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Task Design Features and Learner Variables in Task Performance and Task Experience

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Item Summary

Title: Task Design Features and Learner Variables in Task Performance and Task Experience
Authors: Cho, Min Young
Keywords: Task complexity
task modality
goal orientation
L2 motivational self system
Issue Date: Aug 2015
Publisher: [Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [August 2015]
Abstract: This dissertation study takes a holistic approach to the act of task performance, investigating how task and learner variables independently and interactively influence task performance and task experience. Drawing on Robinson’s (2001b) triadic componential framework for task design, the study explores the task demands that are inherent to tasks (task complexity) or that emerge in task–learner interaction (task difficulty). Task complexity and modality were adopted as task feature variables, while goal orientation (Dweck, 1986), the L2 motivational self system (Dörnyei, 2009b), and L2 anxiety were adopted as learner variables. Task performance was examined in terms of complexity, accuracy, and fluency (CAF), and task experience was represented by flow, conditioned by optimal challenge (Csikszentmihalyi, 1987). With the mediation of task difficulty, this study examines the relative contributions of task and learner variables to task performance and task experience. In a repeated-measures design, 141 L2 learners performed four argumentative tasks that differed in task complexity and modality. They completed two questionnaires, one a pre-task survey examining dispositional motivation and the other a post-task survey probing their subjective experience with the task. Production data were analyzed to measure complexity (i.e., the clause per T-unit ratio), accuracy (i.e., the error-free clause per T-unit ratio), and fluency (i.e., pause frequency per T-unit). MANOVAs, correlation analysis, and structural equation modeling (SEM) were conducted. The results indicate that although task complexity affected the perception of task difficulty, it did not affect task performance in terms of CAF nor task experience of flow. Task modality significantly predicted task performance and task experience of flow. Significant relationships among motivational constructs were observed, but learner variables did not have a direct impact on immediate task performance or experience. These findings suggest that task variables have a stronger impact than learner variables on both language learning outcomes and affective outcomes of tasks. The study’s multifaceted investigation provides insight into how various motivational and affective constructs work together and interact with various task features to produce unique task performance experiences and performance outcomes.
Description: Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2015.
Includes bibliographical references.
Appears in Collections:Ph.D. - Second Language Studies

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