Online strategy instruction for vocabulary depth-of-knowledge and web-based dictionary skills

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2013-01-01
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Ranalli, Jim
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English

The Department of English seeks to provide all university students with the skills of effective communication and critical thinking, as well as imparting knowledge of literature, creative writing, linguistics, speech and technical communication to students within and outside of the department.

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The Department of English and Speech was formed in 1939 from the merger of the Department of English and the Department of Public Speaking. In 1971 its name changed to the Department of English.

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1939-present

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  • Department of English and Speech (1939-1971)

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This paper explores the feasibility of an automated, online form of L2 strategy instruction (SI) as an alternative to conventional, classroom-based forms that rely primarily on teachers. Feasibility was evaluated by studying the effectiveness, both actual and perceived, of a five-week, online SI course designed to teach web-based dictionary skills integrated with knowledge of lexical patterns (involving grammatical collocation, complementation, and transitivity). Sixty-four learners in a US university ESL composition course were matched for vocabulary size and then randomly assigned to treatment and comparison groups in a learning management system. The SI treatment comprised multimedia presentations and a variety of practice activities with immediate, specific feedback, while the comparison condition involved recurrent use of dictionaries for referencing vocabulary usage features but no instruction. Performance data showed significant gains among the SI group in contrast to the comparison group, as well as a clear need for such training, while perception data indicated that participants felt the instruction was effective and relevant. The findings point to the as yet untapped potential of this form of instruction to address long-standing cost-benefit concerns about SI, as well as to help learners make more strategic use of CALL resources.

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This article is from Language Learning & Technology 17 (2013): 75. Posted with permission.

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Tue Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2013
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