Title: Learning ecologies in online language learning social networks: a netnographic study of EFL learners using italki

Authors: Hong T.P. Ngo; Ariana Eichelberger

Addresses: University of Hawaii System, Office of the Vice President for Community Colleges, 2327 Dole Street, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, USA ' Department of Learning Design and Technology, College of Education, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1776 University Avenue, Wist Hall #232, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, USA

Abstract: This netnographic study explored EFL learning ecologies in language learning social network platforms by exploring the experience and perceptions of international non-traditional learners of EFL utilising the italki platform. Analysis of italki tools and two in-depth interviews revealed that the learners were self-disciplined and proactive in this informal learning environment and they felt positive about the platform itself. In italki individual EFL learners were able to personalise their learning ecologies utilising its affordances to satisfy their learning needs, interests, and curiosity in the absence of formal instructional materials. The findings suggest that integration of online language learning platforms such as italki in foreign language education could provide positive pedagogical changes that empower learners to cultivate personal ecologies for lifelong and lifewide adult learning.

Keywords: language learning social network; EFL; non-traditional learners; italki.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSMILE.2020.109220

International Journal of Social Media and Interactive Learning Environments, 2020 Vol.6 No.3, pp.181 - 199

Received: 20 Nov 2018
Accepted: 29 Aug 2019

Published online: 13 Aug 2020 *

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