Kwon, Eun-Young. 2017. A Mobile-Mediated Problem-Based Learning Program in the College EFL Classroom: Participant Perceptions and Impact on Listening and Reading Skills. English Language and Linguistics 23.3, 101-131. The present study investigated whether a mobile-mediated problem-based learning (PBL) program 1) had an impact on students’ English listening and reading skills; 2) participants’ perceptions of the program, in general and in terms of impact on linguistic skills; and 3) the impact of proficiency level on these perceptions and/or students’ preferred PBL problem characteristics. Pre-test/post-test, Likert-scale questionnaire, and interview data were used. Results showed a statistically significant improvement in reading skills and a statistically non-significant improvement in listening skills for the treatment group (only). Questionnaire and qualitative data revealed positive perceptions of the instructor-designed module, with impact of proficiency level on these perceptions found to be negligible. However, differences were identified between 1) treatment group participants’ measured skills improvement (in reading) and their perceived area of greatest impact (vocabulary) and 2) advanced and intermediate students’ preferences for PBL problem characteristics. In the former case, the suggested interpretation is that learners perceive improvements more readily to the degree that they are actively engaged in the activities (skills) in question. Thus, improvements in productive skills (speaking and writing) were more salient than in receptive skills (listening and reading). Regarding PBL problem characteristics, students at both assessed proficiency levels appreciated “fun” and “easy” problems, whereas advanced students rated “creative” problems very highly, intermediate students very low. The suggested pedagogical implication is that language teachers should choose PBL problems with less attention to the cognitive criteria touted in research from other educational fields and more to what engages students and meshes with their abilities.
Key words: problem-based learning, mobile-assisted language learning, receptive skills, college general English education, learner perception