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The Pedagogical, Linguistic, and Content Features of Popular English Language Learning Websites in China: A Framework for Analysis and Design

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As increasing numbers of Chinese language learners choose to learn English online, there is a need to investigate popular websites and their language learning designs. This paper reports on the first stage of a study that analyzed the pedagogical, linguistic, and content features of 25 Chinese English Language Learning (ELL) websites ranked according to their value and importance to users. The website ranking was undertaken using a system known as PageRank. The aim of the study was to identify the features characterizing popular sites as opposed to those of less popular sites for the purpose of producing a framework for ELL website design in the Chinese context. The study found that a pedagogical focus with developmental instructional materials accommodating diverse proficiency levels was a major contributor to website popularity. Chinese language use for translations and teaching directives and intermediate level English for learning materials were also significant features. Content topics included Anglophone/Western and non-Anglophone/Eastern contexts. Overall, popular websites were distinguished by their mediation of access to and scaffolded support for ELL.


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