Exploration of university students’ lived experiences of using smartphones for English language learning

Yujuan Luo, Mike Watts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This study aimed to understand the nature of learning English in the digital age from students’ personal ‘learning lives’. Drawing on hermeneutic phenomenology’s principles, this study conducted conversational interviews and obtained reflective reports from students over 5 months. The findings reveal that students’ English learning experiences are sociocultural processes involving a complex interplay between learner agency, other agents, the cultural practices using smartphones, and the wider context. Furthermore, learning English using smartphones facilitates an approach to it or Computer Assisted Language Learning that embraces ‘anytime’ and ‘anywhere’ learning and involves a seamless integration of personal, social, formal, and informal learnings. Therefore, we propose smartphone-assisted English language learning (SAELL), addressing smartphone use for learning English, based on qualitative data and recent trends in the field. Future research should include rich qualitative evidence to support the SAELL framework in practice in multiple empirical settings. Empirical studies are mostly applied within university settings; however, the practical implications have more relevance to students, teachers, educators, and policymakers who may be involved in shaping novel smartphone learning spaces for formal and informal contexts.
Original languageEnglish
JournalComputer Assisted Language Learning
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022


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