Abstract—Embedded in interactive and participatory Web
2.0 applications, the complex experiences of English as a foreign
language (EFL) learners in the digital age have triggered
considerable interest in mobile-assisted language learning
(MALL). Abundant research notwithstanding, much remains to
be explored in MALL, leaving unknown the multifaceted effects
of specific technological applications on various aspects of
learning. Placed in China’s higher education context, the
present mixed-methods study characterised by an exploratory
sequential design intends to fill this gap by focusing on TikTok
use in EFL learning. The initial qualitative study indicated EFL
learners’ contrasting perceptions of TikTok use in formal
learning, centring on its possible effects on global language
proficiency, speaking proficiency and affective learning typified
by motivation for general language learning, motivation to
speak English volitionally and willingness to communicate.
Further quantitative research demonstrated that MALL,
wherein TikTok was used to supplement classroom-based
teaching, did not exert the profound effects on language
learning as suggested by the qualitative participants and in
previous literature and that learners were less motivated for
English learning and communication, though their extrinsic
motivation in speaking English increased. Despite the
contradiction between these findings with previous ones, this
preliminary study is assumed to be significant as it necessitates
a critical attitude towards MALL in general and
TikTok-assisted EFL learning in particular, encouraging
researchers to re-examine these issues in different
socio-educational contexts and urging educators to ponder
whether it is sensible to implement MALL with the assistance of
digital applications, and if so, how to make it as efficacious as
Index Terms—Mobile-assisted language learning, web 2.0 tools, English language education, English as a foreign language, TikTok.
Hengzhi Hu is with the Faculty of Education, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Malaysia (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Kehan Du is with Faculty of Education, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Malaysia, and School of International Education, Henan University of Engineering, China (e-mail: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org).
Cite: Hengzhi Hu and Kehan Du, "TikTok in Mobile-Assisted English Language Learning: An Exploratory Study," International Journal of Information and Education Technology vol. 12, no. 12, pp. 1311-1320, 2022.
Copyright © 2022 by the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).