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Title: The effects of hypermedia annotations on young Kuwaiti EFL learners' vocabulary recall and reading comprehension
Authors: Amir, Zahra
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Although there is a wealth of literature exploring the benefits of annotations on vocabulary learning and reading comprehension, very little exists on whether this tool is useful to young learners. Studies with adult learners show that annotations are, by and large, beneficial but, nevertheless, can be problematic for those learners with a lower working memory capacity. For these reasons it is necessary to establish whether hypermedia annotations are suitable for young learners who naturally have a lower working memory capacity than adults. The effects of annotations must be examined using a theoretical framework and research design that are suitable for this age group. This study investigates the impact of annotations on young learners’ immediate vocabulary recall and reading comprehension. The research was conducted on 112 Kuwaiti EFL learners studying in public schools at year 4. An experimental research approach was adopted using two treatment groups and one control. A within-subjects design was set in place with a counterbalance method whereby all participants sat for three reading conditions: Treatment A (Picture + L2 audio), Treatment B (Picture + L1 translation) and control (no annotations). Quantitative data were gathered using pre-tests, post-tests and software log files. Qualitative data were gathered through focus groups which took place during the last week of the experiment. The findings suggest that reading with annotations promotes immediate vocabulary recall but does not affect reading comprehension either positively or negatively. No significant differences were found between the two treatments for vocabulary recall and reading comprehension. Qualitative data from the focus group indicated that the participants may have experienced some disorientation as they reported difficulty concentrating on both annotations and text. The quantitative data, however, from pre-tests and post-tests did not substantiate these claims. It was, therefore, hypothesised that participants exerted an extra mental effort which compensated for any disorientation. Further research is needed to verify whether this is indeed the case and to determine what, if any, are the long-lasting effects.
Description: PhD
Appears in Collections:School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

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