Browsing by Subject "language learning"

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  • Ylinen, Sari; Nora, Anni; Service, Elisabet (2020)
    Language learning relies on both short-term and long-term memory. Phonological short-term memory (pSTM) is thought to play an important role in the learning of novel word forms. However, language learners may differ in their ability to maintain word representations in pSTM during interfering auditory input. We used magnetoencephalography (MEG) to investigate how pSTM capacity in better and poorer pSTM groups is linked to language learning and the maintenance of pseudowords in pSTM. In particular, MEG was recorded while participants maintained pseudowords in pSTM by covert speech rehearsal, and while these brain representations were probed by presenting auditory pseudowords with first or third syllables matching or mismatching the rehearsed item. A control condition included identical stimuli but no rehearsal. Differences in response strength between matching and mismatching syllables were interpreted as the phonological mapping negativity (PMN). While PMN for the first syllable was found in both groups, it was observed for the third syllable only in the group with better pSTM. This suggests that individuals with better pSTM maintained representations of trisyllabic pseudowords more accurately during interference than individuals with poorer pSTM. Importantly, the group with better pSTM learned words faster in a paired-associate word learning task, linking the PMN findings to language learning.
  • China-Kolehmainen, Elena (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) is one of the sub-disciplines within the area of Second Language Acquisition. Clozes, also called fill-in-the-blank, are largely used exercises in language learning applications. A cloze is an exercise where the learner is asked to provide a fragment that has been removed from the text. For language learning purposes, in addition to open-end clozes where one or more words are removed and the student must fill the gap, another type of cloze is commonly used, namely multiple-choice cloze. In a multiple-choice cloze, a fragment is removed from the text and the student must choose the correct answer from multiple options. Multiple-choice exercises are a common way of practicing and testing grammatical knowledge. The aim of this work is to identify relevant learning constructs for Italian to be applied to automatic exercises creation based on authentic texts in the Revita Framework. Learning constructs are units that represent language knowledge. Revita is a free to use online platform that was designed to provide language learning tools with the aim of revitalizing endangered languages including several Finno-Ugric languages such as North Saami. Later non-endangered languages were added. Italian is the first majority language to be added in a principled way. This work paves the way towards adding new languages in the future. Its purpose is threefold: it contributes to the raising of Italian from its beta status towards a full development stage; it formulates best practices for defining support for a new language and it serves as a documentation of what has been done, how and what remains to be done. Grammars and linguistic resources were consulted to compile an inventory of learning constructs for Italian. Analytic and pronominal verbs, verb government with prepositions, and noun phrase agreement were implemented by designing pattern rules that match sequences of tokens with specific parts-of-speech, surfaces and morphological tags. The rules were tested with test sentences that allowed further refining and correction of the rules. Current precision of the 47 rules for analytic and pronominal verbs on 177 test sentences results in 100%. Recall is 96.4%. Both precision and recall for the 5 noun phrase agreement rules result in 96.0% in respect to the 34 test sentences. Analytic