Does technical assessment matter? Functionality and usability testing of websites for ESL/EFL autonomous learners
Given the social impact and the transformation of the teaching–learning process enhanced by new technologies, online language learning has been established as a field of study that has been approached primarily from the perspective of pedagogical themes. In the context of the LinguApp research project developed at the University of Córdoba (Spain),1 we aim to evaluate the technical quality of a group of English teaching websites for self-directed learning. The analysis is based on functionality and usability aspects through the use of a specifically designed checklist, created and preliminarily implemented in the early development phase of this study. To complete the design of the checklist before external validation, we offer a comparative study of four renowned websites from the LinguApp corpus: ESOLCourses, BBC, British Council and Cambridge English.2 These preliminary results allow to identify the strengths and weaknesses of these language learning websites by subjecting the data to qualitative and quantitative analysis, while they shed light on the need to strengthen web performance and so reinforce autonomous language students’ experience.
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