71% of the online school’s students improved their English proficiency by one college semester, as gauged by the WebCAPE level tests
Barcelona, May 2017 – Can you effectively learn English through an online course? Researchers from the Polytechnic University of Valencia and the Pompeu Fabra University of Barcelona conducted an independent study on the efficacy of ABA English’s method with 241 Spanish, Italian, and Brazilian students. This is the first study of its kind researching the efficacy of learning English online, since other similar studies have all been conducted with the Spanish language.
The results demonstrate that ABA English’s method works: 71.4% of the students improved their English at least one level, equivalent to one college semester.
Moreover, nearly half of the participants (47%) improved by as much as two levels. The number of students who progressed two levels is larger (113 people) than those who only jumped one level (59 people):
Methodology: The study’s participants completed 24 ABA English course units in a maximum time of three months, at the end of which their learning advancement was gauged. Their progress was measured empirically by taking a placement pre-test (before starting the ABA course), and a post-test upon completion. This test was conducted with the external tool WebCAPE, which is extensively used worldwide to assess the English proficiency of foreign students and thus place them in the appropriate level -or college semester- at an American university.
71.4% of the ABA research participants needed 40 hours on average to improve by at least one semester. However, in the same number of hours, almost half of the participants (47%) improved the equivalent of two semesters, not just one. It is therefore evident that this group only needed 20 hours of study time with ABA to improve their English proficiency by one college semester.
Since a university semester is estimated to take 144 to 162 hours, it is plain to see that learning English online with ABA English is effective and efficient. Investing a quarter of the time, ABA English students can progress as much with the language as they would in an entire college semester.
“The empirical results are unequivocal: with ABA English, a broad majority of learners improve their English proficiency, advancing at least one full level in a moderate time frame,” confirmed the researcher, Dr. Patrick Zabalbeascoa, from the UPF. “It was striking to see that almost half of the sample managed to improve by two levels, an advancement that represents really remarkable progress in such a short learning period.”
Motivation, expectations, and technological affinity
The motivation to learn English, especially linked to professional needs but also related to personal reasons (culture, travel, and personal challenge), was shown to be a decisive factor to achieve the best progress. Students with these motivations obtained significantly better results than others.
The investigation also revealed that students with a more negative self-perception of their aptitude to learn English obtained worse results than those who had a more positive self-image regarding their ability to learn the language.
Another interesting finding relates to the relationship between higher success rates and learner affinity to technology. Learners who stated they use the internet and technological tools daily obtained significantly better results than those who admitted to use them less frequently.
Regarding the demographic profiles of the participants of this international study –nationality, mother tongue, educational background, sex, and age– there were no significant improvements related to any of these variables. In other words, the ABA English course is equally effective regardless of native language, age, or education level of the learner.
The learning experience: very satisfying
“The overall learner satisfaction of the participants is extremely high,” writes Dr. Zabalbeascoa in his conclusions. “User feedback is overwhelmingly positive, regardless of the improvement actually achieved.”
The post-questionnaire responses upon completing the ABA course provided insights about the learners’ satisfaction with the experience. Both overall and in detailed results, the learners’ opinion of their experience was highly positive:
- 98% found the course useful and relevant.
- 97% were satisfied with the use of short films as pivotal learning material.
- 5% found the ABA course easy to use.
- 97% were happy to be able to monitor their own progress.
- 100% would recommend the ABA English course.