A state-of-the-art review of the modes and effectiveness of multimedia input for second and foreign language learning

Ruofei ZHANG, Di ZOU*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsReview articleOther Review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Multimedia technology has been advancing the development of second/foreign language learning over the past two decades. Multimedia input (e.g. text, images, audio, animation, and captions/subtitles) has been extensively investigated and applied as facilitative in second/foreign language education. The increasing recognition and application appear to call for a review of the studies investigating the effectiveness of various multimedia input modes for promoting second/foreign language learning to provide a contemporary and comprehensive picture of the field. Accordingly, the present study reviews 41 relevant articles appearing in SSCI journals while identifying five main types of tools used in the studies (i.e. computers, mobile devices, printed materials, audio players, and the integration of PowerPoint slides and stereo speakers) and four main target aspects (i.e. vocabulary knowledge, listening comprehension, reading comprehension, and grammar knowledge). Reported most frequently were the effectiveness of three features: audio-plus-animation-plus-captions/subtitles in developing vocabulary and grammar knowledge; audio-plus-animation in promoting listening comprehension; and text-plus-audio in facilitating reading comprehension. The reviewed articles collectively noted the need for more research on learner factors and influences of different features of multimedia input on learning outcomes and learning process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2790-2816
Number of pages27
JournalComputer Assisted Language Learning
Issue number9
Early online date30 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Foreign language
  • multimedia-enhanced learning
  • second language
  • technology-enhanced language learning


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