The Effects of Feedback Timing on L2 Development in Written Synchronous Computer-mediated Communication (SCMC)


Numerous studies have delved into the effects of interactional feedback on language learning both in the face-to-face and in the online environment. Overall, there is consensus that feedback is beneficial for learners; however, several factors influence its effectiveness. One factor that SLA and CALL researchers have set out to elucidate is feedback timing operationalized as an immediate or delayed intervention. Previous studies have explored feedback timing on the effects of predetermined language features (i.e., focused feedback) on L2 development of adult learners and they demonstrate mixed findings; either that immediate feedback is more successful than delayed feedback or there is no difference between the two feedback conditions. Two areas that merit more attention is the role of timing when feedback is provided in an unfocused, incidental manner during interaction with child learners at the first stages of their L2 development. To fill this gap, the aim of the current empirical work is to explore the role of unfocused recasts, a corrective feedback technique, supplied in an incidental manner to address a variety of language features as they arise during written synchronous computer-mediated communication (SCMC). To this end, 58 Greek learners of English (M = 12.75 years old, SD = 1.2) were assigned to one of two experimental conditions that differed as to whether they received immediate recasts while performing a communicative task or delayed recasts after completing a task. Recasts addressed both semantic and morphosyntactic features. The results show that delayed recasts led to greater L2 gains than immediate recasts in the immediate post-test, especially when addressing semantic features; however, no difference was found between the two conditions two weeks after the intervention in the delayed post-test.

Abstract Summary
The study explores the effects of feedback timing on development of semantic and morphosyntactic features. Feedback was provided in the form of recasts (i.e., reformulation of learners’ errors) and it was supplied during a written SCMC task (i.e., immediate feedback group) or after the task (i.e., delayed feedback group). The study showed that delayed recasts delivered after the task were more beneficial than immediate recasts provided during the task; however, this difference was found only when delayed feedback addressed vocabulary errors and only in the immediate post-test. Regarding morphosyntactic constructions, both immediate and delayed SCMC recasts led to limited gains. Drawing on the findings of the study, I will discuss what pedagogical conditions may influence the effects of immediate and delayed feedback in the SCMC mode. I am hoping that the findings of the study will be informative to TBLT and CALL researchers who use written SCMC.

Author Information
Nektaria Kourtali, University of Liverpool, United Kingdom
Lais Borges, Universidade Catolica de Brasilia, Brazil

Paper Information
Conference: WorldCALL2023
Stream: Task-Based Learning and Teaching

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon