EFL Learners’ Perceptions of AI Tools in Enhancing their Target Language Use: A Quantitative Study of Saudi International Students in the UK

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Saudi Digital Library
The integration of AI tools into education has gained considerable attention in this era of technological advancement. In light of the increasing interest in the use of AI in language learning, it is essential to understand how EFL learners perceive the potential of these tools to improve their usage of the target language. Despite the growing prevalence of AI tools, there is limited research concerning Saudi international students' perceptions of these tools in the context of language learning, specifically in the UK. This study attempts to address the consequential gap in the literature by investigating Saudi international students' perspectives on AI tools for improving EFL use, particularly in overall language performance and four skills, especially in the UK. Moreover, it attempts to identify significant differences in students' responses to the questionnaire based on gender, age, current educational courses and years of language learning experience. Data collection questionnaires were distributed to targeted respondents (N= 237) and analysed statistically by SPSS. This study revealed interesting findings. Participants generally believe AI improves overall language performance and writing skills, particularly grammar, spelling and punctuation. However, AI's effect on critical thinking, reading, listening and speaking could not be proven by the research findings, except in terms of vocabulary use. There is no significant difference between participants' responses based on gender, age, current academic courses or years of language learning experience. However, there is a significant difference based on current academic courses in relation to the number of times the research participants use AI tools to improve their English Language use. Most comments from students were positive and they expressed the effectiveness of AI in improving writing skills.
Artificial Intelligence, AI tools, AI usage, English as a Foreign Language, Performance, Skills, Perceptions, EFL learners, Saudi international students, UK.