he primary language of international trade, science and technology and since Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest oil producing country, English is perceived as an integral part of the human resource development agenda of the Saudi government (Alseweed, 2009). Given the Saudi government’s commitment to improving English language skills in Saudi Arabia as evidenced by 6 years of compulsory English at school and the unsatisfactory results, several studies have been conducted on identifying the reasons for the unsatisfactory acquisition of English language among Saudi students and how to best motivate Saudi students for improved results (Alsewee, 2009; Liton, 2012; Khan, 2011). Informed by adult learning theories, this research proposes to investigate the effectiveness and efficiency of smartphone use in preparatory year language learners in Saudi Arabia. Adult learning theories inform that adult learners are more complex than children learners and that as adults, experiences together with fixed opinions and perceptions instruct that adults are more amenable to learning that takes account of their specific needs and interests (Hough, 1984). Barrs (2011) considered the learning needs and interests of young adult students and the advances in mobile technology and argued that smartphones in particular have a particular value as a language learning tool for young university students. For the most part, these students own and use smartphones regularly. Moreover, young university students also rely on a number of smartphone applications for sharing and processing information and have access to this information via smartphones on a continuous level. Therefore smartphones can be used to channel the interest, experience and technological needs of young adult students as a...
This study will therefore contribute to adult learning theories and the exploration of the possibility of smartphone technologies as a means of enhancing Saudi Arabia preparatory year student’s acquisition of a second language. A qualitative case study will be conducted among male students in the preparatory year at a college in Saudi Arabia. A phenomenological approach will be taken in that students will be interviewed as a means of discovering their experiences with leaning English and their attitudes toward smartphones as a learning tool and how this correlates with their interest and learning needs. The aim of this proposed research is to determine the extent to which the use of smartphones is a viable learning tool for improving the language proficiency of preparatory year language students in Saudi Arabia. Since this research focuses on a specific programme in Saudi Arabia, it is a social phenomenon that is more appropriately investigated using a qualitative case study.
Since this research is investigating an educational programme with a view to determining whether or not the use of smartphones can improve language proficiency and thus motivational learning, an illustrative case study will be conducive to achieving this research objective. The illustrative case study will allow for the collection of rich and detailed person-centred data, describing individual perspectives and feelings and thus informing whether or not smartphones are appropriate learning tools for young adult language learners in Saudi Arabia’s preparatory language programme.