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Modeling a supplemental course Web site for EFL vocabulary acquisition

, University of Delaware, United States

University of Delaware . Awarded


My reading of research indicates that vocabulary learning is the building block of overall language proficiency. Successful L2 learning hinges very much on target vocabulary acquisition. Vocabulary knowledge is multi-dimensional. It requires multiple encounters with the target vocabulary in various contexts to fully obtain the word knowledge. The process of learning words is accumulative and recursive. A supportive learning environment and direct instruction are necessary for effective vocabulary acquisition. However, Taiwanese EFL students are not situated in an environment that fosters vocabulary teaming. They are not learning the target vocabulary under ideal conditions. To make things worse, the linguistic distance between Chinese and English makes it even more difficult for Chinese-speaking students to learn English words. A survey of vocabulary learning among Taiwanese EFL learners was distributed to four hundred and sixty-nine vocational college students. The findings of the survey indicated that many of the respondents regarded learning English vocabulary as rather difficult. The results of the survey also identified the major difficulties and obstacles for learning English words: (1) technical terms, (2) short-lived memory of the newly learned vocabulary, (3) learning words that do not have equivalences in their native language, (4) word forms, and (5) words that are similar in spelling. In addition, most of the survey respondents favored an interactive, supplemental course Web site aiming to support vocabulary learning. This study proposes that a supplemental Web site would be useful in supporting EFL students' vocabulary learning. However, it should be designed under the theoretical framework of L2 vocabulary acquisition following pedagogically sound approaches. The theoretical framework for building a course Web site that aims to support L2 vocabulary learning is established through incorporating (1) the SLA model, (2) proper conditions for successful L2 vocabulary acquisition, (3) learning theories, (4) pedagogical approaches to techniques for vocabulary teaching and learning, and (5) student needs. Relevant literature reviews and the findings of the survey lead to the recommended guidelines for designing and constructing such a supplemental Web site: (1) The Web site should offer EFL students with multiple exposures to meaningful, contextual input of English words; (2) The Web site should offer detailed vocabulary information; (3) The Web site should provide learners with opportunities to use their L2 word knowledge; (4) The Web site should address the difficulties EFL students experience in learning the target vocabulary; (5) The Web site should provide timely and informative feedback to students' L2 vocabulary output; (6) The Web site should promote higher motivation to learn the target vocabulary; (7) The Web site should generate more interactions among the teacher and the class; and (8) The Web should promote active, self-directed learning. Although the primary target of this study is EFL learners attending vocational colleges in Taiwan, the guidelines may be generalizable to other educational settings. This paper also recommends the tool for authoring the Web site and outlines the steps for implementing and evaluating the proposed project. A model Web site using the Active Server Pages (ASP) and relational database technology was also constructed following the recommended guidelines to demonstrate the feasibility of the recommendations.


Lin, S.F. Modeling a supplemental course Web site for EFL vocabulary acquisition. Ph.D. thesis, University of Delaware. Retrieved September 19, 2019 from .

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