Type Paper
License CC BY 4.0

Assessing the use of aids for a computer-mediated task: Taking notes while listening


This research aims at understanding the cognitive processes at work, and strategies used by, students of English as a foreign language (EFL) when confronted with a complex task in a multimedia system. More precisely, we propose to study how second language learners use the aids provided by the multimedia setting to take notes while processing a video document. A sample of 16 university students (6 undergraduates, 9 graduates and a native speaker) were asked to write down keywords and key arguments understood from a 2-minute BBC report on an electronic notebook inserted in Virtual Cabinet, a learning environment hitherto unknown to them. They had 12 minutes to take notes online and produce a summary of the report, and they could manipulate the input and use an online dictionary at will. Observation of the different strategies used by the subjects was made possible by screen data capture software that logged all the learners’ actions during the whole experiment. This exploratory study will focus on describing this complex task – cognitively demanding because it combines different operations and requires using aids appropriately and in a timely manner to carry out the task successfully. It provides information on the way the students use the multimedia environment to perform the task (taking notes online) and the use they make of aids such as an online dictionary and the rewind and pause buttons. This study concludes that video control functionality is a useful aid because it provides learners with an individualised means to process the input at their own pace. On the contrary, providing a dictionary during the comprehension phase has proved to lead to inefficient strategies and seems therefore to be disqualified as an aid for the comprehension phase of the task in a timed context.


Mompean, A. R., & Guichon, N. (2009). Assessing the use of aids for a computer-mediated task: Taking notes while listening. The JALT CALL Journal, 5(2), 45-60. https://doi.org/10.29140/jaltcall.v5n2.79