Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Effects of Video Caption Modes on English Listening Comprehension and Vocabulary Acquisition Using Handheld Devices

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Effects of Video Caption Modes on English Listening Comprehension and Vocabulary Acquisition Using Handheld Devices

Article excerpt


English has been recognized as being an important language for international communications. In the past decades, many non-English speaking countries have developed and utilized various computer systems to support English as Foreign Language (EFL) learners. Moreover, most of these countries intend to have their children learn English as early as possible; for example, the Ministry of Education in Taiwan has extended regular English instruction to the third grade of elementary school and is planning to initiate an English learning program for first graders within ten years.

Foreign language learning can be considered from the four aspects of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Among these aspects, listening is an important capability of social interactions, and it has been found that people receive new messages more efficiently via listening than reading (Luo, 2008). The Ministry of Education in Taiwan even guides elementary schools to put emphasis on English listening first, followed by reading or writing. In the meantime, most forms of English certification include listening proficiency tests, implying the importance of fostering English listening competences.

With the advance of mobile technologies and multimedia, instructional materials for English listening training have been developed in a variety of forms. For example, MP3 players have become a new mobile device for learning via listening; moreover, several web2.0 media, such as YouTube, have become popular channels that provide audio and video materials for language learning (Godwin-Jones, 2007). In the meantime, the popularity of various mobile devices (e.g., smartphones and e-books) and wireless networks (e.g., Wi-Fi and Wi-Max) have enabled individual students to use those emerging learning materials or channels anywhere and at any time (Hwang, Shi, & Chu, 2011; Hwang, Wu, Tseng, & Huang, 2011; Wu et al., 2011). Therefore, it can be foreseen that students will eventually be equipped with a mobile device installed with proper learning tools, systems or materials so that they can make their own learning progress, and even learn with content of appropriate difficulty to match their level of proficiency (Hung et al., 2012; Hwang & Chang, 2011; Hwang, Chu, Lin, & Tsai, 2011; Norris, Hossain, & Soloway, 2011). In recent years, several studies concerning the use of mobile technology in language learning have revealed the benefits of this approach, such as the provision of opportunities for individual practice and a seamless learning environment (Ogata, Matsuka, El-Bishouty, & Yano, 2009; Ogata & Yano, 2004; Ozcelik & Acarturk, 2011; Wong, Chin, Tan, & Liu, 2010).

On the other hand, previous studies have reported that videos embedded with captions are helpful for students in learning second language reading (Chun & Plass, 1997) and listening (Danan, 1992). Hsu and Chang (2010) have further indicated that hiding the easier vocabulary and showing only the relatively difficult words in the captions may contribute to undergraduates' listening comprehension. Consequently, this study developed different display modes of captions on mobile devices for improving English listening competence and promoting the vocabulary acquisition of students. The study aims at exploring whether different display modes of captions and subtitles result in different degrees of effectiveness in the listening comprehension and vocabulary acquisition of elementary school students. Moreover, the learning performance of students with different learner preferences is also compared. Furthermore, the students' perceived satisfaction with the approach, and their perceptions of the usefulness and ease-of-use of the mobile learning activity are reported as well.

Literature review

Video captions and English listening comprehension

Using videos or films as a learning resource has received a great deal of attention from researchers and has been successfully applied to various educational applications (Yang, Huang, Tsai, Chung, & Wu, 2009). …

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