A Master of Arts Thesis in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) by Abdelbasset Ben Mohammed Jeddi Entitled, "Explicit Vocabulary Learning Through Technology," June 2009. Available are both Hard and Soft Copies of the Thesis.
Functional language proficiency requires mastery of a large number of words. It is therefore necessary for L2 learners to learn a large vocabulary in a short period of time. In classroom contexts, there appears to be no alternative to intentional learning of a great many new words in a relatively short period of time. With the remarkably impressive technological development that has been made in recent years, some researchers have begun investigating the role of technology in providing an optimal learning environment for L2 vocabulary acquisition. The aim of this study was to examine the effects on second language vocabulary retention of a computer assisted vocabulary learning program I designed for the purpose of this study. Precisely, my study aimed to examine the following assumption: Learners who use a computer-assisted vocabulary learning program (CAVL) that provides them with multiple encounters with new words in different multimedia contexts (sound, pictures, and graphics) will have a better retention of new vocabulary items both in their short-term and long-term memory than learners who are taught using textbooks only. Participants in this study were two groups of male EFL grade nine students. The Experimental Group used the computer program in class to learn new words over 15 days. The Control Group was taught using textbooks only. Immediate and delayed post-tests were used to assess short-term and long-term retention of unknown words, respectively. Collected data were computed using the Box and Whisker Plot and mean comparison. To look into the abovementioned assumption, the study compared the difference in scores between the immediate and delayed post-tests for the Experimental Group, the difference in scores between the immediate and delayed post-tests for the Control Group, and the difference in scores between the Experimental and Control Groups on the delayed post-test. To assess the short-term and long-term retention of unknown words my study sought to answer the following research questions: 1. What is the difference in scores between the immediate and delayed posttests for the Control Group? 2. What is the difference in scores between the immediate and delayed posttests for the Experimental Group? 3. What is the difference in scores between the Experimental and Control Group on the delayed post-test? 4. What are some of the reasons for the differences? Concerning the first research question, data analysis suggested that there was a dramatic decrease in the Experimental Group's mean score on the delayed post-test. As for the second question, a sharper decrease characterized the delayed post-test mean score of the Control Group. Regarding the third question, the Experimental Group outscored the Control Group on the delayed post-test. Qualitative data analysis suggested that students attributed the difference in scores to some aspects of the CAVL program. The overall findings showed that although students who used the CAVL program did not have a better short-term learning gain, they had a better longterm learning gain than those who were taught using textbooks only.