Issue: 2023-2024


With the development of wireless network technology and the popularity of mobile devices, mobile learning has emerged to meet the demand for flexible learning processes and sustainable learning, and to promote the goal of “equality education” for sustainable development. Mobile learning has had a tremendous impact on English education in China, providing authentic language input for English learners in non-native environments. Despite the many advantages of mobile learning and its growing popularity in English language learning, there is a lack of empirical research on utilized affordances in mobile learning and influencing factors among Chinese non-English majors from an ecological affordance perspective. The study seeks to change this situation by identifying the factors that influence the acceptance and use of mobile learning among Chinese non-English majors. The main research question is: What are the main factors influencing the behavioral intention and utilized affordances of mobile English learning among Chinese non-English majors?

To address the above research question, this study uses a quantitative research method supplemented by small-scale interviews. Based on affordance theory and the UTAUT theoretical framework, a research model of the factors influencing utilized affordances of mobile learning was constructed and an empirical study was conducted with Chinese non-English majors as the research subjects. The study adjusted some of the variables in the original UTAUT theory and constructed a structural model including six aspects: perceived pedagogical affordances (PPA), perceived social affordances (PSA), perceived technological affordances (PTA), self-efficacy (SE), peer effect (PE), and facilitating conditions (FC). Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to test and estimate the effects of the three perceived affordances dimensions, self-efficacy and peer effect on behavioral intention (BI), and behavioral intention and facilitating conditions on utilized affordances (UA).

In this study, 470 non-English majors were randomly selected from three selected universities in Zhengzhou City, Henan Province, China, to participate in the survey. A questionnaire containing validated scales was used for data collection. The measurement and structural models were analyzed and tested using SPSS 23.0 and Smart PLS 3.3.9 software. The results of this study supported six of the seven hypotheses and also validated the soundness of the structural model constructed based on the hypotheses.

The data results showed that PSA and PPA had a significant effect on BI, SE had a significant effect on BI, PE had a significant effect on BI, BI had a significant effect on UA, and FC had a significant effect on UA, except for PTA, which had no significant effect on BI. In addition, this study used PLS-MGA to compare the sensitivity of frequency and duration of two different groups in the relationship between the variables of the model.

The findings of this study enrich the UTAUT theoretical model and show its applicability to behavioral intention and use behavior of mobile learning among non-English college students in the Chinese context; secondly, construct a research model of the factors influencing the use of mobile learning giving in order to optimize the mobile learning experience and promote the application and development of mobile learning among non-English college students in China; again, this study provides educational policy makers, educational technology developers and teachers on how to better promote the adoption and development of mobile learning among Chinese EFL learners. In addition, the study will provide empirical support to the academic community on the related research areas of mobile learning and language education.

Keywords: Mobile Learning; Affordance Theory; UTAUT Model; Chinese Non-English Majors