Computer Assisted Learning Language (CALL)

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"This paper investigates Computer Assisted Learning Language (CALL) as a term, modes of CALL, CALL operations, and its limitations." The paper also examines how CALL aids in the learning of foreign languages, as well as the history of CALL.

Furthermore, the paper addresses how educational games, specifically hangman, develop students' writing technique, and finally, the paper delves into the question of how vocabulary ability is vital to a pupil.

According to Jarvis, Computer Assisted Learning Language (CALL) refers to the creation, use, and analysis of software that is primarily developed for teaching and learning new languages.

Jarvis (2013) Due to the evolution of the computer and its importance in education, CALL has become a necessity rather than a luxury. More people are electing to learn not only languages but also other areas of study using computers as their primary resource alongside other resources such as the internet that has transformed how people learn and embrace new ideas.

What is CALL?

Computer Assisted Learning Language (CALL) is an approach to learning and teaching language in which the computer and other computer-based resources such as the internet. The computer is used as an aid to the presentation, reinforcement, and assessment of material to be learned.

Types of CALL programs

1. Web-based learning programs; these are resources that are internet dependent they live on the internet and can be accessed from anywhere they include. online dictionaries, online encyclopedia, magazine sites, online concordances, wiki and many other resources examples of website offering CALL services is Randall’s ESL Cyber Listening Lab found online at (ICT4LT)

2. Generic Software: these are software that are of general use but supports learning of language learning they include word processors (Ms-Word or WordStar) presentation software (Power-point).Generic software also include web browsers such as Google Chrome

3. CALL software programs are software explicitly designed to facilitate language learning they usually employ a high degree of interactivity they include CD-Rom programs that must be installed to run.CALL software include language Lab software such as Senako lab available online at and FluentU also available online at (fluent)

4. Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) this is human communication that happens through electronic devices such as computers or other devices. CMC includes synchronous forms such as online chat, and asynchronous those include discussion forums email and message board.

Types of CALL activities


This activity involves two tables. Each table has a value form the language that the student understands that is related in a certain way to a value in the other table of the language that the student is trying to learn and the student has to find these two values on a computer and connect them to each other using arrows. Matching helps students learn new words in the new language much easier.

Multiple choice/ true or false quizzes

This is where a question is asked and then the student is given a range of possible answers from which to choose the correct answer.One among them is the right answer, they are usually more than and are marked using alphabets the user has to select the alphabet that represents the correct answer and highlight it at the expense of the rest of the answers

Crossword puzzles

The learner is given passages that are incomplete containing only a few characters, and then a description is provided that the learner has to consider while filling the puzzle. The puzzles are usually of the language the student is learning this challenges the student's brain and they have to think before answering the questions.

Writing and word processing

This activity in CALL allows the student to write what they learned in the new language using a word processor like ms-word or Word Star this facilitates memory and mastery of the new language. Writing is also used as a means to take tests on CALL programs to assess the level of the student in understanding their new language.

Gap filling exercises/ cloze

This is where paragraphs are written and some words omitted and left as gaps for the student to fill with the appropriate missing words. This assists the student to understand better the language they are learning using the CALL program since they have to understand the context of the paragraph to be able to fill it correctly.

Role of CALL in learning language

CALL acts as a tutor; it teaches the students language by the facilitation of a computer and the educational content it stores on the memory of a computer. It drills the skill in the students providing them with elaborations, detailed descriptions, and even examples so that the students can understand fully what the language entails.(Egbert and Hanson-Smith)

It also has a role in testing the students; CALL provides continuous tests to students on the areas they have already studied and then provides feedback and corrections explaining how the student can improve their mastery of language and also corrections for mistakes made.

CALL also works as a communication tool between students and even teachers because it has resources such as chat rooms where students can communicate with the other people in their quest to learn. Some teachers also communicate with their students on CALL programs to guide them on how to use the program more efficiently and also to provide additional information.

