Using mobile vocabulary learning apps as aids to knowledge retention: Business vocabulary acquisition

Lucas KOHNKE, Ruofei ZHANG, Di ZOU

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

31 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In recent years, mobile technologies have begun to offer pedagogical affordances that promote meaningful learning, especially in vocabulary acquisition, both inside and outside the classroom (Chai, Wong, & King, 2016; Duman, Orhon, & Gedik, 2014; Liu, 2016). Vocabulary knowledge is perhaps the most important component for foreign and second language learners in higher education surroundings (Chen & Chung, 2008; Huckin, Haynes, & Coady, 1993), as vocabulary is one of the building blocks of a language (Nation, 2001). Previous researchers have found that second and foreign language learners struggle with learning and memorizing vocabulary (Oxford, 1990; Schmitt, 2010). Consequently, it is vital to provide learners with an effective learning tool to facilitate their vocabulary acquisition.

Mobile assisted language learning has proven itself a capable educational tool to aid the retention of newly acquired language using ubiquitous learning (Chinnery, 2006; Hwang & Chang, 2011; Hwang & Tsai, 2011). Among the various mobile assisted language learning technologies available, smartphones have perhaps the highest potential for enhancing the educational process and creating interesting, motivating, stimulating and unconventional learning opportunities (Cui & Bull, 2005). This has led to a drastic increase in available vocabulary applications that may help foreign and second language learners to acquire vocabulary knowledge. It is with this background that we developed the in-house mobile application, Excel@EnglishPolyU, specifically to help Hong Kong University students with business vocabulary.

This article is a preliminary attempt to examine the effects of the app to enhance undergraduate students’ knowledge retention of business vocabulary of different difficulty levels through extended ubiquitous learning opportunities. The guiding questions are:

1. Can the mobile assisted language learning app enhance learners’ retention of business vocabulary of different difficulty levels?
2. To what extent can the mobile assisted language learning programme enhance learners’ retention of business vocabulary of different difficulty levels?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)683-690
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Asia TEFL
Volume16
Issue number2
Early online date30 Jun 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

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