The Effect of Multimedia Annotation Modes on L2 Vocabulary Acquisition: A Comparative Study

By Al-Seghayer, Khalid | Language, Learning & Technology, January 2001 | Go to article overview

The Effect of Multimedia Annotation Modes on L2 Vocabulary Acquisition: A Comparative Study


Al-Seghayer, Khalid, Language, Learning & Technology


ABSTRACT

One aspect of second language teaching via multimedia to have received attention over the past few years is the impact of glossing individual vocabulary words through different modalities. This study examines which of the image modalities -- dynamic video or still picture -- is more effective in aiding vocabulary acquisition. The participants, 30 ESL students, were introduced to a hypermedia-learning program, designed by the researcher for reading comprehension. The program provides users reading a narrative English text with a variety of glosses or annotations for words in the form of printed text, graphics, video, and sound, all of which are intended to aid in the understanding and learning of unknown words. A within-subject design was used in this study with 30 participants being measured under three conditions: printed text definition alone, printed text definition coupled with still pictures, and printed text definition coupled with video clips. In order to assess the efficacy of each mode, a vocabulary test was designed and administered to participants after they had read the English narrative. Two types of tests were administered: recognition and production. In addition, a face-to-face interview was conducted, and questionnaires were distributed. Results of the both tests were analyzed using analysis of variance procedures. The investigation has yielded the conclusion that a video clip is more effective in teaching unknown vocabulary words than a still picture. Among the suggested factors that explain such a result are that video better builds a mental image, better creates curiosity leading to increased concentration, and embodies an advantageous combination of modalities (vivid or dynamic image, sound, and printed text).

INTRODUCTION

In the realm of second language acquisition (SLA), the most recent effort to enhance the process of language learning has involved computer technology. In this regard, Garrett (1989) points out that the adoption of computer technology in foreign language education is part of a larger phenomenon known as the "new humanism" and "represents one of the most exciting developments coming out of the participation of advanced technology in education." Garrett contends that "new humanism" is an attitude whereby technology helps to integrate the efforts of researchers from different fields. Technology enables the humanists to investigate traditional concerns in novel approaches, exploiting technology potential to build on the values of a given sphere and to create " principled connections" among the discipline of the humanities (p. 104).

Since the initial introduction of computers into the field of second/foreign language education, a large number of practitioners have concurred that this technology holds great potential for language learning (Levy, 1997; Muyskens, 1997; Pennington, 1996; Warschauer, 1996; Warschauer & Healey, 1998). This belief leads to what is known as Computer-Assisted Language Learning, more commonly referred to as CALL. Even though the field is still young, many language educators are endorsing its use as an essential component in language teaching. Embracing the use of computers seems to be due to the fact that computers are capable of performing multiple tasks and thus are more than simply text processors. The computer can organize, select, and present multiple sensory components.

Among the concerns often raised in the domain of CALL is how to use the potential of a computer to enhance the language learning process and how to use different media types in teaching and learning. The concern has been narrowed to the investigation of the efficacy of presenting information using multiple modalities, such as text, audio, still picture, and dynamic videos in the field of SLA. An area that has recently received attention is the impact of glossing individual vocabulary via annotations embodied by different modes and media.

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The Effect of Multimedia Annotation Modes on L2 Vocabulary Acquisition: A Comparative Study
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