Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2011

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Second Language Acquisition

First Advisor

Liskin-Gasparro, Judith

First Committee Member

Alessi, Stephen M

Second Committee Member

Schuh, Kathy L

Third Committee Member

Spencer, Bruce H

Fourth Committee Member

Maxey, James J

Fifth Committee Member

Woodworth, George


This dissertation study examined a broad question of whether computer-based grammar tutorials are effective and welcome tools to review grammar for language learners by investigating effects of three different modes of such tutorials on learners' knowledge and satisfaction. For this study, I developed experimental tutorials in three different modes (a static text with a voice-over narration, an animated text with a voice-over narration, and a recording of a real teacher) for two target structures of German grammar (regular verb conjugation and separable-prefix verbs).

In total, there were more than 100 Elementary German students at two Midwestern universities, who participated in different stages of the study. The participants represented a mostly homogeneous group with characteristics that are common for college-level learners.

There were two parallel experiments in this study that employed identical methods but focused on two different target structures. Thus, both experiments examined the effect of the three study tutorials on learners' knowledge and satisfaction, but Experiment 1 focused on the regular verb conjugation, whereas Experiment 2 focused on the separable-prefix verbs. For each experiment, the participants completed a pretest, worked with the assigned tutorial mode, completed a posttest, and filled out a number of questionnaires.

The results of the analysis demonstrated that the study tutorials helped learners to significantly improve their knowledge of grammar; however, the mode of the tutorial did not make a difference. Likewise, all modes of tutorial received similar satisfaction ratings; however, additional qualitative analysis suggested that a considerable number of the participants preferred the animated mode.

The findings of the study demonstrate that computer-based grammar tutorials can be effective and welcome tools to review grammar for language learners. Moreover, tutorials of this type can be a viable method of achieving the desired balance between the form- and meaning-focused activities in language classrooms. Also, such tutorials appeal to learners because they support more individualized learning.


animation, computer-based tutorial, explicit grammar, German, recording of a teacher


xiii, 264 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 206-219).


Copyright 2011 Anna Kolesnikova