Seminars & Colloquia

Helen Zhao

Chinese University of Hong Kong

"Cognitive Tutoring for English as a Second Language: Connecting Applied Linguistics with Learning Sciences"

Monday October 16, 2017 12:00 PM
Location: 3211, EB2 NCSU Centennial Campus
(Visitor parking instructions)


Abstract: A recent trend in research of computer-assisted language learning (CALL) is to incorporate established experimental methodology as well as new methods in learning sciences to produce demonstrable improvements in second language (L2) learning. This new method is referred to as eCALL (experimentalized CALL). The design of eCALL tutoring systems are motivated by theories and models of second language acquisition and cognitive psychology. The systems are implemented as online platforms that incorporate learner modeling. This talk introduces three empirical experiments that examined the effectiveness of three versions of an eCALL tutor that provided training on English article usage for L2 learners in China and Singapore. The Article Tutor was designed based on the Competition Model, a psycholinguistic model for language acquisition. The tutor incorporated a Bayesian knowledge tracing model to achieve individualized student tracking and adaptive learning. Data were analyzed through behavioral measurements and methods of educational data mining. The studies generated significant theoretical and pedagogical implications in second language learning.

Short Bio: Helen Zhao is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Her research interests include second language acquisition, cognitive linguistics, pedagogical grammar, computer assisted language learning, and second language writing. Her work has appeared in Language Learning, The Modern Language Journal, International Journal of Learner Corpus Research, Journal of Second and Multiple Language Acquisition. Her work on computer-based language instruction is transferred to online learning tools available to second language learners (

Host: Collin Lynch, CSC

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