ICT Tools Patterns of Use among Malaysian ESL Undergraduates

Siew Ming Thang, Kean Wah Lee, Puvaneswary Murugaiah, Nurjanah Mohd Jaafar, Choon Keong Tan, Nurul Iman Ahmad Bukhari


The proposal to undertake major reforms in universities to cater to the need of the so-called “digital natives” has revealed the belief that there is a homogenous generation of university students highly skilled in the usage of technology is untrue. Instead these students seem more inclined to use technology for social rather than academic purposes. In Malaysia, the use of technology in learning English as Second Language (ESL) has generally been well received. However the characteristics of the “digital natives” have not been clearly defined until recently when Thang et al. (2014) undertook a study to investigate patterns of ICT use of students in a public university in Malaysia. Their findings are somewhat similar to those of other countries but they differ in that they found students show a preference for the teacher-centred approach. The current study extends on this by undertaking a study involving four different types of public universities. A questionnaire designed by the research team was used to collect data which were analysed quantitatively using SPSS.  The findings revealed that students from all four universities generally felt that technology is useful for learning ESL. However, their usage is more for recreation than for learning ESL. It further revealed that the teachers used technology only moderately, but the students still felt that their teachers are competent in the use of technology. This shows their unwillingness to criticize their teachers openly.  However, there were some variations which suggest that students from older research universities are more self-reliant and students from newer universities are more receptive to the use of technology for learning ESL.



digital natives; technology and learning; perceptions of technology use; teacher-centeredness; ICT needs and use

Full Text:



Afendi Hamat, Mohamed Amin Embi, & Haslinda Abu Hassan. (2012). The Use of Social Networking Sites among Malaysian University Students. International Education Studies. 5(3), 56-66.

Bingimlas, K. (2009). Barriers to the Successful Integration of ICT in Teaching and Learning Environments: A Review of the Literature. EURASIA Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education. 5(3), 235-245.

Chong, C.K., Sharaf Horani, & Jacob Daniel. (2005). A Study on the Use of ICT in Mathematics Teaching. Malaysian Online Journal of Instructional Technology. 2(3), 43-51.

Corrin, L., Lockyer, L. & Bennett, S. (2010). Technological Diversity: An Investigation of Students’ Technology Use in Everyday Life and Academic Study. Learning, Media and Technology. 35(4), 387-401.

Cummins, J. (1996). Language Proficiency, Bilingualism and Academic Achievement. In P. A. Richard-Amato, (Ed.). Making It Happen: Interaction in the Second Language Classroom: From Theory to Practice (pp. 429-442). White Plains, NY: Longman.

Fraenkel, J., Wallen, N., & Hyun, H. (2012). How to Design and Evaluate Research in Education. McGraw Hill: New York.

Hew, K. F. (2011). Students’ and Teachers’ Use of Facebook. Computers in Human Behavior. 27(2), 662-676.

Hew, K., & Brush, T. (2007). Integrating Technology into K-12 Teaching and Learning: Current Knowledge Gaps and Recommendations for Future Research. Educational Technology Research and Development. 55(3), 223-252.

Jones, C., & Shao, B. (2011). The Net Generation and Digital Natives: Implications for Higher Education. Higher Education Academy, York. Retrieved October 2, 2013 from http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/assets/documents/learningandtech/next-generation-and-digital-natives.pdf

Jones, C., Ramanau, R., Cross, S., & Healing, G. (2010). Net Generation or Digital Natives: Is There a Distinct Generation Entering University? Computer & Education. 54(3), 722-732.

Kaur, K., & Abas, Z. (2004). An Assessment of E-learning Readiness at the Open University Malaysia. Paper presented at The International Conference on Computers in Education (ICCE2004). Australia: Melbourne.

Kennedy, G., Judd, T., Churchward, A., & Gray, K. (2008). First Year Students’ Experiences with Technology: Are They Really Digital Natives? Australasian Journal of Educational Technology. 24(1), 108-122.

Kolikant, Y. (2010). Digital Natives, Better Learners? Students’ Beliefs about How The Internet Influenced Their Ability to Learn. Computers in

Human Behavior. 26(2010), 1384-1391.

Kvavik, R. & Caruso, J. (2005). ECAR Study of Students and Information Technology 2005: Convenience, Connection, Control, and Learning. CO: EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research. Retrieved October 2, 2013 from http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ers0506/rs/ERS0506w.pdf

Kvavik, R., Caruso, J., & Morgan, G. (2004). ECAR Study of Student and Information Technology, 2004: Convenience, Connection and Control (Research Study, Vol. 5). Boulder, CO: EDUCAUSE Center for Applied

Research. Retrieved October 2, 2013 from


Lacina, J. (2004). Promoting Language Acquisitions: Technology and English Language Learners. Childhood Education. 81(2), 113-115.

