Learning Strategies to Aid L2 English Vocabulary Retention: Classroom Learning Compared to E-Learning Using Words&Birds
Hoorn, G.T. van den
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The purpose of this pioneering exploratory study is to gain insight into the vocabulary learning strategies applied by young children (aged 9-12) in Dutch primary education involved in EarlyBird schools offering Early English, both a) in class and b) in the e-learning programme Words&Birds, aiming to improve vocabulary learning in e-learning and classroom setting, and to contribute to the literature on vocabulary learning strategies used by young children. The translation, compensation, contextual, cognitive and metacognitive strategies were considered. Qualitative data revealing the experience of young children in groups 5-8 were gathered using semi-structured interviews conducted in four EarlyBird schools with 62 participants in small groups. In the analysis, one single group was compared in two conditions (A: classroom learning, and B: Words&Birds). The results revealed differences between conditions in the strategies employed. In class, more use of the translation strategy was found, whereas in Words&Birds the compensation strategy played an important role. These findings may be related to e-learning programmes stimulating more autonomous learning, whereas strategies used in class imply more dependency on the teacher. However, the results showed that differences in strategies between schools, classes, and type of question occurred. A remarkable finding was that younger learners (in group 5) preferred the translation strategy over the contextual strategy, in contrast with the older learners. This finding was related to the Levels of Processing model. The findings can serve as a starting point for future in-depth and quantitative studies into this topic, including comparison of schools and groups.