Moodle or Social Networks: What Alternative Refuge is Appropriate to Algerian EFL Students to Learn during Covid-19 Pandemic
Keywords: Covid-19 pandemic, EFL students, e-learning, Google Classroom, Moodle, motivation, social networks, Zoom
Social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, YouTube, and Instagram have become the refuge of teachers and students during the last years. However, there are many educational platforms set by the Algerian Ministry of Higher Education like Moodle and which bring the same services to the learners but in an academic setting. These platforms, mainly Facebook, has gained celebrity in the last years and are still achieving the same position during the Covid-19 pandemic even though many applications come to life, and virtual learning has become the only choice. The current research work under scrutiny aims to provide an in-depth look at the situation of EFL teaching and learning in the Algerian context during the Covid-19 pandemic by taking the department of English Language and Literature at Saida University as a case in point. It also endeavors to shed light on the learning process and which tools educators have used to promote virtual learning. As such, the main questions that set the study are how do Algerian universities face Covid-19 pandemic? Are Algerian EFL students motivated towards academic platforms like Moodle? Do EFL learners benefit from the new applications like Google Classroom and Zoom in promoting E-learning? Where about social networks like Facebook? Are these social platforms still gaining fame in the learning process during the pandemic? To answer these problematic questions, the researcher conducted a study with EFL first-year Master students and eight teachers of the English language at Saida University, Algeria. The researcher collected data through a questionnaire and an interview. The findings revealed that the most used tool for educational purposes was Facebook due to the students’ motivation. The second tool was the Moodle platform. The analysis also demonstrated that students prefer face-to-face interaction in the classroom and handouts more than virtual learning. The results also showed that students are motivated to employ both SNSs like Facebook and YouTube and educational platforms as Moodle as complementary teaching materials.