Barriers to English Listening Comprehension for Indonesian University Students: Implications for Listening Curriculum Development

Sri Wahyuningsih, Revanda Putri Salsabila


English has been considered an important means of international communication not only for education but also for career advancement. In general, students find it difficult to understand expressions or sentences in English. The same thing occurs when learning listening comprehension for EFL students in Indonesia. Listening is one of the most difficult skills experienced by students in learning English. The research in this paper aims to investigate the barriers to English listening comprehension of university students in Indonesia and their implications for listening curriculum development. Data were garnered through semi-structured interviews with eight Indonesian higher-education students. The results depict that the barriers experienced by students in listening comprehension include a lack of pronunciation understanding and different accents, a lack of English vocabulary, a lack of voice clarity quality, and difficulty in understanding the speed of pronunciation. To improve listening comprehension, students need to practice listening to audio from native speakers repeatedly, English podcasts, speeches, and inspiring videos via YouTube, English songs, and watching movies. The implications for listening curriculum development were discussed in this paper.


barriers, curriculum development, Indonesian university students, listening comprehension

Full Text:



Ahmadpour, S., & Asadollahfam, H. (2018). A Study of the Effect of Extensive and Intensive Listening on the Tense Use among EFL Learners in Iran. The Journal of Applied Linguistics and Applied Literature: Dynamics and Advances, 6(2), 141–161.

Ajmal, M., & Kumar, T. (2020). Inculcating Learners’ Listening Motivation in English Language Teaching: A Case Study of British Education and Training System. Arab World English Journal, 11(4), 409–425.

Al-Azzemy, A. F. T., & Al-Jamal, D. A. H. (2019). Evaluating cognitive, metacognitive and social listening comprehension teaching strategies in Kuwaiti classrooms. Heliyon, 5(2), e01264.

Ali, H. I. H. (2020). Lecture comprehension difficulties experienced by Omani students in an English-medium engineering program. Cogent Arts and Humanities, 7(1).

Bdair, I. A. (2021). Nursing students and faculty members' perspectives about online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic: A qualitative study. Teaching and Learning in Nursing, 16(3), 220–226.

Bolibekova, M. M., Jalolova, S. M., Nematov, O. N., & Tangriyev, V. A. (2020). The importance of modern methods and technologies in learning english. Journal of Critical Reviews, 7(6), 143–148.

Brouillette, L. (2012). Supporting the language development of limited english proficient students through arts integration in the primary grades. Arts Education Policy Review, 113(2), 68–74.

Cho, S., Baek, Y., & Choe, E. J. (2019). A strategic approach to music listening with a mobile app for high school students. International Journal of Music Education, 37(1), 132–141.

Chou, M. H. (2016). Strategy Use for Listening in English as a Foreign Language: A Comparison of Academic and Vocational High School Students. TESOL Journal, 7(3), 513–539.

Donglan, Z. (2004). ‘Your english is too cheem!’: Singaporean student listening difficulties and tackling strategies. Asian Englishes, 7(1), 74–91.

Erzad, A. M. (2020). Exploring English Listening Problems Among EFL Students At IAIN Kudus. Edulingua: Jurnal Linguistiks Terapan Dan Pendidikan Bahasa Inggris, 7(1), 31–38.

Ghanbari, F., & Hashemian, M. (2014). The effects of English songs on young learners’ listening comprehension & pronunciation. International Journal of Language Learning and Applied Linguistics World, 6(3), 367–375.

Gibson, K. (2022). Bridging the digital divide: Reflections on using WhatsApp instant messenger interviews in youth research. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 19(3), 611–631.

Jidong, W., Fatema, K., & Yeboah, J. (2021). Effects on the Listening Comprehension of Different Non-native English Accents of Chinese Learners of English. Middle Eastern Journal of Research in Education and Social Sciences, 2(1), 80–98.

Johnson, D. R., Scheitle, C. P., & Ecklund, E. H. (2021). Beyond the In-Person Interview? How Interview Quality Varies Across In-person, Telephone, and Skype Interviews. Social Science Computer Review, 39(6), 1142–1158.

Kao, Y. T., & Kuo, H. C. (2021). Diagnosing l2 English learners’ listening difficulties and learning needs through computerized dynamic assessment. Interactive Learning Environments, 0(0), 1–25.