and pronominal verb, as well as noun phrase agreement patterns, were used to generate open-end clozes. Verb government pattern rules were implemented into multiple-choice exercises where one of the four presented options is the correct preposition and the other three are prepositions that do not fit in context. The patterns were designed based on colligations, combinations of tokens (collocations) that are also explained by grammatical constraints. Verb government exercises were generated on a specifically collected corpus of 29074 words. The corpus included three types of text: biography sections from Wikipedia, Italian news articles and Italian language matriculation exams. The last text type generated the most exercises with a rate of 19 exercises every 10000 words, suggesting that the semi-authentic text met best the level of verb government exercises because of appropriate vocabulary frequency and sentence structure complexity. Four native language experts, either teachers of Italian as L2 or linguists, evaluated usability of the generated multiple-choice clozes, which resulted in 93.55%. This result suggests that minor adjustments i.e., the exclusion of target verbs that cause multiple-admissibility, are sufficient to consider verb government patterns usable until the possibility of dealing with multiple-admissible answers is addressed. The implementation of some of the most important learning constructs for Italian resulted feasible with current NLP tools, although quantitative evaluation of precision and recall of the designed rules is needed to evaluate the generation of exercises on authentic text. This work paves the way towards a full development stage of Italian in Revita and enables further pilot studies with actual learners, which will allow to measure learning outcomes in quantitative terms
  • Terhemaa, Oskari (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    Tämä tutkielma käsittelee suomalaisten lukio-oppilaiden kokemuksia informaalista englanninoppimisesta. Tutkielman tarkoituksena on kartoittaa, miten nuoret oppivat englantia vapaa-ajan aktiviteeteissa ja minkä kielitaidon osa-alueiden he kokevat kehittyneen. Aktiviteeteista keskityn analysoimaan erityisesti videopelejä. Tutkielmassa pohditaan myös, mitä pedagogisia seurauksia tuloksilla voisi olla. Tutkielman teoreettisena viitekehyksenä toimivat informaalin oppimisen ja vieraan kielen oppimisen (SLA) tieteenalojen tutkimukset. Erityisesti esittelen aiempaa tutkimusta videopelien vaikutuksesta kieltenoppimiseen. Tutkielmassa käytetty aineisto koostuu kyselylomakkeella kerätyistä vastauksista ja puolistrukturoiduista haastatteluista. Kyselyn osallistujat ovat suomalaisia lukio-opiskelijoita eteläsuomalaisesta lukiosta. Kaiken kaikkiaan sain yhteensä 117 vastausta kyselyyni. Kyselyn vastausten perusteella haastateltavaksi valikoitui kolme vapaaehtoista opiskelijaa. Haastatteluiden yhteenlaskettu kesto on noin 95 minuuttia. Aineiston analyysissä on käytetty pääosin laadullisia sisällönanalyysin menetelmiä. Olen sen lisäksi täydentänyt analyysiä kyselyaineiston pohjalta laadituilla kvantitatiivisilla laskelmilla. Haastatteluiden analyysi nojaa kerronnallisen teemahaastattelun periaatteisiin. Tutkimusaineiston perusteella lukio-opiskelijat käyttävät englantia paljon vapaa-ajallaan. He kokevat oppineensa erityisesti sanastoa koulun ulkopuolisista aktiviteeteista. Haastatteluun osallistuneet opiskelijat kokevat oppineensa jopa enemmän englantia koulun ulkopuolella kuin koulussa. He nostavat esiin sanaston laajenemisen lisäksi kuullun- ja luetun ymmärtämistaitojen, puhetaitojen ja vuorovaikutustaitojen kehittymisen. Tutkimuksen osallistujat kokevat tv-sarjojen ja elokuvien katsomisen ilman tekstityksiä ja englannin käytön tosielämän keskusteluissa hyödyllisimmiksi vapaa-ajan aktiviteeteiksi kielitaidon kehittymisen kannalta. Aktiivisesta englannin käytöstä vapaa-ajalla ylipäätään seuraa luonnollisesti paljon oppimista.
