Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership, Research and Counseling

First Advisor

S. Kim MacGregor


This qualitative case study explored the implementation of computer-assisted language learning (CALL) in an ESL program serving adult refugees and immigrants from Vietnam. The case consisted of two sub-cases: implementation of CALL in the beginners' class and implementation of CALL in the advanced beginners' class. The investigation, which lasted 46 weeks, was intense and holistic. The researcher was also the administrator of the refugee program. The research methodology used was largely qualitative in design, so that an emic understanding of how the innovation impacted the actors and brought about change in the learning environment could be constructed. Quantitative research methods were employed to clarify patterns in the data that had emerged during fieldwork. Three main areas of inquiry emerged during the research process, which can be grouped according to issues having to do with the following: implementing CALL; teaching with CALL; and learning with CALL. In each of these areas the main focus of inquiry became the perspective of one of the three groups of actors who composed the case, i.e. the administrator, the teachers and the students, respectively. Major findings indicated that the implementation of the innovation required the administrator to assume new organizational roles involving the coordination of the target system. During the implementation process it became apparent that good teaching was essential in making the most effective use of CALL, and that training in second language pedagogy needed to be incorporated into CALL workshops. The addition of the computer lab to the physical environment of learning necessitated major changes in the logistics of learning, which led to changes in the organization and content of classroom lessons. The two project teachers' perceptions of the importance of CALL in how they viewed themselves as teachers and planned their lessons differed considerably. Most students enjoyed and felt they benefited from studying English with computers. However, older students with very low English proficiency were unable to sustain an interest in CALL. Factors that appeared to play a role in engaging and maintaining student interest in CALL included student motivation, age, English proficiency, previous education, and compatibility of lab partners.