Table of Contents
Introduction: Nowadays, virtual space is a typical environment in learning context. To use it in learning process, Telegram is the most famous online E-learning tool among Iranian students, and it has established an online platform for English learners. Accordingly, this study aims to investigate students’ perspectives toward telegram as an E-learning tool in EGP context in UMSU.
Methods: To this end, an online questionnaire was designed and conducted in a Telegram to investigate students’ perspectives toward Telegram in using four different components of English including reading, writing, listening, and speaking in EGP context. The participants of this study were 300 (150 male and 150 female) students, equally 100 students (50 males and 50 females) from three faculties of medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy.
Results: The findings revealed that Telegram can bring technological and pedagogical advantages for EFL learners, and majority of students in UMSU prefer to use it for reading and writing components.
Conclusion: According to learners’ statements, it has also a significantly positive effect on the development of vocabulary learning in EFL context as a online E-learning tool. The findings of present study are considered to be useful in language pedagogy and methodology.
Keywords: Perspectives, Telegram, E-learning, EGP, Language components
The invention of electronic sources has established a new channel in communication among the people all around the world. According to Richardson and Hessey , social networks as the most significant and challengeable tools have paved the way in integrating of technology with communication in recent decades, and have created suitable facilities in individuals association. For instance, Facebook as one of the most popular social networks plays an impressive role in people interaction . Furthermore, social networks are so helpful in sharing information among teachers, learners and their classmates , and enhancing cooperation among them .
Nowadays, technology-assisted tools such as social network channels play an important role in information exchange, specifically in pedagogy and instructional contexts. As Lin and Yuan  state, one crucial feature of social networks that acts a powerful role in communication is its effect on language learning. In addition, Harrison and Thomas  confirms that social networking has created an effective connection between language learning and communication, significantly in online foreign language learning .
Srinivas  also states that social networking as a communication tool between instructors and learners is effective in exchanging information and learning of English, and is a supportive tool in language learning , mainly because of everyone’s time each individual student spent on social network sites . Furthermore, These tools are also an effective approach in helping learners to establish self-monitoring capacity in their own language use  and improve their engagement and learning capability specially as they feel embarrassed, and pave the way in uttering their own ideas in a more comfortable way .
There are several on line social networks all around the world which are used commonly by different group of people. One of the most popular social networks among Iranians which was designed in 2013 is Telegram, and a large number of people who use this online tool increased day by day in Iran, and the young are the most popular online group among them . Different online channels in Telegram are used by different group of people, and it is the most dominant online communication tool in Iran now. It has also created an innovative concept in schooling and instructing especially in language learning context .
The most significant feature besides the use of social network applications is the kind of learners’ preferences in using its different components. According to Boyd and Ellison , the nature of every individual’s connection in online based services is different from another, and there is much debate about it. Among different components of language (reading, writing, listening and speaking), reading is the most preferred one mostly because of available portable devices such as mobile and tablet  but According to Shonfeld and Meishar-Tal , boys’ on-screen reading and writing are more than girls. Therefore, by considering a number of factors such as age, gender that influence learners’ preferences, it is crucial to investigate their beliefs and preferences in using different components of language.
The present study aims to investigate Medical students’ beliefs about Telegram as an E-learning tool in Using Different Components of English Language in UMSU to find out which one of English language components (reading, writing, listening and speaking) is primarily used by students in English channels of Telegram, and to what extend it is effective on improving different skills and components of English language from EFL students’ perspectives.
Nowadays, internet has principal effect on communication and information sharing, and it has changed into a dynamic information resource in creating online interaction and information exchange among people by means of different social websites. This cooperative association has been launched by the development of online social networking in worldwide web system , and they affect every individual’s life in all aspects .
One of the main aspects of internet which plays crucial role is interaction and education by facilitating online learning by the means of social network channels and fostering educational interaction and collaborative sense , and this online tool is used by different group of people especially by scholars and instructors in academic fields .
In last decades, language learning and teaching is one the academic fields launched in online social networking system and has facilitated the social oriented pedagogy . One of the most main popular group of people who use online communicational tools are students and teens , and their numbers increased day by day . According to Lim , teacher centered methodology is not as dynamic as online technology- assisted one in language learning improvement, crucially in EFL context. Furthermore, social network learning creates a new opportunity in applied linguistics , and serves individual autonomy among learners .
