Action Research: Using Quizlet foMobile Vocabulary Learning and Retention

Thursday, March 26, 2015
11:30 - 12:15 Metro Toronto Convention Centre,
 Room 809

This session was recorded by TESOL and is available for $15 at the link.


The presenter discusses action research with IEP students on the effectiveness of Quizlet, a Web2.0 and mobile app vocabulary flashcard program, to increase vocabulary retention and motivation. The presenter will explain the methodology, discuss the results of the study, and suggest ways to incorporate Quizlet into ESL vocabulary study.


ESL learners and teachers know that vocabulary is critical in understanding texts, and long-term vocabulary retention is difficult. This action research investigates the effectiveness of Quizlet for this purpose. Quizlet is a free Web2.0 and mobile app vocabulary flashcard and study program. The presenter has used Quizlet successfully for several years for incidental vocabulary learning. Unlike traditional vocabulary lists/definitions and other flashcard programs, Quizlet offers students multiple ways to interact with each word—listening to model pronunciation, learning definitions, spelling the words they hear, checking their progress, playing games for review, and taking randomized practice tests. These intentional vocabulary learning activities expose learners to multiple interactions with the vocabulary, necessary for retention (Nation, 1990 & 2011; Schmitt, 2000; Folse, 2004), and they support expanded rehearsal (Nakata, 2011). It is hypothesized that Quizlet will thus increase vocabulary retention, an outcome with important implications for CALL applications to be used for vocabulary study in ESL/EFL. The presenter has found that through Quizlet students demonstrated substantial improvements in vocabulary learning and retention, as well as increased enjoyment and motivation to study vocabulary. Considering that empirical studies have found flashcards and computer-based flashcards effective for vocabulary learning (Fitzpatrick, Al-Qarni, & Meara, 2008; Nation, 2001; Nakata, 2011), it seems necessary to investigate them for retention. However, Quizlet has not been studied in research to date regarding retention and motivation, making this study a significant contribution to the field and the CALL classroom. The purpose of this presentation is to use a spaced interval protocol (Nation, 2011; Loucky, 2010) with Quizlet quizzes to measure retention rates and a Likert-style questionnaire to document the students’ attitude toward vocabulary learning with Quizlet. The presenter will outline the methodology of the action research, discuss the results, suggest effective classroom applications, and recommend further research.




Presenter bio:

Christine Bauer-Ramazani (MBA, MA, MEd) is an instructor of English and teacher trainer at Saint Michael's College in Vermont, U.S.A. Her specialty is integrating Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) into the classroom, which she has written about and presented on at conferences around the world, focusing on the pedagogical uses of technology. Christine co-founded the Electronic Village Online of TESOL and teaches online/distance courses for TESOL in the Principles and Practices of Teaching Online as well as Saint Michael's College on CALL and Curriculum and Syllabus Design. She also regularly teaches an undergraduate business course and a linked ESP support course--Academic English for Business Administration.