Technology-Enhanced ESP for Reading English-Language Patents: A Case Study of Taiwanese Engineering Students’ Experiences and Attitudes

Shiou-Wen Yeh

Special Issue 11卷2期 (2020 / 12 / 01); P1 – 19

DOI: 10.6706/TIESPJ.202012_11(2).0001 


The patent literature is the world’s largest and earliest open technology source for learning about technological innovation in a specific research area. However, for English as a Foreign Language (EFL) students in Taiwan, reading an English-language patent application might be a challenging task, due to its special genre type and vocabulary features. It is also easy for EFL students to be overwhelmed by the huge amount of authentic English patent materials. Therefore, it is necessary to construct a supportive English for Specific Purposes (ESP) learning environment for learners to achieve better understanding of English-language patents. To meet these challenges, the current study aimed to integrate technology support (websites, patent search systems, patent glossaries, corpus and interactive software) to assist Taiwanese engineering students’ understanding of English-language patents. To achieve the research goal, the researcher first conducted a needs analysis and developed a technology-enhanced English-language patent module for engineering graduate students. In addition, the study employed questionnaire surveys and interviews to investigate students’ attitudes toward the technology-enhanced module. The results indicated that students’ prior experiences with English-language patents were limited. In addition, students showed positive attitudes toward the module and the technology support. Based on the research results, this paper discusses the values and limitations of the study and provides some suggestions for future research.

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