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Vocabulary learning with the Moodle glossary tool: a case study

Ratz, Sibylle

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Abstract

Vocabulary learning is a vital part of mastering a language and experience has shown that students often neglect to routinely work
on this aspect leading to problems with listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. This case study describes and evaluates the
use of the Moodle glossary to support vocabulary learning in the modern language classroom. First-year students of German added
30 vocabulary items to the glossary each week. All students were encouraged to learn the new contributions on a weekly basis and
classroom activities were used to reinforce the new vocabulary. Contributions were expected to follow a certain format, and
students received a small percentage of their mark for their contributions.
A mixed-method approach using surveys, statistics from Moodle, feedback notes, observation notes, email exchanges, and a
focus group with students served to analyse the effectiveness of the Moodle glossary. Results showed that all students
contributed to building the tool, though technological support from the instructor was sometimes necessary. Students less
regularly read the contributions of others. A comparison of the Moodle activity report and the weekly quiz results suggested
that engaging with the tool led to improved quiz results. The tool was successful in promoting independent learning, however
extrinsic motivators (such as assessment and quizzes) proved necessary for some students. In general, the Moodle glossary was a
useful tool for vocabulary learning and recommendations for a successful implementation are given. This case study will be of
interest to language instructors, but also to learners and instructors dealing with specialised terminology.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Jul 21, 2015
Publication Date 2016-07
Deposit Date Feb 23, 2016
Publicly Available Date Feb 23, 2016
Journal Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice
Print ISSN 2051-9788
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 4
Issue 1
Pages 44-51
DOI https://doi.org/10.14297/jpaap.v4i1.170
Keywords Moodle glossary; vocabulary learning; independent learning; technology; modern languages;
Public URL http://researchrepository.napier.ac.uk/id/eprint/9568
Publisher URL http://dx.doi.org/10.14297/jpaap.v4i1.170
Contract Date Feb 23, 2016

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