Effectiveness and Acceptance of Web 2.0 Technologies in the Studies of English for Specific Purposes in Higher Education
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The doctoral dissertation aims at expanding the existing body of knowledge about the significance of Web 2.0 technologies in higher education, including the sphere of teaching and learning English for Specific Purposes (ESP). It explores the peculiarities of their effective use in ESP studies and analyses drivers influencing the acceptance of these technologies from ESP students’ perspective. The empirical part of the dissertation employs a quantitative research methodology and a quasi-experimental design to investigate the educational effectiveness of a selected Web 2.0 technology CmapTools on ESP students’ achievements in vocabulary acquisition and reading comprehension in a blended-ESP course taught at two higher education institutions in Lithuania. It also tries to determine factors influencing the participants’ behavioural intentions to use or not to use the technology in the future. Research findings imply that the technology proved to be highly effective for developing the participants’ ESP vocabulary acquisition: the experimental groups who were learning through the use of scaffolded CmapTools procedures, improved their results at the end of the treatment and outperformed the control groups who received conventional instructions. However, when using it for developing their ESP reading comprehension, the students in experimental groups ended up showing no significant improvement. Resting on Technology Acceptance Model (TAM), three types of factors, exerting influence on ESP students’ behavioural intention to use CmapTools were identified. They were related to TAM constructs, additional construct of awareness and several contextual/ individual factors.