You are here:

Language Learning through Social Networks: Perceptions and Reality

, University of California, Irvine, United States

University of California, Irvine . Awarded


A growing number of people study languages online, and little is known about their attitudes toward this new learning approach, what practices they engage in, or what kinds of interaction they are involved in. This dissertation investigates users' attitudes, practices, and interactions on the largest language-learning social network site, Livemocha. Through a survey of 4,173 diverse users of the site as well as 20 case studies of individuals, this dissertation has yielded three main findings: 1) there is high attrition among Livemocha participants; 2) users who persist enjoy the environment and feel they are making progress, but linguistic analysis suggests that this perceived progress is not significant; and 3) the ways in which participants make use of Livemocha affect their progress. The study hints at the potential of online learning, given the generally positive regard participants have for the Livemocha environment, but it also shows its limitations, since most learners drop out or show only limited gains. The study suggests that if online education is to play a positive role in the teaching and learning of English and other languages, learners will need support, guidance, and well-structured activities to ensure the kinds of participation and linguistic interaction that can lead to success. These findings have implications for developers, educators, and researchers.


Lin, C.H. Language Learning through Social Networks: Perceptions and Reality. Ph.D. thesis, University of California, Irvine. Retrieved October 22, 2019 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 22, 2013. [Original Record]

Citation reproduced with permission of ProQuest LLC.

For copies of dissertations and theses: (800) 521-0600/(734) 761-4700 or