research projects


Research constitutes an essential aspect of the CLT’s mission. To fulfill this mission, the CLT is actively involved in conducting and supporting research projects, securing extramural funding, and disseminating knowledge and research findings through publicationsconference presentations, and workshops.

One aspect of the CLT’s mission entails supporting research on technology-enhanced instructional materials, resources, and innovative pedagogical approaches that are relevant to the curricular areas of the College of LLL. To fulfill this mission, the CLT is involved in research in three main ways: (a) research initiatives in the College of LLL are supported by the CLT either through intellectual contributions from CLT staff or through the design or maintenance of suitable spaces; (b) CLT faculty pursue research agendas that overlap with the mission of the CLT; and (c) CLT faculty engage in research initiatives supported by sponsored funding, such as the LRC or Flagship programs. Below is a list of projects that include research components. See also CLT Publications, CLT Presentations and Workshops, and Funding.


Project-Based Language Learning: Iterative Curriculum Development and Improvement in Vietnamese

Project-Based Learning (PBL) presents particular challenges to language educators. For example, the low levels of communicative proficiency that characterize the beginning learner presents challenges that are unique to this particular academic area. The purpose of this project is to develop curriculum that is entirely based on the premise of a PBLL approach which can serve as both a resource and example to language teachers. This curriculum development project follows a design-based research approach. The curriculum design is tested in an actual classroom and then revised using relevant learner and instructor data. The final product will be made available to the profession as an open educational resource. This project is funded by the National Foreign Language Resource Center and the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, both at the University of Hawai‘i.

Evaluating blended language learning in the English Language Institute

The purpose of this project was to conduct a meso-level evaluation of blended learning in the English Language Institute (ELI). Data from semi-structured interviews with ELI administrators and course instructors, student surveys, class observations, and ELI documentation were obtained and analyzed in Spring 2015 using an argument-based approach to blended language program evaluation. The findings of this research project led to the development of the Exploring Blended Learning series offered by the CLT. For more information about the evaluation project, see Gruba, P., Cárdenas-Claros, M. S., Suvorov, R., & Rick, K. (2016). Blended language program evaluation. London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Development of language learner autonomy in adaptive learning systems

The purpose of this project that involved collaboration between the CLT and Iowa State University was to investigate affordances and constraints offered by adaptive learning systems (ALS) for the development of second language (L2) learner autonomy. Conducted in Spring 2015, this study examined responses from 35 learners of Spanish elicited via online surveys, semi-structured interviews, and focus groups administered at two different points in the semester. The data analyzed in the framework of Activity Theory revealed that the division of labor and the rules embedded in the design of the two ALS were perceived to offer both affordances and constraints for developing learner autonomy. For more information about this project, see Suvorov, R., & Carrillo, A. (2017, forthcoming). Development of language learner autonomy in adaptive learning systems. CALICO 2017 Special Issue on Learner Autonomy and Web 2.0.

Investigating test-taking processes and strategies during a computer-based Michigan English Test (MET): Evidence from eye tracking

The main objective of this research project is to explore test-taking processes and strategies used by English language learners at UH-Mānoa during their interaction with prompts and items from the Reading and Listening sections of MET. Using the convergence model of the data triangulation design, this study employed eye-tracking technology in the LUX Lab to collect eye-movement data from 15 participants while they were completing the computer-based MET test items and cued retrospective reporting to elicit participants’ reasons for individual response patterns. This research project is funded by Cambridge Michigan Language Assessment (CaMLA) through the 2016 Spaan Research Grant Program.

Utilizing electroencephalography (EEG) in research on second language assessment: An exploratory study of language learners’ cognitive states

The purpose of this exploratory study conducted in the LUX Lab is to investigate non-native English speakers’ cognitive states of “interest” and “engagement” during computer-based L2 listening assessment tasks, and to examine how these states relate to their perceptions and performance on such tasks. By leveraging the ability of EEG technology to measure and record participants’ brain signals, this study combines the use of perceptual data from retrospective interviews with EEG-derived neurophysiological data to explore the potential of EEG methodology for studying the validity of the interpretations and uses of test scores obtained via computer-based L2 assessment instruments and for providing insights into the constructs measured by such instruments. This research project is funded through the UH Endowment for the Humanities 2016 Summer Research Grant.