Learners' Perceptions of a Web-enhanced Learning Environment: Insights from a Longitudinal Study
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This article presents the results of a longitudinal study on the perceptions of a web-enhanced learning environment by a group of beginning-level students of Italian. A website was specially designed and implemented as a complement to the existing syllabus, in order to enhance interactivity, variety, and authenticity of materials and tasks, as well as flexibility and learner control. The aim of the study is to ascertain whether the introduction of computing technology can promote learners' positive attitudes, as suggested in much of the current literature on Computer-Assisted Language Learning. Quantitative and qualitative data collected from a variety of sources confirm that the introduction of computing technology can contribute to learners' positive perceptions of the opportunities offered by their learning environment. However, a few drawbacks are also identified which suggest that the introduction of web-enhanced learning in itself cannot be expected to promote and sustain learners' positive attitudes and motivation in the long term, and the more research is needed to explore effective ways of using web-based materials, particularly at introductory levels of competence in the target language.