Knott, E., Rao, A. H., Summers, K., & Teeger, C. (2022). Interviews in the social sciences. Nature Reviews Methods Primers, 2(1).

Madani, B. S., & Kheirzadeh, S. (2022). the Impact of Pre-Listening Activities on Efl Learners’ Listening Comprehension. International Journal of Listening, 36(1), 53–67.

Masrai, A. (2020). Can L2 Phonological Vocabulary Knowledge and Listening Comprehension be Developed Through Extensive Movie Viewing? the Case of Arab EFL Learners. International Journal of Listening, 34(1), 54–69.

Moradimokhles, H., & Hwang, G. J. (2022). The effect of online vs. blended learning in developing English language skills by nursing student: an experimental study. Interactive Learning Environments, 30(9), 1653–1662.

Namaziandost, E., Neisi, L., Mahdavirad, F., & Nasri, M. (2019). The relationship between listening comprehension problems and strategy usage among advance EFL learners. Cogent Psychology, 6(1), 1–19.

Napikul, S., Cedar, P., & Roongrattanakool, D. (2018). The Effects of Film Subtitles on English Listening Comprehension and Vocabulary. International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature, 7(6), 104.

Ngo, N. T. H. (2015). Some insights into listening strategies of learners of English as a foreign language in Vietnam. Language, Culture and Curriculum, 28(3), 311–326.

Nicolaou, C., Matsiola, M., & Kalliris, G. (2019). Technology-enhanced learning and teaching methodologies through audiovisual media. Education Sciences, 9(3).

Nyhan, T., & Howlin, F. (2021). From registered nurse to nursing student - Exploring registered nurses’ transition to nursing student during a post-registration children's nurse programme: A qualitative descriptive research study. Nurse Education Today, 105(April), 105046.

Renandya, W. A., & T. S. C. F. (2011). Teacher, the tap is too fast!’ Extensive Listening in ELT. ELT Journal, 65(1), 52–59.

Renandya, W. A. (2015). Materials and Methods for Extensive Listening. Plenary Paper Presentation-59th TEFLIN International Conference, 1–7.

Sebina, B., & Arua, A. E. (2017). From Perception and Knowledge to Classroom Practice: Teaching Listening Comprehension to Setswana Speakers of English in Junior Schools in Botswana. International Journal of Listening, 31(1), 33–50.

Thuy, & Cam, N. T. (2021). EFL Teachers’ Emotion Regulation in Response to Online-Teaching at Van Lang University. Proceedings of the 17th International Conference of the Asia Association of Computer-Assisted Language Learning (AsiaCALL 2021), 533(AsiaCALL), 80–87.

Vu, H. Y., & Shah, M. (2016). Vietnamese students’ self-direction in learning English listening skills. Asian Englishes, 18(1), 53–66.

Wahyuningsih, S. (2021). Teaching English Through E-Learning During the COVID-19 Outbreak : English Teachers ’ Perspectives at Indonesian Junior High Schools. International Conference on Teacher Training and Education, November, 101–109.

Wahyuningsih, S., & Afandi, M. (2020). Investigating English speaking problems: Implications for speaking curriculum development in Indonesia. European Journal of Educational Research, 9(3), 967–977.

Wahyuningsih, S., & Afandi, M. (2022). Incorporating English skills in blended learning during the COVID-19 pandemic: A narrative inquiry. Elsya : Journal of English Language Studies, 4(3), 227–239.

Wahyuningsih, S., & Afandi, M. (2023). Using blended learning in the EFL classroom during the Covid-19 pandemic in Indonesia : A narrative inquiry. International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research, 22(3), 209–224.

Wang, L., & Macintyre, P. D. (2021). Second language listening comprehension: The role of anxiety and enjoyment in listening metacognitive awareness. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching, 11(4), 491–515.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2023 JURNAL PAJAR (Pendidikan dan Pengajaran)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

JURNAL PAJAR (Pendidikan dan Pengajaran)

Program Studi Pendidikan Guru Sekolah Dasar
Gedung B1, FKIP Universitas Riau
Kampus Bina Widya Km. 12,5 Simpang Baru Panam
Pekanbaru Riau Indonesia 28293
e-mail :