  • Alalauri, Jenni (Helsingfors universitet, 2016)
    Tutkielman aihe on Eurooppalaisten japanin opiskelijoiden opiskelumotivaatio. Lisäksi tutkielmassa tarkastellaan myös japanin opiskelijoiden omakuvaa vieraan kielen oppijoina. Keskeisin tutkimuskysymys tutkielmassa on millaista motivaatiota japanin opiskelijoilla on opintojensa suhteen ja kuinka he kuvailevat itseään ja taitojaan kielen oppijoina. Tutkielman teoriaosuudessa kerrotaan japanin kielen oppimisen mahdollisista haasteista ja esitellään aiempia tutkimuksia liittyen vieraan kielen oppimiseen ja motivaatioon yleisesti. Tutkielmassa perehdytään varhaisiin ja modereihin motivaatioteorioihin sekä kieli-identiteetin ja motivaation keskinäiseen suhteeseen ja teorioihin. Teoriaosuudessa esitellään yksityiskohtaisemmin juuri ne teoriat joita hyödynnetään tutkielman analyysissä. Nämä teoriat ovat Itseohjautuvuusteoria (Self Determination theory), Tavoiteteoria (Achievement Goal theory) ja motivaatioteoria omakuvasta kielen oppijana (L2 Motivational Self System theory). Tutkimusmenetelmä on haastattelut ja tutkimusaineistona toimii kymmenen litteroitua haastattelua, jotka on tehty yhden saksalaisen, viiden suomalaisen ja neljän espanjalaisen japanin opiskelijan kanssa. Haastateltavat ovat hyvin erilaisista taustoista, opiskelevat japania eri tasoilla ja heidän ikäjakaumansa on 22-40 vuotta. Tutkielman tulokset osoittavat että japanin opiskelijoilla on sekä sisäistä että ulkoista motivaatiota opintoihinsa. On myös mahdollista, että sisäisen ja ulkoisen motivaation välillä vallitsee ristiriita. Opiskelijat kertovat harjoittavansa japanin kieleen ja kulttuuriin liittyviä asioita runsaasti myös vapaa-ajallaan ja he ovat erittäin orientoituneita hyödyntämään kieltä tulevalla urallaan, mikä osoittaa sisäistä motivaatiota. Toisaalta opiskelijat kertovat suorittavansa esimerkiksi esitelmiä ja kokeita vain päästäkseen läpi kielen kursseilta, mikä puolestaan osoittaa ulkoista motivaatiota. Yleisimpiä uratoiveita ovat kääntäjän tai tulkin ammatit, mutta muitakin suuntautumismahdollisuuksia on. Esimerkillistä on se että vaikka opiskelija on keskeyttänyt aktiiviset opintonsa, hän voi silti kokea haluavansa jatkaa opintojaan tulevaisuudessa. Tutkimuksen tulokset osoittavat, että japanin opiskelijoiden omakuva kielen oppijana vaihtelee runsaasti, sillä jokaisella on omat vahvuutensa ja haasteensa kielen suhteen. Esimerkiksi yllättävän harva haastatelluista kokee kielitaitonsa erittäin hyväksi ja etenkin kielen puhuminen tuottaa monille ongelmia mm. kohteliaisuuden ja sujuvuuden suhteen. Kaiken kaikkiaan tutkielman tulokset osoittavat, että japanin opiskelijoilla on erittäin paljon sisäistä motivaatiota, mutta myös ulkoista motivaatiota opintoihinsa. Suurin osa heistä tähtää myös käyttämään kieltä tulevalla urallaan joko kotimaassaan tai Japanissa. Japanin opiskelijoiden omakuva vaihtelee runsaasti henkilökohtaisten vahvuuksien ja heikkouksien mukaan, mutta heidän ajatuksensa siitä mitä muut odottavat heiltä japanin oppijoina ovat suhteellisen yhtenäisiä.
  • Ostrovska, Valeriia (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    In this thesis work I study online learning with the use of synchronous communication tools. In the context of this work, I view online learning as a learning environment that can support a communicative approach to language teaching. My study intends to answer the following research questions: what is students' and teachers' attitude towards online learning with the use of synchronous communication tools? What are the advantages and disadvantages of online learning with the use of synchronous communication tools? Why do students choose to learn English online? The central object of the research is the Vimbox learning platform, a synchronous communication tool developed and utilised by the SkyEng school, one of the biggest online language schools in Russia. The Vimbox platform exists in the form of a virtual class that allows synchronous communication between a student and a teacher via audio and video transmission. My research is qualitative in nature. The data was obtained by interviewing eleven participants, nine students and two teachers who learn/teach English at the SkyEng online school. The data allows the study of students' and teachers' attitudes towards online learning with the use of synchronous communication tools as well as the advantages and disadvantages of this form of education. Based on the results of the analysis, flexibility of time and place is the main advantage of online learning. The main disadvantage of online learning is its dependence on the Internet where the stability of Internet access affects the workability of synchronous communication tools. The results of the analysis reveal that both SkyEng students and teachers are generally satisfied with online learning via the Vimbox platform and that its disadvantages are not significant compared to the advantages. The study concludes that the quality of online education depends on the appropriate organisation of the learning process, learning material, and the teacher's skills to manage online lessons and communicate with the students. Hence, in order to be beneficial for a student, online education needs to meet student's learning goals and expectations.
