My Speech Trainer: predicting acceptance of a language learning application for academic English speaking skills.

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While English as the language of instruction becomes more and more common at Dutch universities, students’ speaking abilities often lack the needed level of proficiency. Incoming foreign students do not have enough opportunities for practice before the start of their studies and Dutch students struggle with transition to the appropriate level of formality. Considered that there is not enough time for speaking practice in language classrooms, this gap could be filled by computer-assisted learning. However, such applications should be rigorously tested and evaluated to ensure their relevance and effectiveness. This thesis presents the evaluation of My Speech Trainer, a pilot application, powered by automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology. The application aims to improve the English academic speaking skills of students at Dutch universities. The theoretical framework UTAUT2 (Venkatesh, Thong and Xu, 2012) was chosen for the early evaluation as it allows predicting whether students would accept and use My Speech Trainer. Therefore, the first research question asks what factors influence students’ decision to adopt My Speech Trainer. The second research question is posed about the opinions of students. Understanding these factors would allow developers and institutions to timely adapt and improve the learning tool.
Faculteit der Letteren