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What you see is what you get? Use and effectiveness of multimodal input for second language learning

Nowadays, the Internet offers numerous kinds of online videos, among which educational ones (e.g. MOOCs, flipped classroom, TED talks, but also numerous channels on YouTube). Those videos enable people to get instruction in a multitude of different subjects by themselves. This phenomenon usually involves more frequent contact with foreign languages via audiovisual input. Therefore, the easy availability of foreign online educational videos also enlarges the need to learn languages in order to understand videos’ content.

            Indeed, videos have for long been used to improve second language (L2) listening comprehension and vocabulary acquisition. However, learning a language through video is not an easy thing to do. One reason for that is that people do not pay enough attention, another reason is that people using this audiovisual input have different needs and backgrounds. A lot of researchers have already investigated the effects of different input enhancement techniques/learning supports in videos, such as full captioning in L1 or L2, glossaries, and keywords captioning, on learners’ vocabulary acquisition and listening comprehension. However, the results are far from univocal. It is still not clear which language should best be used in subtitles (L1, L2), whether glossaries in full captioning can help vocabulary acquisition and whether keywords captioning are more useful than full captioning.

            This PhD project will thus investigate the effectiveness (i.e. perceived usefulness, actual use and learning gains) of different input enhancement techniques. It focuses on investigating which language is most useful in subtitles for both content comprehension and vocabulary acquisition and whether full captioning with highlighted target words (FCHT) with(out) glossaries would be most effective than keywords captioning (KC) with(out) glossaries. Moreover, it will also study how leaners’ attention can be enhanced and directed towards vocabulary. Therefore, this project will not only make use of offline measures (e.g. vocabulary and listening comprehension tests), but also of online measures (e.g. eye-tracker, log files). Next to that, new input enhancement techniques/learning supports, such as pop-up quiz, will be set up in videos to complement the other ones and to check whether they help learners understand and learn. Finally, this project will focus on the adaptivity of these learning supports according to learners’ needs, attitudes and individual factors.

            These learning supports will be incorporated in Dutch videos, the participants will be French-native speakers. The first study will investigate whether glossaries are useful in FCHT and in which language the FCHT are the most effective. The same will be studied with KC. The following studies will focus on the attention enhancement techniques, the new learning supports and the adaptivity of all of these.

Date:1 Oct 2016  →  18 Dec 2020
Keywords:Listening comprehension, Vocabulary acquisition, Audio-visual comprehension, Captions, Dutch, French
Disciplines:Education curriculum, Linguistics, Theory and methodology of linguistics, Other languages and literary studies
Project type:PhD project