• Jacob Heiring Sørensen
4. semester, Engelsk, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)

This master’s thesis investigates the use of an adaptive language learning system in second language acquisition for children in Danish primary school education. Recently, adaptiveness has become an appealing addition to products developed by language learning systems, such as Duolingo, Rossetta Stone or Babbel. The combination of adaptiveness and language learning enables a personalized learning experience, in which the user’s interaction allows for the software to customize the content to the user’s needs.
The inclusion of computers in the classroom has been met with varying opinions and positions by teachers and researchers in Denmark. Some argue that computers are a disturbance to a classroom setting, by giving students access to nonrelated material and thereby, having a negative influence on teaching scenarios. Thus, this study examines how to solve this issue, by using a newly-developed adaptive learning system for English language teaching (CampEngelsk). By doing so, this study explores how students in a Danish primary school assess the use of an adaptive learning system as a method of teaching English grammar. The study carries out an experiment with one class (19 students) over the course of 3 lessons using a longitudinal retrospective design. The experiment is conducted through a pre-survey, an intervention and a post-survey, where the intervention consists of lessons using the adaptive software.
The experiment using an adaptive learning system is divided into three parts. First, the participating students answer a pre-survey, which asks them about prior experience with grammar teaching and e-learning. Subsequently, the students are taught three different grammatical subjects over the course of three lessons by using the adaptive learning system. Finally, after finishing three lectures with adaptive learning, the students answer a final post-survey on their assessment of the lessons. The three grammatical subjects are concord, and declension of nouns and adjectives. The foundation for choosing these subjects lies in an investigation of the class’ previous grammatical knowledge, as the experiment wants the student to compare their prior experience with grammar teaching to a new method. Additionally, the grammatical subjects are included in the goals for Grade 6 students in the Danish primary school education (age 11-13).
The thesis concludes that the use of an adaptive learning system in a classroom setting can, in some instances, solve the issues linked to the disturbance caused by computers. The respondents found the software to be motivating and helpful in adjusting to the grammatical content, and observations during the intervention showed that students were focused and productive throughout all three lessons.
Empirical data revealed higher motivation among students when working with English grammar through an adaptive learning system, than compared to traditional textbook material. Students’ attitude and assessment of the program was positive overall, and all respondents wished to continue using the adaptive system as a teaching method.
The data gathered from the surveys also showed that a minority of the students preferred an oral teaching method and disliked the individuality that is the linked to adaptive learning. Moreover, students with limited grammatical knowledge had far more difficulty using the program, and in certain cases the adaptive program was unable to meet the needs of weaker students. Consequently, the thesis concludes that teachers have an important part to play in successfully implementing adaptive learning systems, as some students cannot use such systems without personal assistance. Adaptive programs are a reasonable alternative to traditional textbook material, but adaptiveness should be considered carefully. The teaching method is not a definitive solution for all students – especially not weaker individuals.
Results from this thesis should be considered carefully. The experiment features a small sample size of 19 students and cannot be generalized. Additionally, the students’ exposure to the adaptive system only lasted for one week.

Udgivelsesdato30 maj 2018
Antal sider65
ID: 280154832