The ASEAN Journal of Education ASEAN Journal of Education

EFL Students’ Turn-Taking Strategies in Face-to-Face and Online PBL Discussions

Anchalee Jansem, Worasiri Boonsue,


This study aimed to explore EFL students’ turn-taking strategies in two different contexts of PBL discussions—face-to-face (FTF) and online discussion board. Twelve college students with sufficient English to carry on discussions were recruited on a voluntary basis to participate in the research project. Data derived from the description of video recordings and all entries of online discussion boards revealed two major findings. First, in the FTF discussions, turn allocation was determined by current speakers, through verbal and non-verbal language, and yielded linear and immediate interactional discourse. In contrast, the message system synchronously managed turns in the online chat discussions. The function of the system drew the participants’ attention to be engaged in discussions which appeared to be dispersed into threads of messages. Second, while overlapping randomly took place during turn allocation in the FTF discussions, taking turns via self-allocated strategies in the online discussion boards seemed to be the underlying form of interaction. In doing this, the participants needed to use a variety of techniques to both extend from previous relevant messages and manage their turns via prints as well as emoticons. The significance, implication, and discussions of this study provide contributions to foreign and second language instruction.

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Key words: Turn Taking, Face-to-Face Discussion, Online Discussion, Problem-Based Learning
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