Exploring Discipline-Specific Vocabulary Retention in L2 through App Design: Implications for Higher Education Students

Lucas KOHNKE*, Di ZOU, Ruofei ZHANG

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In higher education, understanding discipline-specific vocabulary can be challenging. Insufficient vocabulary can be a major challenge for students as they begin their university studies. This study examined university undergraduate English language learners’ discipline-specific vocabulary retention when they used an in-house developed mobile app, Books vs Brains@PolyU, in Hong Kong. A total of 159 second language (L2) students from four disciplines participated in the study, and they completed a pre- and posttest consisting of 120 words in four difficulty levels in their chosen disciplines. The results suggested that participants acquired more vocabulary words at the intermediate and advanced levels than at the beginner and elementary ones. The findings improve the understanding of MALL and vocabulary acquisition using apps to facilitate and support learners’ academic studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)539-556
Number of pages18
JournalRELC Journal
Volume52
Issue number3
Early online date11 May 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.

Keywords

  • Books vs Brains@PolyU
  • discipline-specific
  • L2
  • retention
  • Vocabulary

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