The importance of personal factors such as personality traits, learning strategies, self-esteem, and self-efficacy in the complicated task of language learning has been established for years. However, the introduction of computers, networks and their wide communication affordances, seem to impact many aspects of learning and teaching and particularly language learning and teaching. The storage place, manner, and magnitude of learning materials for example, have shifted from the human mind to portable digital storage places that consequently require different types of aggregation, retrieval, and usage of information. Noting the rapid communication of today through networking, ICT competency plays important roles with all its related applications and software that turn the talented user into an enhanced player in the wired world. It was the underlying premise of this research study to identify how freshman Iranian language students view their technology competencies and command to impact their socialization and web-assisted language learning process in the connected world of today.
It was found that most of the Kazerun Islamic Azad university students of English (34 freshman) show positive attitudes toward the adoption of online learning materials and web-based socialization applications such as facebook’s group tool and online forums as their preferred tool for discussion and interaction in the language learning course. At the end of semester the higher digital self-efficacy students scored higher in their conversation test compared to the lower digital self-efficacy students. Users with high computer self-efficacy not only benefit from their capability to use computer in their language learning activities, they would also benefit from group self-efficacy in their web-based language learning tasks and interactions.
KEY WORDS: digital self-efficacy, social networking, online language learning, Net-generation
From the second half of the 20th century, when educators and researchers’ attention shifted from teaching process and syllabi toward more learner-centred programs, learners were looked upon amid their personal, cognitive, and affective differences and more emphasis was placed on human qualities and considerations in order to promote the success of learning procedure. Individual differences, since then, have played an enormous role in the interpretation of human learning in general and language learning in particular.
Amongst many factors impacting language learning procedure, educators like Piaget1 and Vygotsky2 point to the psychological and social determinants of human functioning with Piaget emphasizing more on psychological aspects and Vygotsky more on social criteria.
These inclinations were mirrored in the syllabi and modules developed based on the two perspectives. The two perspectives could be traced in the study of strategies that language learners employ for effective language learning. In the model developed by O’Malley and Chamot3 the inclination can be witnessed through their emphasis on cognitive and metacognitive strategies. A more learner-based classification of the strategies is developed by Oxford 4 that places more emphasis on the social and affective side of learning task. The current emerging inclination toward socialization can be traced back through the social constructivism school of thought that put emphasis on the importance of socialization and individual construction of knowledge and sharing of the cognition (knowledge) with the peers thereby making learning more effective and more social rather than a cognition-based individualistic struggle as the cognitivists suggest.
Bandura asserts that scientific advances are to a great extent dependent on and accelerated by development of important determinants of human functioning. According to Bandura, “self-efficacy is a person’s belief in his or her ability to succeed in a particular situation”5. It determines the way people think, behave, and feel6. As Bandura 7 and other researchers have demonstrated, self-efficacy can have an impact on everything from psychological states to behaviour to motivation. Self-efficacy beliefs have also received increasing attention in education. Much First published in Journal of Basic and Applied Scientific Research 3(11)80-84, 2013