Technology-supported learning tools have become more popular in recent years. An article recently published in Computer Assisted Language Learning examined whether a vocabulary learning mobile app with a self-regulated learning (SRL) mechanism can help students with vocabulary learning, as well as improving their self-regulated learning abilities.
Forty-six fifth graders from an elementary school in Taiwan participated in this study. They are all EFL (English as a foreign language) students. Twenty-one of them were randomly assigned to the experimental group, while 25 students were designated as the control group. Experimental group students received a vocabulary learning app with a self-regulated learning mechanism containing five components, namely a SRL setting module, an English vocabulary learning module, a quiz module, a note module, and a goal reminder module. Students could set self-regulating goals, acquire vocabulary data and pronunciation files, take notes, take quizzes, and check their goals. Control group students also received a mobile app to support their vocabulary learning, but the app had no SRL setting module nor a goal reminder module. In a two-week period, students were estimated to use the app to learn vocabulary for at least five hours per week. Students were assessed through a vocabulary ability assessment focused on the dimensions of form and meaning in vocabulary, and through a Chinese version of the English-Learning Motivation Questionnaire. The results indicated that:
- The experimental group students, both male and female, who learned with the app that had the self-regulated learning mechanism, performed better than the control group students.
- The experimental group students also showed greater improvement in English learning motivation than the control group students.
- The benefits of the app were more salient to learners who had a field-dependent cognitive style, that tends to perceive information in a more global way.
The authors noted that learners in the experimental group frequently checked their progress towards reaching the SRL goals. Therefore it was suggested that a ranking mechanism should be added to the learning app to strengthen students’ motivation to enlarge their English vocabulary.
Source: Chen, C.-M., Chen, L.-C., & Yang, S.-M. (2019). An English vocabulary learning app with self-regulated learning mechanism to improve learning performance and motivation. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 32(3), 237–260. https://doi.org/10.1080/09588221.2018.1485708