Perceptions of Iranian EFL Learners towards Learning Language through Computers: An Investigation on the TOEFL (Paper and Computer Based) Test

Document Type: Original Article


Faculty of Persian Literature and Foreign Languages, Islamic Azad University, South Tehran Branch, Tehran, Iran/ Faculty of Education, University Of Tasmania (UTAS), Australia


Computer technology has influenced the realm of language teaching and testing so drastically that no language teaching program could be imagined nowadays without the use digitized software and mul- timedia. This study aims at investigating Iranian EFL learners' performance on paper-based test com- pared with their performance on computer-based test while considering their attitudes towards the computer and learning language through computer. The sample selected for this study consisted of 205 Iranian male and female EFL learners, having been selected randomly from some language insti- tutes and colleges, their age ranging from 17 to 27 years. To materialize the objectives of the study, the researchers used three research instruments: a test in two versions, a questionnaire and an inter- view. The Objective Placement Test (one computer-based and the other paper-based) including, lis- tening, reading and language use was given to participants in two separate administrations. The for- mat of the computer-based version of the test was designed by the researchers so that it could be the same as that of the paper-based version and could have the same level of practicality. The question- naire was based on Min (1998), designed to measure the participants' attitudes towards the computer in general and computer-based language learning in particular. To confirm the questionnaire data, an interview was also randomly conducted with 20 learners. It was found that Iranian EFL learners are mostly exposed to paper-based tests. The findings revealed that although learners showed positive attitude towards computer-based tests and digitized language learning, they performed better on the paper-based test than on the computer-based test.