Mobile Assisted Language Learning (MALL) has been recently growing as a flourishing area of research and rising as an outgrowing practise in the field of second language teaching and learning. Thanks to its wide promises for language learners, such as providing them with the chance to learn anywhere and anytime , the potential benefits of using these technologies have been researched on different language skills. This study investigated how it consolidates L2 learners’ vocabulary in comparison to two other means and compared the effectiveness of supplementary vocabulary materials delivered via mobile phones (in the form of multimedia messages), on web pages and in print form. With a quasiexperimental research design, it looked at whether there is an improvement in the post- tests and in the delayed post- tests after these treatments. The research questions were as follows:
1.What is the effect of the use of mobile phones for supporting language learners’ vocabulary acquisition?
a. Does the gain scores (the difference between post and pre- tests) in the vocabulary achievement tests differ among the three groups: mobile, web and paper-based?
b. Is there a significant difference between three groups’ (mobile, web, and paper-based) English language vocabulary retention?
The participants were 103 students attending English preparatory classes at a university in Turkey. To compare the effectiveness of these three means, 6 groups were formed such that 18 students in the elementary level and 17 students in the pre-intermediate level composed the mobile group, 17 students in the elementary level and 17 students in the pre-intermediate level formed the two paper-based groups and 18 students in the elementary and 16 students in the pre-intermediate level formed the two web groups. The English words used in these supplementary materials were chosen from the vocabulary items in the regular classroom instruction. These materials were not used in the class but rather used to supplement the classroom activities. In all these groups, the same content was used which consisted of the definition of words, exemplary sentences, related visual representations, information on word formation and pronunciation of these words. For the web groups, a SQL database was used to register the participants into the system and track their logs. The treatment lasted for four weeks. To administer the study, a pre-test was carried out before the treatment. A post test was distributed after the treatment and it was followed by a delayed post test one month after the post test. One Way Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA) was used to compare these six groups. The results indicated that the mobile groups in both elementary and pre-intermediate groups outperformed all the other groups not only in post- test but also in delayed post-test. The findings are striking so that they, by and large, provide promising evidence to support the use of mobile tools in language learning and teaching and paves the way for further research on the potential benefits of these for different language skills.
The study, I beleive, is a valuable one since it offers new perspectives concerning the language tools used in L2 classes and sheds light on new ways to improve L2 learners’ vocabulary. Considering that nearly every individual owns a mobile phone and is quite occupied with using it in their daily lives, it may be a practical way for them to use these devices to develop their language skills. The time and place constraints are also eliminated with these tools, which is also a great advantage for language learners.
Saran, Muran & Seferoğlu, Gölge, Supporting Foreign Language Vocabulary Learning Through Multimedia Messages via Mobile Phones. “Hacettepe University Faculty of Education Journal”, 38, (2010), p.252-266.