Exploring the impact of AI on EFL teaching in Japan
Stephen Lambacher https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8216-5543, Hisayo Kikuchi https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1954-2999, Hiroyuki Obari https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9203-6785

DOI: https://doi.org/10.29140/9781914291050-23

In: Proceedings of the XXIst International CALL Research Conference (pp. 163–168)
Edited by Jozef Colpaert, Yijen Wang, Glenn Stockwell (2022)


This study investigates the use of digital personal assistants (also known as smart speakers) as part of a blended-learning (BL) environment to increase the English ability of native Japanese undergraduates. Three case studies are presented to evaluate the use of artificial intelligence (AI) smart speakers to help improve the English skills of native Japanese undergraduates by enhancing the socialization and personalization of their learning. The primary objective of the three case studies was to evaluate the efficacy of a training program that included the AI smart speakers Google Home Mini and Amazon Alexa in assisting the students in improving their English proficiency. TOEIC was utilized as a metric to ascertain if the students' English abilities improved and assess the training program's overall efficacy. Within a flipped learning (FL) environment, the case studies also incorporate 21st-century learning skills for developing international cultural awareness. Overall, mean TOEIC scores improved considerably, demonstrating that AI smart speakers helped to enhance the participants' overall English proficiency. Post-training survey results also revealed that the participants felt that using a smart speaker was a fun, easy-to-use, and practical way to improve their English speaking and vocabulary skills.

Suggested citation:

Lambacher, S., Kikuchi, H., & Obari, H. (2022). Exploring the impact of AI on EFL teaching in Japan . In J. Colpaert, Y. Wang, & G. Stockwell (Eds.), Proceedings of the XXIst International CALL Research Conference (pp. 163–168). London: Castledown Publishers. https://doi.org/10.29140/9781914291050-23

Author information

Dr. Hiroyuki Obari is Professor Emeritus at Aoyama Gakuin University. He now teaches part-time in the Faculty of Law, Waseda University, and the Tokyo Institute of Technology graduate school. He is a visiting researcher at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST). Born in 1953, he received his B.A. from the University of Oklahoma (Political Science), M.A. from ICU (International Relations), second M.A. from Columbia University, and Ph.D. from the University of Tsukuba (Computer Science). He served as a visiting researcher at the University of Oxford (1998, 2007, 2018~2020). He specializes in CALL, TESOL, Worldview Studies, and EdTech. His recent publications include 1. Obari, H., Lambacher, S., Kikuchi, H. (2022). Exploring the impact of AI on EFL teaching in Japan. In J. Colpaert & G. Stockwell (pp. 84-101). Smart CALL: Personalization, contextualization, & socialization. London: Castledown Publishers. https://doi.org/10.29140/9781914291012, 2. McCarty, S., Obari, H., & Sato, T. (2017). Implementing Mobile Language Learning Technologies in Japan. Springer.