Achieving Communicative Competence in Students of Foreign Languages in Virtual Learning Environments: A Meta-Analysis

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D)


Curriculum and Instruction

Date of Award

Spring 2023


The purpose of this quantitative, meta-analysis was to discover what differences in effect size exist among strategies used in face-to-face settings and/or digital teaching and learning platforms to achieve communicative competence in foreign language learners. After strategies with the largest effect sizes were identified, results were synthesized to describe which practices were better suited to provide comprehensive, standards-aligned curricula in digital learning environments. The assessments used to measure students’ competency in their second language (L2) were also examined. To provide a backdrop for this investigation, the history of foreign language teaching in the U.S. was surveyed, and the political and social influences that shaped the pedagogy of each time period were discussed. Other critical components, such as face-to-face and digital learning environments, approaches to virtual learning, and curriculum design models were compared. Finally, assessment and evaluation standards that can be universally upheld in virtual, foreign language courses to create uniformity from one program to the next were presented. The results suggested that individual practice as a teaching and learning strategy had a statistically significant impact on student assessment outcomes. It also revealed other needed ingredients for developing communicative competence in foreign language learners. Lastly, recommendations for teachers and other course designers hoping to develop effective curriculum and assessment practices in virtual, foreign learning environments were made.


Jennifer Dyer

Subject Categories

Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Education