Guest-edited by Daphne van Weijen, Elke Van Steendam and Gert Rijlaarsdam
[ITL - International Journal of Applied Linguistics 156] 2008
► pp. 31–50
Notetaking and Writing from Hypertexts in L1 and L2
Cognitive Effort and Language Procedures
This study analyzes the cognitive effort and linguistic procedures of sixty students using information taken from an experimental website in L1 (French) and in L2 (English). The students navigated on the website and took notes on paper or with a word processor. A triple-task paradigm was used to estimate the cognitive load of reading, notetaking, and writing processes in L2. The students had to perform two additional tasks while a main task (notetaking, for example) was being carried out. They had to react as fast as possible to sound signals sent out at random intervals. They also had to identify what they were doing at the time the sound signal was heard (reading, notetaking, or writing). The study focuses on the way the students managed their cognitive resources while exploring the website, selecting and writing down the ideas they considered useful, and reconstructing them later when producing their own text. Surprisingly, no difference in cognitive load was observed between L1 and L2. By relying almost exclusively on the copy and paste functions to retrieve information from the website, the participants using a word processor in L2 succeeded in making reading a less costly activity, and they performed similarly to the notetakers in L1. The students’ difficulties in L2 became apparent only in the paper condition. The strategies and linguistic procedures of the students are described and related to the ways teachers can approach the new dimensions of notetaking and writing with a computer.
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