University Students’ Satisfaction with Spanish Learning Online and Face-to-Face
University students choose to study Spanish language for a range of reasons, but two of the major reasons would be (a) communication with speakers of the target language, and (b) acquisition of knowledge and skills for instrumental purposes (such as getting a language-relevant job). In a blended learning environment where Spanish is taught partly in a face-to-face and partly in an online mode, it is important to understand how student satisfaction is associated with these factors. A group of university students who studied in a beginner’s course of Spanish (N = 36) completed a survey on their perceptions of the language functions (communicative, instrumental), satisfaction with the two modes of delivery (face-to-face, online), and their overall satisfaction with the Spanish course. Correlation analysis found that overall satisfaction was positively correlated with the two language functions (rs = .22 and .18, respectively) and with the two modes of delivery (rs = .41 and .27, respectively). However, the correlation between face-to-face and online modes was negative (r = -.30), indicating that those who favoured face-to-face mode tended to dislike online delivery, and vice versa. Repeated-measures analysis of variance found that the students had stronger perceptions of the communicative function and higher satisfaction with the face-to-face delivery mode. On a five-point scale, students’ satisfaction with the face-to-face mode (M = 4.23) was significantly higher than their satisfaction with the online mode (M = 3.04), whereas their overall satisfaction was somewhere in between (M = 3.53). These results suggest that the students preferred face-to-face learning to online learning. Although there is an increasing interest of universities to provide online learning opportunities, it seems that at least for this sample of beginning learners of Spanish, a substantial proportion of time should be allotted for face-to-face interaction.
Keywords: Blended Learning, e-Learning, Student Satisfaction, Spanish Beginners
Maria Isabel Cristino Pena
Lecturer, School of Humanities and Languages, University of Western Sydney
Dr. Alexander S. Yeung
Research Fellow, Centre for Educational Research, University of Western Sydney