The effect of input enhancement, individual output, and collaborative output on foreign language learning: The case of English inversion structures
Focus of the study: The motivation for this study lies in Swain’s output hypothesis, which claims that input alone is not sufficient for second language acquisition; hence, it should be supported with output as output pushes learners to go beyond semantic processing and be engaged in syntactic processing. During this process, L2 learners are expected to pay attention to form through noticing and hypothesis testing. This study aims to test these claims by comparing input group with output group. Also, this study focuses on another important phenomena: type of output tasks, be it individual or collaborative task. In essence, the primary goal of this article is to provide a comparative study on the effects of input-enhancement, individual output and collaborative output tasks on language learning.
Instructional settings and participants: Freshmen students who have recently been enrolled in their first semester of their B.A. in English Language Education. For selection of participants, the most critica criteria was the fact that they should have had no prior knowledge about the structure on focus in the study: inversion in English. Based on pretest data, students who scored 20% or less on the test were asked to participate. In the end, there were 90 participants qualified to be included in the study. They were equally divided into the following groups: enhanced input group, individual output group and collaborative output group.
Instrumentation and procedure: Three groups were formed and these grouped differed in their task types. While one group was textual-enhancement, the other groups were dictogloss, in which participants reconstructed a text individually and collaboratively. The study was pretest-posttest, control-experimental study. For treatment, participants wroked 12 texts. The input-enhancement group received these texts and worked on comprehension questions for assessment whereas the output groups worked on these texts to recontruct them.
Results and discussion: In terms of learning the inversion structure in English, the study showed that the input-enhancement treatment group outperformed the output treat,ent groups in the immediate post-test. Three months later, participants were given a delayed post-test , which showed that it was the collaborative output group that made a significant gain over the tim. In other words, results showed significant advantages for the input-enhanement group in terms of short-term effects; however, the collaborative output group developed significantly more than individual-output and enhanced-input groups in terms of long terms effects. Another finding of this study concerned the effects of collaboration on output production. The collaborative-output group outperformed the individual output group while working on dictogloss tasks.