REAP Multimodal Learning Fall 09

From LearnLab
Revision as of 13:02, 9 November 2009 by Gparent (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search

REAP Study on Multimodal Learning of Vocabulary

Logistical Information

Contributors Gabriel Parent, Luis Marujo, Adam Skory, Maxine Eskenazi
Study Start Date October 13, 2009
Study End Date November 20, 2009
Learnlab Courses English Language Institute Reading 4 and 5 (ESL LearnLab)
Number of Students 68
Total Participant Readings (est.) 816
Data in Datashop no


The term “Multimodal learning” refers to learning where two or more different modes are used in order to integrate a Knowledge Component. In the particular case of vocabulary, the typical modes would be:

  • Visual ( visual word form )
  • Auditory ( auditory word form )
  • Pictorial ( picture of the concept subjacent to a word )

The object of this study is to evaluate the relationship between the visual and auditory modes in learning vocabulary.

Word learning episodes can occur through writing and speech. Spoken language knowledge is important as a foundation for reading, and may support word learning through reading. The objective of this study is to investigate under what conditions does spoken language input, when combined with written input, lead to better word learning for L2 learners.

The REAP software has been used for the first five years in the English Language Institute of the University of Pittsburgh to teach vocabulary through reading words in context (Heilman et al., 2006). It allows the study of many questions in vocabulary learning, text learning, and motivation for reading. Past work suggests that ESL students may know the oral form of a word without knowing the written form and raise the possibility that this knowledge could help support learning word meaning from reading documents.

Reap context definition.jpg

Passive Active Interactive
Explicit (general) Dictionary Definitions Practice Exercises
Implicit (instance) Interpreting meaning in context while reading Sentence Production (assessment) Practice Exercises


Research question

Under what conditions does spoken language input, when combined with written input, lead to better word learning for L2 learners?

Dependent variables

Normal post-test scores

Normal post-test scores for practiced words only

Long-term retention test scores, same post-test but administered months later.

Evidence of Transfer: sentence production tasks for target words, correct use of words in writing assignments for other courses.

Independent variables

Personalization of readings by topics of interest. In the control condition, the tutor did not use potential personal interest as a factor in its selection of reading materials. In the treatment condition, the tutor did use interest as a factor. All other selection criteria were the same in both conditions. Time on task was also the same.


Since intrinsic motivation seems to be important in language learning, the benefits of personalization will outweigh the costs.

Further Information

Annotated bibliography

Heilman, M., Collins-Thompson, K., Callan, J. & Eskenazi, M. (2006). Classroom success of an Intelligent Tutoring System for lexical practice and reading comprehension. Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Spoken Language Processing.