Facebook for informal language learning: Perspectives from tertiary language students

Antonie Alm

Abstract

This paper investigates the use of Facebook for out-of-class, informal language learning. 190 New Zealand university language students (Chinese, German, French, Japanese and Spanish) completed an anonymous online questionnaire on (1) their perceptions of Facebook as a multilingual environment, (2) their online writing practices and (3) their views on the educational value of their experiences. Findings indicate that language students are using a range of Facebook features to expose themselves to the languages they study (L2) and to communicate in their L2 with native speaker Facebook friends. The use of the social networking site varied according to proficiency-levels of the participants (beginner, intermediate and advanced levels), strength of social ties with native speaker Facebook friends and personal attitudes towards the site. Learning experiences on Facebook were not perceived as useful for the formal language learning context which suggests the need for bridging strategies between informal and formal learning environments.

Keywords

Facebook; Informal language learning; Social networking

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References

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