Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 15. Number 1, March 2024                                            Pp. 327-351

 Full Paper PDF

A Digital Approach to Teach Synthesis Writing for a Defence University: A Needs Analysis

 Emily Abd Rahman
Language Centre, Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Faculty of Education, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Selangor, Malaysia

Melor Md Yunus
Faculty of Education, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Selangor, Malaysia
Corresponding Author:

Harwati Hashim
Faculty of Education, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Selangor, Malaysia

Nur Khadirah Ab. Rahman
Language Centre, Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Faculty of Education, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Selangor, Malaysia


Received:11/07/2023             Accepted:03/08/2024                     Published: 03/20/2024

Synthesis writing, a critical skill for university students, involves selecting, organizing, and connecting information from multiple texts. However, many students struggle with this task, highlighting a need for effective instructional approaches. In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has reshaped educational practices, there is a pressing need to reconsider teaching methods and incorporate digital approaches to align with contemporary learning paradigms. This study investigates the necessity of developing a mobile app module for teaching synthesis writing in a defence university setting in Malaysia. Ultimately, the research poses a central question: What are the perspectives of educators in a defence university in Malaysia regarding the necessity of developing a mobile application module for teaching synthesis writing? Through semi-structured interviews with five educators, the study explores their perspectives on the importance, challenges and strategies associated with teaching synthesis writing, as well as their readiness to integrate mobile technology into instruction. Thematic analysis of the data reveals four main themes: the importance of synthesis writing, challenges in teaching synthesis writing, learning strategies employed by educators, and the readiness to adopt mobile technology for teaching synthesis writing. The findings underscore the significance of this study for mobile application designers, English language educators, and course designers, providing insights into the specific needs and preferences regarding synthesis writing instruction. Furthermore, the study contributes to both theory and practice in education by addressing the growing demand for digital tools in writing instruction and highlighting the potential of mobile applications to enhance students’ writing skills.
Keywords: English as a Second Language, digital approach, mobile, needs analysis, synthesis writing

Cite as: Rahman, E. A., Yunus, M.M., Hashim, H., & Ab. Rahman, N. K. (2024). A Digital Approach to Teach Synthesis Writing for a Defence University: A Needs Analysis.  Arab World English Journal, 15(1): 327-351.


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Received: 11/07/2023 
Accepted: 03/08/2024
Published: 03/20/2024  

Emily Abd Rahman is an English Lecturer the Language Centre, Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia, bringing her expertise in language education to her students. She earned her M.A. in TESOL from the University of Nottingham, Malaysia. Currently, she is pursuing her Ph.D. at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, focusing on Technology Enhanced Language Learning (TELL) and Mobile Assisted Language Learning (MALL). ORCID:

 Melor Md Yunus is a Professor at the Faculty of Education, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. With an M.A. in TESL from Arizona State University and a Ph.D. in Education (TESL) from the University of Bristol, she’s an authority in TESL and language pedagogy. Renowned for pioneering ICT integration in ESL education, she’s published prolifically in scholarly journals, amassing 200+ innovation awards, and commanding respect within her field. ORCID:

 Harwati Hashim is an Associate Professor is the Deputy Dean of Research & Innovation at the Faculty of Education, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Dr. Harwati is a leading educator in the field of education, specifically specializing in Technology-Enhanced Language Learning (TELL). Her extensive expertise encompasses Mobile-Assisted Language Learning (MALL), innovative pedagogies, the integration of technology in language education, and effective language learning strategies. ORCID:

 Nur Khadirah Ab. Rahman is an English Lecturer at the Language Centre, Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia with a profound background in language education, holding an M.A. in TESOL from the University of Nottingham, Malaysia. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in TESL at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, where her research passion revolves around Technology Enhanced Language Learning (TELL) and Mobile Assisted Language Learning (MALL).