Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Effect of Simultaneous Display of Multimedia Glosses on Iranian Visual vs. Auditory Efl Learners' Vocabulary Learning

Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Effect of Simultaneous Display of Multimedia Glosses on Iranian Visual vs. Auditory Efl Learners' Vocabulary Learning

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

Acquiring vocabulary of the second language plays a significant role in the achievement of language learners and the quality of their communicative skills. Folse (2008) posits that the amount of vocabulary EFL learners acquire in the process of learning a language can directly affect the comprehension of language by them. In addition, Nation (2001) believes that the greatest obstacle EFL learners encounter when communicating in the target language is deficiency of vocabulary knowledge. Hence, one of the queries in the field has been finding more effective approaches to teach new words. Laufer and Girsai (2008) believe that this query consists of two parts: a) causing comprehension of new vocabulary items, and b) retaining what is learnt by language learners. To this end, in the last 30 years, a great number of publications have dealt with vocabulary teaching and learning (Wei, 2007).

On the other hand, investigations have been conducted to understand whether or not using marginal notes, often referred to as glosses, can affect learning of EFL learners (e.g., Bowles, 2004; Jones, 2004; Jones & Plass, 2002). Not only have these empirical studies proved that glosses can have significant effect on understanding the new words of the target language, but also theoretical frameworks support their use as supplementary materials for second language acquisition (SLA) (Hulstijn & Laufer, 2001; Mayer, 2005). Yanguas (2009) contends that multimedia glosses are textual, pictorial, and a combination of textual and pictorial glosses. He also believes that glosses can be used the same way dictionaries are used. Glosses, however, do not interrupt the learning process as much, since the definition is easily available in the text. Bowles (2004) also posits that using glosses is a suitable way to enhance EFL learners' incidental vocabulary learning.

In addition, as stated by Wang (2008), the preferred way of learning by learners, often referred to as learning style, has been of interest to many scholars. He, more specifically defines learning style as "an individuals' characteristics and preferred way of gathering, interpreting, organizing and thinking about information" (p. 30). Different scholars have categorized learning styles differently (e.g., Celcia-Murcia, 2001; MacKeracher, 2004). However, The type of learning style which will be used as a moderator variable in this study are visual and auditory learning styles as categorized by Celcia-Murcia (2001) who finds these two types of learning styles as two most significant types of sensory learning styles.

Of interest in this research has been the effect of interactive simultaneous display of multimedia glosses in Iran, in which EFL learners cannot choose the type of gloss they prefer for learning, on vocabulary learning.

1.1Statement of the Problem

Vocabulary learning is very important to language learners. Yet, it seems that EFL learners in the context of Iran have difficulty learning the new vocabulary. Not only are new vocabulary items easily forgotten by language learners, but also it is difficult for them to bear the pronunciation of the new words in mind. Using pictorial or audio glosses seems to be a solution to this problem. However, to the researchers' best knowledge, previous research has not dealt with the effect of such glosses on vocabulary learning if the glosses were displayed simultaneously.

In addition, although a great deal of research has focused on the issue of learning styles, a small portion of these studies have had their focus on visual and auditory learning styles (e.g., Riazi & Riasati, 2007, Kassaian, 2007). Since the second half of the twentieth century has been the era of cognitive psychology, most studies have had their focus on cognitive learning styles including impulsivity, reflectivity, field dependence and field independence (Kassaian, 2007). On the other hand, among the studies that have dealt with visual and auditory learning styles, no prior study had considered vocabulary learning through learning glosses as its pinnacle. …

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