Writing is an essential aspect of learning a new language and CALL acts as a writing tool for students. It helps them improve their language skills through offering a medium where they can write

CALL as a data source; Computer Assisted Learning Language plays the role of providing learning materials for its users it stores the contents or retrieves them from other places like the internet and readily provides the material for its users the student seeking to learn a new language.

Limitations of CALL system

1. Increased Education Costs

Due to its dependence on computers, the CALL program increases education costs substantially. Call makes computers a basic requirement in education and not everybody can afford computers. Computers also depend on other factors such as electricity that bring extra cost to education ("Intro To CALL")

2. Need for Trained Teacher

Basic computer knowledge is necessary for teachers and students seeking to apply computer technology in learning new languages. These disadvantages teachers who do not have necessary computer technology.

3. Computers can’t provide individualized feedback

While teachers in traditional teaching can listen and guide their students in particular ways computers employed in CALL systems can only process pre-programmed messages that in some cases are not the specific answers sought by the student.

4. Limited CALL programs

The current CALL programs in the market are limited in functionality and though they are advantageous improvements still need to happen, but there is hope due to the fast rate at which artificial intelligence is being integrated into CALL systems

History of CALL

The evolution of CALL has been in a symbiotic relationship with the evolution of computer technology. The more the computer evolved so did CALL. The development of CALL can be classified into three major stages according to Mark Warschauer Behavioristic, Communicative and Integrative CALL (Warschauer)

Unlike the common belief that computer-assisted learning language is a new phenomenon, the History of Behavioristic CALL can be traced back to the late 1960s and early 1970s at this time computer-assisted learning language was confined to universities with advanced computer science departments where computer programs were developed on large mainframe computers. The big break for CALL though was in 1960 where the University of Illinois initiated the Programmed Logic for Automatic Teaching Operations (PLATO) which is a computer-based education system. With the advent of microcomputers in the early 1970s, came the second phase of CALL Communicative CALL. Computers were brought to a broader range of audience, as a result, the need and development of CALL programs continued with a flurry of publications such as books and journals. (Marty)

Early versions of call were based on the approach that dependent heavily on programmed instructions which were clearly reflected in the term Computer Assisted Language Instruction (CALI) that originated from the USA it was common use until early 1980 when Computer Assisted Learning Language (CALL) became the dominant term.

In 1984 Higgins and Johns published an influential seminal work that contained numerous examples of alternative approaches to CALL (Higgins and Johns). Throughout the rest of the 1980s and beyond CALL has evolved and embraced new technologies establishing itself as an area of great importance and research in higher education. Based on the latest technological advancements multimedia computers and multimedia internet technology illustrated in CD-ROM allows a variety of media such as graphics, text, and audio to be accessed on the same machine Integrative CALL has gained momentum which makes CALL an even more powerful tool.

Benefits of educational games

Despite the internet being regarded as a tool which has a detrimental effect on matters learning, there is a wide range of benefits that can be found for learners who use it accurately.

First, educational games increase one's memory capacity. This is because educational games challenge the mind and subject it to exercise. When playing a game such as hangman, an individual will have to remember certain aspects to progress and solve the game. One will have to remember plenty of words to solve the game. In close relation to this, is that one will have to be a master of the language which is beneficial to oneself since one will be more effective in communication during day to day life. The player also has to keep in mind specific critical sequences in the process of gaming to hack the game. All these activities all work together for the good of memory utility.

Secondly, educational gaming helps one in gaining fluency in using the computer. We cannot deny the fact that the world is becoming more and more computerized by the day. Going manual is right now a thing of the past and it is considered the rule of our modern times to know how to navigate the internet and gain the know-how of how to use the basic computer peripherals. This is the very reason why children should be introduced to the computer in the early stages of life and the best way to do this is to let them play educational games via the computer.

Third, these games help one in developing a strategic mind and consequently problem-solving. Strategy is needed in almost every sector and so are problem-solving skills. Strategic thinking is what is required to develop logic. Educational games help an individual to think a few steps ahead before undertaking a certain action. In doing this, an individual's creativity is stretched and put to the test and thus one is triggered to think outside the box. Apart from this you also need to have a high level of accuracy to complete levels and move forward in the games. All these are components of strong and positive thoughts.

