research interest you? 
what is/are the implications of the research in the teaching and learning of ESL?

This research did catch my interest as it suggests that using WhatsApp particularly in language learning context is one of the ways that can enhance students' writing skills. Apart from that, it gives an insight to the current phenomena which is happening in educational field. In Malaysian context, it is  believed that most of the students or current generation have easy access to the internet via the data plan or through Wifi. Plus, smart phones become pocket computer and a must have item for many people including the students. WhatsApp is one of the top applications among the current generation due to its fastness and easy performance of exchanging the message using Internet at almost free of cost. I personally think that journaling or having dialogue session via WhatsApp is a good way of practising the skills of writing especially outside of the classroom setting. We know the fact that English teachers will not have ample time to cover all the topics and the students as well do not have sufficient time to practise the target language in the classroom setting. Thus, language learning outside of the classroom is seen as an effective way to encourage them to communicate in the target language.

Other than that, when it comes to group discussions via the applications, it generally provides equal opportunities for each of the students to share their view regarding certain topic and thus, no students will left behind. The sense of enjoyment while contributing their ideas informally in the WhatsApp will eventually boost the students' motivation to use English, Plus, I think that this method is suitable to all students of varying proficiency levels. The immediate feedback or comments from the peers in the WhatsApp group will aid the students to learn from their mistakes as they progress. They can also learn the target language in a more fun and relaxing way. 

As WhatsApp is quite simple, it is suitable for teachers who are uncertain to use technology due to lack of skills or confidence or high level of anxiety. Getting started with simple tool may be a helpful way for them to explore and incorporate new technology because simpler technology permit users to minimize their risk and "performance anxiety". Teachers or instructors can easily monitor their students' discussion at anytime and anywhere due to its mobility and portability. Besides, it is a technology people and especially all students are familiar with as they use it on daily basis. (Linhart 2007) supported this statement by claiming that a new generation of teenage writers are created due to the emergent of instant messages and e-mail; enables them to translate their every thoughts and feeling into words. 

The only drawback of this approach is that not all students in Malaysia can afford to have smart phones; concerning the students from rural areas. There might be students who are unfortunate, struggling to survive and  they are unable to buy such gadget. Hence, before this approach is being implemented in the classroom setting, teacher must take note and make sure that all students in her/his classroom have assess to this kind of technology. 

Do you think the research well-conducted?

Frankly speaking, I think that this research is well conducted though there is certain elements that can be improved. First and foremost, the organisation of the research paper is clear and structured where the points and subheadings are organised  accordingly. The research starts with clear introduction, precise points in subheadings such as the definition of the dialogue journal, WhatApp, Academic Effect of WhatsApp messaging, WhatsApp messaging and writing; just to name a few. Then, the paper proceed with the problem statements, significance of the study until the conclusion and recommendations. It also has a solid and strong theoretical foundation.  This paper has a smooth flow, hence makes it easier for us to understand and grasp the focus ideas of the study.

The points that have been elaborated in this study are specific, convincing and well supported by past researches however, there are several repetitions of the ideas. In my opinion, the researcher should plan her work so that there is no redundant in terms of the issues that have been put forward in this paper. Apart from that, I think the methodology of this study needs some improvements in order to come out with reliable and excellent results. Despite only having pretest and post test of the same respondents, I think the use of control group will help the researcher to have better finding of her study. It means that the existence of control group can help us in comparing results with the experimental group. Hence, readers can know to what extent WhatsApp application will affect the experimental group. Nonetheless, this study gives clear insight to the readers on how the use of this technology can help students to improve their writing skills. 

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