The Effects of Mobile Learning on Immigrants’ and Refugees' Foreign Language and Social Integration Skills: A Case Study in Germany
Last registered on May 23, 2019


Trial Information
General Information
The Effects of Mobile Learning on Immigrants’ and Refugees' Foreign Language and Social Integration Skills: A Case Study in Germany
Initial registration date
November 13, 2018
Last updated
May 23, 2019 10:03 AM EDT

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Primary Investigator
Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
Additional Trial Information
In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
It is generally agreed upon that the most vital step towards integrating into a new culture is learning the spoken language. The language barrier issue could delay social integration and productivity outcomes. The use of mobile assisted language learning applications along with integration course attendance may improve, through several channels, the language-learning and social integration outcomes among immigrants in Germany. We will conduct an RCT among migrants and refugees, in order to estimate the effect of encouraging the use of the German language-learning and similar applications on the study population´s German skills and social integration outcomes. we tend to focus on the application "Ankommen" since it includes several social integration topics as well as the fact that it has been developed by the German federal office for migration and refugees. We hypothesis that using the help of mobile learning to get to know important cultural aspects would increase social integration efforts and outcomes.

External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Becker, Malte and Zouhier Kassaballi . 2019. "The Effects of Mobile Learning on Immigrants’ and Refugees' Foreign Language and Social Integration Skills: A Case Study in Germany." AEA RCT Registry. May 23.
Experimental Details
In order for the study to be policy relevant, the intervention will be encouraging the use of existing and free of charge German language learning applications.

The sample will consist of 2 equally distributed groups: 1 treatment and 1 control group.

The intervention will include:
1) A video promoting highly-rated and free German learning apps, we will tend to focus on the application “Ankommen” in specific. The video will explain how the application "Ankommen" works, why it is useful and how to download it. The video also includes the experiences of migrants with MALL and it's advantages in general.
2) In addition, promotional material like posters will be hanged in the classroom for constant reminiscence.
3) Flyers will be handed out in order to induce constant usage and provide traceable download links for language learning apps.

Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
1) German language proficiency level through test scores
2) Self-reported German language skills
3) Self-reported social integration levels
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
1) We will count on the average final course grade of the student as an indicator for the student's German proficiency level.
2) The main focus of the integration outcome is social integration, in specific daily life satisfaction level.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
1) Dropout rate from integration courses
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Comparing the percentage of people, between the two groups, that continued the course to move to A2-level.
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
The aim is to estimate the effect of encouraging the use of Mobile-assisted language learning on immigrants' and refugees' German language skills. A randomized post-experimental research design will be used, with a treatment group and a control group. The treatment being in its nature non-excludable, we will have to use randomized promotion experiments, which will take place in integration Institutions in Germany. There will be no pre-test since we are in a suitable position to assume that on average the language level of students starting an A1-level or A2-level integration course is the same, moreover, students that want to start an integration course are subjected to an obligatory placement test which identifies the student’s language level.

A typical integration school offers one A1-level/A2-level course every 2 months, clustering will occur on a class level within schools. 4 classes from each participating school will be randomly assigned to treatment or control. Our sample will include about 60 schools offering integration courses.

We will employ a matched-pair cluster-randomized design, assigning treatment to half of the study population and clustering on a class level. We will use optimal Mahalanobis matching. Covariates to be matched on are the size of the school, the maximum German level offered by the school, size of the city and socioeconomic status of the neighborhood the school is located. Within each pair, treatment is randomly assigned for every treatment phase. All A1 and A2-level students of the courses are invited to participate.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer.
Randomization Unit
Cluster on a class level.
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
The study is anticipating around 220 clusters (Integration Classes).
Sample size: planned number of observations
Around 2200 students are planned to participate in the study.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
90 classes in the control group
90 classes in the treatment group
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Our minimum detectable effect based on previous literature is assumed to be a 0.2 standardized effect. A standard desired power of 80% and a significance level of 5%.
IRB Name
Ethics committee of the University of Goettingen
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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