Tools that detectives use: in search of learner-related determinants for usage of optional feedback in a written murder mystery


  • Frederik Cornillie KU Leuven Kulak
  • Ruben Lagatie KU Leuven Kulak Televic Education
  • Mieke Vandewaetere KU Leuven Kulak
  • Geraldine Clarebout KU Leuven Kulak
  • Piet Desmet KU Leuven Kulak



feedback, learner behaviour, individual differences, learners’ perceptions, tutorial CALL


This paper explores individual difference factors in relation with usage of optional CF in a written and task-based tutorial CALL environment for English grammar practice that contained gaming features. Previous research in CALL has highlighted the importance of prior knowledge for learners’ usage of CF options (Brandl, 1995; Heift, 2002), but the contribution of metacognitive and affective variables remains unexplored. Based on insights from the literature on tool use (e.g. Author 4 & Elen, 2009), this pilot study considered that learners’ usage of optional CF in CALL might additionally be determined by the perceived usefulness of CF and by learners’ achievement goal orientation. Quantitative analysis of questionnaire data in combination with tracking and logging data showed that usage of optional CF was associated with prior explicit knowledge, but no relation was found with perceived usefulness and achievement goal orientation. Future research on CF usage could benefit from qualitative in-depth analyses of learners’ perceptions and motives.

Author Biographies

Frederik Cornillie, KU Leuven Kulak

Frederik CORNILLIE received an M.A. in English & German Language (2004), and works as an applied linguist and PhD candidate in the interdisciplinary research group ITEC (KU Leuven). He taught foreign languages in secondary education, and worked at the University of Antwerp as a project and research collaborator in the field of Computer-Assisted Language Learning (2005-2009), before joining ITEC in 2009. His main expertise concerns the design and effectiveness of e-learning environments for language learning. His PhD research focuses on learner perceptions and their usage of corrective feedback for the development of L2 grammatical competence in game-like language learning environments.

Ruben Lagatie, KU Leuven Kulak Televic Education

Ruben LAGATIE is a PhD candidate at the KU Leuven and software engineer at Televic Education. His current research is on generating meta-linguistic feedback for CALL based on statistical analysis and machine learning techniques. Some of his interests are: (adaptive) e-learning, ASR and TTS applications for CALL and serious gaming.

Mieke Vandewaetere, KU Leuven Kulak

Mieke VANDEWAETERE obtained a Master’s degree in experimental and theoretical psychology (2002) and a PhD in Educational Sciences (2011). She also pursued a Master in Statistical Data-Analysis and took several additional courses in statistics and data-analysis. Previous research was focused on human reasoning patterns, computer-assisted language learning, the quality of e-learning, and (bio)statistics and education. Her primary interests lie in the area of cognitive psychology, statistics and data-analysis and artificial intelligence in education. Other interests are instructional design, educational data mining and intelligent tutoring systems.

Geraldine Clarebout, KU Leuven Kulak

Geraldine CLAREBOUT is a member of the Subfaculty of Psychology and Pedagogical Science (Campus Kortrijk) as well as of the Center for instructional psychology and technology of the KULeuven Department of Pedagogical Science. Her research focuses on the development of (electronic) learning environments, more specifically on: 1) encouraging the use of tools in open learning environments; 2) variables that may have an impact on the use of tools, such as instruction and knowledge concepts; 3) mobile learning and its impact.

Piet Desmet, KU Leuven Kulak

Piet DESMET is full professor of French and Applied linguistics and Foreign Language Methodology at K.U.Leuven & K.U.Leuven Campus Kortrijk. He coordinates the Research Centre ITEC, Interdisciplinary research on Technology, Education & Communication ( at K.U.Leuven Campus Kortrijk, where he is also Dean of the Faculty of Arts. His research focuses mainly on French and Applied Linguistics, with a particular interest in Computer Assisted Language Learning. With his externally grant-funded team, he works on such topics as adaptive learning environments, mobile language learning, serious gaming, parallel corpora for CALL and writing aids.


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How to Cite

Cornillie, F., Lagatie, R., Vandewaetere, M., Clarebout, G., & Desmet, P. (2013). Tools that detectives use: in search of learner-related determinants for usage of optional feedback in a written murder mystery. CALICO Journal, 22–45.

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