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Academic Paper

Title: Developing and evaluating an oral skills training website supported by automatic speech recognition technology
Author: Howard Hao-Jan Chen
Institution: National Taiwan Normal University
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics; Computational Linguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: Oral communication ability has become increasingly important to many EFL students. Several commercial software programs based on automatic speech recognition (ASR) technologies are available but their prices are not affordable for many students. This paper will demonstrate how the Microsoft Speech Application Software Development Kit (SASDK), a free but powerful tool, can be used to develop an oral skills training website for EFL students. This ASR-based website offers six different types of online exercises which allow students to practise their oral skills and obtain immediate feedback on their performance. A group of 25 college students and a group of 35 pre-service English teachers were invited to use the website. Two surveys were conducted to investigate the students??? and the pre-service teachers??? perceptions of this site. The results indicated that most teachers and students enjoyed using this website, which they felt could help improve their English oral skills. They also pointed out that the main strength of the ASR-based learning system is that it offers several different types of exercises which can encourage learners to produce more output in a low-anxiety environment. The major limitations of the website are the insufficient feedback and the challenging standards one must meet in order to achieve a pass mark. These findings can be useful for teachers who are interested in using ASR in teaching and for CALL researchers who aim to develop better ASR-based systems for language learning.


This article appears IN ReCALL Vol. 23, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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