Contribution of automated feedback to the English writing competence of distance foreign language learners

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In recent years, automated feedback (AF) has greatly increased its applicability as a mean to support development of English as a foreign language (EFL) learners’ writing competence in the context of face-to-face education. This study examines contribution of AF to the development of writing competence of EFL learners in open and distance learning context. Anadolu University, Open Education Faculty learners received regular feedback on their writing tasks by an AF tool, Write & Improve. The contribution of AF to academic writing success was observed by statistically comparing the grades of the learners for their writing tasks at the beginning and at the end of the process and also by correlation analysis between AF frequency and achievement scores. In the second stage of the study, detailed data about learners’ experiences were obtained by interviewing volunteer participants. The quantitative and qualitative findings of the study showed that AF significantly contributed to the development of writing competence of EFL learners at a distance. Interviews with learners revealed themes such as effective learning process, contribution to foreign language development, motivation increase, effective and fast feedback, user-friendly learning environment, support for individual learning, and contribution to distance learning as the strengths of AF. The interviews also included participants’ suggestions on how to use these tools more effectively. Based on the findings, pedagogical implications are discussed regarding the incorporation of AF in distance EFL learning.

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E-Learning and Digital Media



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