Evaluating the effectiveness of a tool to improve vocabulary skills in an academic context: MySpeechTrainer
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Recently, many studies (Beatty, 2013; Golonka, Bowles, Frank, Richardson, and Freynik, 2014; Plonsky and Ziegler, 2016) showed that the use of CALL systems (Computer Assisted Language Learning) has a significant effect on how we learn languages. Considering that most of these applications were designed for English as a Foreign Language classrooms, it is still necessary to investigate how these systems can support students in an academic context. The present study aims at evaluating a prototype application called MySpeechTrainer (MyST). The company Novo Learning developed it and adapted it for research purposes by Radboud University. The students enrolled in a Semantics and Pragmatics course and a Phonetics course at Utrecht University used it to improve their English vocabulary in an academic context. We evaluated the participants’ learning outcomes with a pre and post-tests. Moreover, we analysed the log data of MyST to understand the students’ behaviour. While no significant differences were found with the analysis of the pre and post-tests, the log data provided useful information that can be used to improve the application in the future.