Investigating the Effectiveness of Vocabulary Learning Tasks from the Perspective of the Technique Feature Analysis: The Effects of Pictorial Annotations

  • Di Zou
  • Fu Lee Wang
  • Reggie Kwan
  • Haoran Xie
Conference paper
Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS, volume 843)


This research examines the effectiveness of vocabulary learning tasks from the perspective of Nation and Webb’s (2011) technique feature analysis. Three frequently practiced word learning exercises (reading comprehension, cloze-exercises, and sentence writing), and two types of annotations for target words (pictorial annotations, and textual annotations) were investigated. One hundred and twenty undergraduate students participated in the study and were randomly assigned to four groups to complete four tasks: reading comprehension with pictorial annotations, cloze-exercises with textual annotations, cloze-exercises with pictorial annotations, and sentence-writing with textual annotations. The post-test scores showed that the tasks of reading comprehension with pictorial annotations and doing cloze-exercises with textual annotations were similarly effective; and cloze-exercises with pictorial annotations were similarly effective as sentence-writing with textual annotations. Such results are consistent with the checklist for technique feature analysis, indicating that this framework is reliable in evaluating and predicting task effectiveness. It also shows that the involvement of imaging in an activity is conducive to word learning, and pictorial annotations promote effective learning. More integration of pictorial annotations in language learning materials is therefore suggested.


Vocabulary acquisition Technique feature analysis Pictorial annotations Imaging 



This study was fully supported by the Start-Up Research Grant (RG 54/2017-2018R) of The Education University of Hong Kong and a grant from Research Grants Council of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China (UGC/FDS11/E03/16).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Education University of Hong KongTai PoHong Kong SAR, China
  2. 2.Caritas Institute of Higher EducationTseung Kwan OHong Kong SAR, China
  3. 3.The Open University of Hong KongHo Man TinHong Kong SAR, China

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