FIE 2022: Impact on Second Language Writing via an Intelligent Writing Assistant and Metacognitive Training

This work is led by John Gayed, a doctoral student at the Cross Lab. While I am not the leader in this project, I am particularly proud of it because it showcases our lab's ability to synergize its members' research interests. In this project, we added a metacognitive tutor (my research interest) to John's AI-augmented writing tool.

John's video presentation

For a copy of relevant materials (e.g., presentation, paper) or any questions you may have, please feel free to reach out to me through the Contact Me gadget on this blog's side bar.


Title: Impact on Second Language Writing via an Intelligent Writing Assistant and Metacognitive Training
Authors: John Maurice Gayed, May Kristine Jonson Carlon, and Jeffrey S. Cross
Specifics: October 8 to 11, 2022, pp 1-9


This Research to Practice Full Paper investigates second language learners’ writing output using an online next-word prediction writing tool after exposure to training and metacognitive prompts to improve their critical thinking. Engineering graduates’ writing skills are often deemed lacking by industry standards; this can be even more challenging for English as a foreign language (EFL) learners. This study employs a randomized control trial with university-level participants using an internally developed writing aid with next-word prediction, reverse translation support, and metacognitive prompts. EFL participants were given question prompts in the TOEFL iBT independent writing task style, and the outputs were assessed (machine and human) using several measures for writing quality. All participants were shown short explanatory videos for TOEFL writing advice and metacognition training. The treatment group, exposed to the next-word prediction writing aid and metacognitive prompts, performed better than the control group even though both received the same training and writing opportunities. This study indicates there is value in providing writing support and metacognitive thinking practice to improve writing skills and, ultimately, writing output quality. This study’s implications can be applied not only to EFL learners but also to engineering-related fields using English as a lingua franca.