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Home Journal Index 2020-3

WhatsApp-based Learning in Ecole normale supérieure de Yaoundé-Cameroon at the Time of Coronavirus

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Daniel A. Nkemleke
Lynda Tume Leinyuy
University of Yaoundé 1, Cameroon

 

Abstract
Mobile apps have been shown to enhance students' motivation in the learning of English. With
the outbreak of the corona virus, where safe distancing became one of the strategies to limit its
propagation, WhatsApp became a practical medium for delivering content for us at the Ecole normale supérieure de Yaoundé. This article illustrates how we used a WhatsApp forum to run a class project on summary writing, which required each student to watch a movie online and write a holistic
summary of it. The summaries were intended to be part of the entries for a database of resources
for the study of African cultures, which have parallels to classical mythology. Four weeks into the
second semester, Covid-19 forced a complete shutdown of our university. As part of the movie online
exercise, we created the African Mythology WhatsApp group or forum. Lessons on “how-to” were
conducted via WhatsApp. At the end of 7 weeks of online interaction in a class of 32 students and
teachers, students reported that the WhatsApp experiment enhanced their writing skills, including
the ability to write holistic summaries. Some students said their creativity was developed, and
academic horizons widened. A few stated that the WhatsApp learning experience was better than the
usual face-to-face class interaction. We concluded that there are clear benefits for using WhatsApp in
the teaching and learning of writing. We should continue to explore the opportunities that technology offers for language education as a whole.

 

Keywords
Writing summaries, WhatsApp, coronavirus, Cameroon