  • Kontinen, Marjut (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    This thesis focuses on the usage of prestudy materials in EFL teaching in Finnish basic education and the relation between this usage and the learners’ attitudes towards learning English. The research questions are the following: 1) what kinds of attitudes Finnish pupils have towards learning English, 2) what do the pupils and the teacher think about the usage of prestudy materials, and 3) does the usage of prestudy materials relate to the pupils’ attitudes towards learning English and if so, how? The study was conducted as an intervention study. The participants were in the fifth and eighth grade of Finnish basic education. There were 14 participants from each grade. The pupils’ attitudes towards learning English were measured with a questionnaire both before and after the intervention. During the intervention, both grades used prestudy materials as follows: before taking up a new unit in their textbooks in class, the teacher gave the pupils prestudy materials prepared by the researcher to be done as homework. The prestudy materials familiarised the pupils with the theme and vocabulary of the upcoming unit. In addition to measuring the pupils’ attitudes, the post-intervention questionnaire also included a section inquiring about the pupils’ experiences of the prestudy. The teacher was interviewed both before and after the intervention. The results of the study show that the pupils mainly have positive attitudes towards learning English. No clear relation between the usage of prestudy materials and the pupils’ attitudes towards learning English was found. However, the results show that the fifth graders think that the prestudy materials were beneficial. They reported being more active in class and stated that it was easier for them to understand the texts after having done the prestudy exercises. Based on the results it seems that the usage of prestudy materials is more beneficial if the subject is difficult for the learners. In contrast to the fifth graders, the eighth graders’ textbooks already included prestudy exercises, which they did in class. Based on the results, the eighth graders think that these exercises are sufficient and they do not think they need prestudy materials that are done as homework.
  • Kempas, Ilpo (Seinäjoen ammattikorkeakoulu, 2019)
    Seinäjoen ammattikorkeakoulun julkaisusarja B. Raportteja ja selvityksiä
  • Koski, Maria (Helsingfors universitet, 2012)
    This study examined how work orientation is carried out at the workplace for workers with immigrant background, how immigrants have integrated to the chosen workplaces and how they see their future work related development. Immigration to Finland has expanded during the last decades and many immigrants are of working age, which makes the multicultural issues relevant in working life. Research in Finland has focused on how well immigrants get into the labour market. Studies have also been carried out in multicultural work environments, including nursing, expert and customer service occupations. Studies exploring cultural differences between working cultures have been popular on an international level and in business life, but they have not answered the question how differences of working cultures are visible and influence in the multicultural work environment. Research with a more critical view has been carried out at multicultural workplaces. In this study challenges and good practices, which have developed in work orientation and integration of immigrant workers, are being explored. Fifteen workers with immigrant background and five immediate superiors in two organizations in the metropolitan area were interviewed for the study. Two immediate superiors have immigrant backgrounds. Organizations that employ workers for duties which do not require former education and that already for a longer period of time have employed immigrant workers were chosen for the study. The interviews proceeded according to the semi structured interview guide. Many of the challenges for both work orientation and integration that the organizations, work communities and workers with immigrant backgrounds face turned out be connected to language skills. Moreover in relation to differences in working culture the significance of personality was often stressed. Certain phenomena related to different background and working culture emerged and require accommodation to the Finnish workplaces. To overcome the challenges of language skills and working culture different methods were used for job familiarization and work orientation. Four informants had though moved to Finland as children and did neither face language nor cultural challenges. The study helps to understand how it is to take part in the Finnish working life as an immigrant and how multifaceted the concept immigrant is at the workplace. It also shows that rather than placing the focus on finding cultural differences it would be more beneficial to study what their actual significance is in the multicultural work environment and how the immigrants' language skills develop in the Finnish working life.