Developing University Students' English reading and listening skills through online language learning

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Julia Chen
Juliana Chau
Grace Lim
Voyce Li


The panoply of technological applications in diverse educational contexts signals a necessity for continued inquiry into online language learning (OLL), especially in relation to its impact on different learner populations whose perception and acceptance of OLL can vary across settings. This pilot study involved over 200 Chinese students in a Hong Kong university and examined their OLL experience with respect to online activities that provided reading and listening skills practice. Results of the study suggest the easy availability of internet resources can greatly amplify students’ OLL experience, while raising four challenges in the areas of online materials development, student motivation, pedagogy-technology interface, and intercultural communicative competence.  Possible ways of tackling such challenges are outlined. The article concludes with a view that successful OLL needs to be predicated on a tripartite framework of hardware, software and humanware. 


Key words: Online language learning. Technology-enhanced language learning. English reading and listening skills.

Detalles del artículo

Biografía del autor/a

Julia Chen, Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Dr Julia Chen ( is Associate Director of the English Language Centre in The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and the Chair of her faculty’s Learning and Teaching Committee.  She is a two-time recipient of her university’s Excellent Award, in Teaching and Services respectively.  Her current projects focus on English across the curriculum, e-learning, longitudinal evaluation of university requirements and the development of a support system to facilitate university students’ academic success.

Juliana Chau, Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Dr Juliana Chau ( is a Senior Teaching Fellow in the English Language Centre at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. She has been responsible for coordinating a range of English language courses and language enhancement initiatives. Her main research interests include second language pedagogy and technology-enhanced learning. She has published widely in international peer-reviewed journals, including the British Journal of Educational Technology and the English Language Teaching Journal

Grace Lim, Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Grace Lim ( is a Teaching Fellow in the English Language Centre at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University where she coordinates several discipline specific courses and the Excel@ English Scheme.  She is involved in projects related to Writing Across the Curriculum and on-line language learning. She is currently reading a PhD in discourse analysis at the University of Hong Kong

Voyce Li, Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Dr Voyce Li ( received her DBA with distinction in Global Corporate Governance and Social Responsibility, Relationship Marketing, and International Business Strategy from the University of Newcastle, Australia, in 2012. Her doctoral thesis focused on organizational behaviour. She joined the English Language Centre, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, in 2001, as a web professional to support eLearning and her research interest is assessment for eLearning. 


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