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Seeing Arabic Learners Process New Vocabulary during Captioned-video Watching: An Eye-Tracking Study
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Abstract

Captioned videos are powerful pedagogical tools that help improve comprehension and learning (Ayers & Sweller, 2014). Captions increase vocabulary learning by facilitating a greater depth of processing (Bird & Williams, 2002). But researchers are yet to document exactly how learners process language through captioned videos (Vanderplank, 2016). In this study, we document how learners process novel vocabulary words during captioned-video watching.

We tested the hypothesis that captions help with novel vocabulary learning. If incidental vocabulary learning occurred, and if captions helped, then there should be evidence that the captions themselves contributed to the learning. Evidence, in this case, would be data showing that individuals who learned new vocabulary also paid attention to the new vocabulary words in the captions. Stronger evidence would be data showing that individuals, who learned the new vocabulary words better, attended to the vocabulary more than those who did not learn or learned less (Montero Perez, Peters, & De Smet, 2015). Second-year learners of Arabic watched captioned videos and took comprehension and vocabulary tests afterward. They reported whether (and to what extent) they knew the targeted words beforehand. We present data indicating the role of attention to captioning during vocabulary learning. We back up our results with interview data from eight learners: They revealed that they used captions to help process novel words, which aided their comprehension overall. We discuss how our data support the theory of multimedia learning (Mayer, 2014), which is that learning is deeper and longer lasting when there is both aural and visual information to support it.

Summary

We tested the hypothesis that captions help with vocabulary learning. Arabic learners watched captioned videos then took comprehension and vocabulary tests. Data support the theory of multimedia learning (Mayer, 2014), which is that learning is deeper and longer lasting when there is both aural and visual information to support it.

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