The impact of using electronic dictionary on vocabulary learning and retention of Iranian EFL learners

Author/s:

Amirian, Seyyed Mohammad Reza*
English Department, Hakim Sabzevari University, Iran (sm.amirian@sttu.ac.ir)

Heshmatifar, Zahra
English Department, Hakim Sabzevari University, Iran (heshmatifar79@yahoo.com)

Abstract:

Dictionary use is one potential vocabulary learning strategy in developing learning process. With the development of digital technology, types of learners’ dictionaries have been diversified during the last two decades. The present study aims at investigating the effects of electronic dictionary on learning and long-term retention of vocabulary of Iranian lower-intermediate EFL learners. To ensure the homogeneity of the participants, an Oxford Placement test was administered to 74 female students studying at a public high school in Sabzevar, Iran. 60 participants whose scores were two standard deviations above and below the mean were selected as homogeneous and were assigned to Electronic Dictionary (ED) and Paper Dictionary (PD) groups. During the five sessions of the treatment, 35 vocabularies were instructed to the two groups. The ED group received the words through a CD-ROM dictionary to find meaning and definition of newly taught words, while PD group followed the ordinary method using PD. Both groups took an immediate posttest administered immediately after the treatment and a delayed posttest administered two weeks later. The results of the t-test revealed that the students in ED group outperformed those in PD group. Hence, it is suggested that an ED can enhance learning and retention of vocabulary. This study also provides pedagogical implications for utilizing ED as an effective learning tool.

Keywords: electronic dictionary; paper dictionary; vocabulary learning; vocabulary long-term retention

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5861/ijrset.2013.384

*Corresponding Author