From different social networks application in the net, Telegram is the most popular one among Iranians significantly young generation. Telegram channels can provide effective facilities in research fields, significantly in language learning and teaching. Therefore, one of the online mobile applications that can help learners to learn a foreign language, especially English language is Telegram which is the most popular online networking channel among most of Iranian students. In other words, this web based application has provided a new language learning facilities in Iran .
From language schooling perspective, there are various activities preferred by the students in the web based services mainly in social networking, and students can learn effectively from their preferred tasks. According to Thurairaj, Roy, et al. , social network is important in improving learners’ writing and vocabulary proficiency only because of experiencing their own personal preferences . In addition, Khany and Manfared  findings showed that reading and writing skills were used more than speaking and listening ones in Facebook among TEFL students but it is more suitable for improving speaking skills more than the other language components from learners’ view.
Therefore, by considering all above mentioned statements and having outlined the educational benefits of social media, our objective in this paper is to examine medical students’ beliefs about Telegram as an E-learning tools in using different components of English in language learning, and evaluate their different language skills preference from their own perspectives.
The main objective of the present study was to investigate the medical students’ beliefs about their preferences in using different skills of English language in terms of their gender in Telegram as a popular social network in Iran. The majority of population that participated in the study was modest users of English in Telegram application. To conduct the survey, 300 students including 100 dentistry students, 100 students of medicine, and 100 pharmacy students participated in the study. From among 100 students from 3 different faculties, 50 male students and 50 female students were equally selected for participating in the study. All participants had Telegram application on their mobiles completed the online survey in April 2017 through a Telegram channel.
To reach the purpose of the study, an online designed questionnaire consisting of a series of closed questions was employed to gather the answer and responses in the easiest and quickest way. The questionnaire consisted of two main parts. The first part collected demographic information such as gender and the type of school, while the second part gathered information about participants’ beliefs in using different skills and components of English language (reading, writing, listening, and speaking). It was a self-reported questionnaire and was designed in Likert format in a way that students were asked to order their language use preferences from number 1 ( for the most used language skill) to number 4( the less used one). They were also asked to say that between English vocabulary and grammar which one is improved through using English Telegram channels. The research instrument was a questionnaire. Its reliability was achieved to be 91% by using Cronbach's alpha test.
The study was conducted in April 2017 among the medical students in UMSU, Iran. The questionnaire was filled voluntarily by the students through a Telegram channel, and participants answered the online survey in 3 minutes. Students were asked to select the major language skill (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) that they preferred in Telegram EFL channels. The collected data were analyzed by the SPSS statistic software, version 20. For the analysis of the collected data, frequency and percentages of participants’ answers to each item were used.
This paper examines which one of English language skills (reading, writing, listening, and speaking), are preferred more than others among medical students in terms of age and type of school in Telegram. In order to find the answers, participants were asked to put their preferences in order from number 1(the most used skill) to number 4(the less used skill). 300 students including 100 dentistry students, 100 students of medicine, and 100 pharmacy students participated in the study. From among 100 students from 3 different faculties, 50 male students and 50 female students were equally selected for participating in the study. For the analysis of the collected data, frequency and percentages were used.
The second part of survey was related to the participants’ preferences as the EFL learners in using different skills and components of English language (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) in different English channels of Telegram in Urmia, Iran. Based on self-reported answers of 150 male participants in the terms of their preferences in using different skills of English language in Telegram, 140 persons (%93.34) reported that reading, writing, listening, and speaking were the highest to the lowest preferred language skills, respectively. It shows that reading skill is the most used skill and speaking is the less used one among them. Only 10 persons (%6.66) said that they used writing skill more than reading skill and their usage of listening and speaking skills were in the similar order of other male participants. As a result, there was no a significant difference between male participants’ preferences in using different skills of English language in Telegram regarding their faculties.
From among the 150 female participants, 120 persons (%80) uttered that writing, reading, speaking and listening were the highest to the lowest preferred language skills, respectively. It shows that writing skill is the most used skill and listening is the less used one among them. Accordingly, from among the 120 female students who preferred writing, reading, speaking and listening, 35 students were from the faculty of medicine, 40 students were from faculty of dentistry, and 45 students from faculty of pharmacy, respectively. In the contrast, only 30 persons (%20) including 15 students from the faculty of medicine, 10 students were from faculty of dentistry, and 5 students from faculty of pharmacy used reading skill more than writing skill and their usage of listening and speaking skills were not in the similar order of other female participants. They used listening skill more than speaking one. According to the findings, there was a significant difference between female participants’ preferences in using different skills of English language in Telegram.