Madge, M., Meek, J., Wellens, J., & Hooley, T. (2009). Facebook, Social Integration and Informal Learning at University: ‘It is More for Socialising and Talking to Friends about Work than for Actually Doing Work’. Learning, Media and Technology. 34(2), 141-155.

Malaysia Ministry of Higher Education (2007). Pelan Strategik Pengajian Tinggi Negara Melangkaui Tahun 2020. Malaysia Ministry of Higher Education: Malaysia.

Margaryan, A, Littlejohn, A., & Vojt, G. (2011). Are Digital Natives a Myth or Reality? University Students’ Use of Digital Technologies. Computers & Education. 56(2), 429-440.

Mohamed Amin Embi. (2012). The Use of Learning Management Systems among Malaysian University Lecturers. The International Journal of Learning. 18(4), 61-70.

Nurjanah Mohd Jaafar, & Thang, S. M. (2013). Revisiting Autonomy and Attributions: A Case in a Malaysian University. GEMA Online® Journal of Language Studies. 13(2), 41-64.

Nafiseh Zarei, & Supyan Hussin. (2014). Impact of Learning Management Blog on Students’ Language Learning and Acquisition. GEMA Online® Journal of Language Studies. 14(3), 51-63.

Nor Aziah Alias, & Ahmad Marzuki Zainuddin. (2005). Innovation for Better Teaching and Learning: Adopting the Learning Management System. Malaysian Online Journal of Instructional Technology. 2(2), 27-

Prensky, M. (2001). “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants Part 1”, On the Horizon. 9(5), 1-6.

Selwyn, N. (2009). Faceworking: Exploring Students’ Education-related Use of Facebook. Learning, Media and Technology. 34(2), 157-174.

Siti Rafidah Muhamat Dawam, Khairul Adilah Ahmad, Kamaruzaman Yusoff, Taniza Tajuddian, Shamsul Jamel Elias, & Suhardi Wan Mansor. (2009). The Use of ICT in Public and Private Institutes of Higher Learning, Malaysia. Computer and Information Science. 2(4), 122-128.

Smith, E. (2012). The Digital Native Debate in Higher Education: A Comparative Analysis of Recent Literature. Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology. 38(3), 1-18.

Smith, S., & Caruso, J. (2010). ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2010 (Research Study, Vol. 6). Boulder, CO: EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research, 2010. Retrieved October 3, 2013 from http://anitacrawley.net/Resources/Reports/ECAR%20study%20highlights.pdf

Thang, S.M. (2012). A critical view of Malaysian ESL undergraduates’ readiness for autonomy and its implication for Malaysian education curriculum. In Y. L. Koo & Hazita Azman, (Eds.). Language and Literacy in Multilingual Contexts: Issues and Challenges (pp. 157-172). Bangi: Penerbit Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

Thang, S.M. & Azarina Alias. (2007). Investigating Readiness for Autonomy: A Comparison of Malaysian Undergraduates of three public universities. Reflections of ELT Journal. 7(1), 1-18.

Thang, S.M. & Bidmeshki, L. (2010). Investigating the Perceptions of UKM Undergraduates towards an English for Science and Technology Online Course. Computer Assisted Language Learning Journal. 23(1), 1-20.

Thang, S.M., Najihah Mahmud, & Norizan Abd Razak. (2012). The Use of Wireless Technology in UKM: Challenges Faced and Its Impact on English Language Learning. 3L: Language Linguistics Literature®, Southeast Asian Journal of English Language Studies. 18(1), 129-143.

Thang, S.M., Nurjanah Jaafar, Nambiar, R., Zaini Amir, & Wong, F. F. (2014). Are Malaysian Undergraduates ‘Digital Natives’ in the True Sense of the Word? A Quantitative Analysis. 3L: Language Linguistics Literature®, Southeast Asian Journal of English Language Studies. 20(1), 177-191.

Thinyane, H. (2010). Are Digital Natives a World-wide Phenomenon? An Investigation into South African First Year Students’ Use and Experience with Technology. Computers & Education. 55(1), 406-414.

Thompson, P. (2013). The Digital Natives as Learners: Technology Use Patterns and Approaches to Learning. Computers & Education. 65, 12-33.


  • There are currently no refbacks.




eISSN : 2550-2131

ISSN : 1675-8021