Fourth on the list is that educational games provide an improvement in hand-eye coordination. This is because the game could require the person to use either a keyboard and a mouse or a gamepad in navigating the game. This is because the game could incorporate looking at the activity on the screen while simultaneously operating the keyboard or the gamepad. Keep in mind that this also allows the person to get tuned to how a computer works. All these are skills that better the psychomotor function of an individual which greatly involves coordination.

In addition to these, educational games go a long way in building different skills. There is a wide range of skills to be learned from practical thinking to map reading. For instance, mystery games could have maps which require being understood to progress in the game. Apart from these, there are also football management games which can enable one to develop skills of handling finances properly and general handling of projects. The list goes on and on, and for every game, there is at least a skill or two to be learned.

Educational games are a source of motivation and engagement in the process of learning. This is because games do not feel like all work but as a source of entertainment and gives the learner evens more motivation to learn. Everyone likes to play and have fun. In this way, the learner keeps coming back for more. This, therefore, should be a zone that every teacher should be willing to explore for better results and understanding of his or her learners.

How will educational games improve writing skills? (Hangman)

Hangman improves the vocabulary for the students these improve writing skills since it gives the student more words to enrich their writing language and they use alternatives to simple language.

Playing hangman also improves the coordination of words in writing when playing hangman using words that have a similar theme and organizing them you will improve word organization when doing actual writing enriching the flow of the document you are writing and also coordinating the use of different words correctly.

Spelling is improved by playing hangman because in the game you must use the correct spelling helping in eliminating similar spelling mistakes when doing writing on a different platform. You are most likely to remember the spelling of words you used during the game in your writing.

Hangman also primes a student to form word patens that are a crucial part of writing. Patterns also improve the logic of the student broadening their scope of thinking and viewing things which gives them the ability to write better.

The importance of vocabulary skill

Vocabulary skill is the art of mastering familiar words in one's language that can be used in place of each other to communicate and acquiring knowledge.

Vocabulary skill helps a student to communicate better with other people since they can elaborate what they mean for the other person to understand them better because they have several words at their disposal to use when expressing their emotions or events.

Vocabularies also facilitate the ability to grasp ideas faster and think more logically. The more the words a student has in their vocabulary, the better they will understand ideas and other

Persuasion power improves a student can use more words to describe emotions and events it helps them engage better in their conversations with others. Using similar words all over aging is not very interesting and can make the other person in a conversation to lose interest

Rich vocabularies also assist people to make great impressions and come across as bright and knowledgeable to others. ("Top 5 Reasons Learning Vocabulary Is Important")

Previous studies about games improving writing skills

A study conducted by Karlstad University in Sweden revealed that there is a positive relationship between English writing skills and gaming the study focusses on essays that students wrote during the 9th-grade exam as part of the national test in English. Pia Sundqvist an associate professor in English at Karlstad University investigated how Swedish teenagers who play computer games performed on English essay writing in school and what grades they received. The findings of the study are listed below.

The results showed that regular gamers had advance vocabulary as compared to their counterparts who did not play games regularly; regular gamers achieved more marks than their counterparts

Professor Sundqvist also added that students who were frequent gamers used more advanced and difficult English words compared to their peers and that their essays were fascinating and more detailed.

In conclusion, the associate professor concluded that educational games improve the writing skill of students. ("Gaming Advances Swedish Teenagers’ English Writing Skills")


Computer Assisted Learning Language (CALL) is a concept that has revolutionized how people can learn and teach new languages. Even though it has some disadvantages, the advantages greatly outweigh the disadvantages making the CALL an essential tool for learning language.


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"The Importance Of Teaching And Learning Vocabulary English Language Essay." UKEssays. N.p., 2017. Web. 16 Nov. 2017.

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ICT4LT. "English Module 1.4." N.p., 2017. Web. 16 Nov. 2017.

November 17, 2022

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