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The effects of multimedia on second language vocabulary learning and reading comprehension

, The University of New Mexico, United States

The University of New Mexico . Awarded


The present study examined the use of multimedia software, Ciberteca: Una carta a Dios (Chun & Plass, 1999), for enhancing vocabulary learning and reading comprehension of one hundred two students enrolled in third semester (intermediate-level) Spanish classes. Specifically, the research investigated the effects of annotations (glosses) in the form of video, photographs, Spanish definitions, and English definitions on learning new words and for understanding an authentic story in Spanish titled Una carta a Dios . A control group did not have access to annotations while reading the story. The choice-lookup group freely looked up annotations for 85 words and the forced-lookup group was required to consult all annotation types available (video, photograph, English definition, Spanish definition) for the 85 annotated (glossed) words.

Students completed a pretest and posttest of 20 Spanish words annotated in the story for which they provided an English translation. In addition, all participants typed or wrote a summary of the story in English and completed two spatial ability tests and a test of their verbal ability in English. Finally, learners in the choice-lookup and forced lookup groups completed a questionnaire concerning the effectiveness of the multimedia annotations for learning vocabulary and for understanding the story.

Participants in the choice-lookup and forced-lookup groups performed significantly better on the measures of vocabulary learning and reading comprehension than the control group. No statistically significant differences in performance were found between the choice-lookup and forced-lookup groups on the vocabulary posttest and summary. Spatial ability and verbal ability in English did not influence performance on the vocabulary posttest or recall protocol for the three groups.

Overall, students in the choice-lookup and forced-lookup groups agreed that the multimedia annotations were effective for facilitating their understanding of the story and for learning new words.


Abraham, L.B. The effects of multimedia on second language vocabulary learning and reading comprehension. Ph.D. thesis, The University of New Mexico. Retrieved August 5, 2021 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

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