Learner-generated content and the lexical recall of beginning-level learners of Chinese as a foreign language
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© The Author(s) 2020. This study investigates the effect of personal investment in the form of learner-generated content (LGC) on the lexical recall of beginning-level learners of Chinese. The study employed a 2 × 2 repeated-measures design with content at two levels – teacher-generated content or TGC, and learner-generated content or LGC – and time at two levels (immediate, delayed). Quantitative results were triangulated with qualitative thematic analyses of follow-up interviews. The study was conducted at an Australian university and aimed to identify a way of modifying current intentional vocabulary learning activities to increase learner investment in the learning process and improve retention. Participants completed two versions of a picture description activity that was commonly used to introduce and practice new vocabulary in the program. The first version (TGC) was based on a picture that Chinese teachers chose to illustrate ten words learners did not know and that were pedagogic targets. The second (LGC) was based on pictures that learners selected as being personally meaningful and that illustrated ten words that they did not know in Chinese but wanted to learn. Findings revealed significant differences in recall for LGC words over TGC words on both immediate and delayed post-tests, and a significant interaction between content and time, demonstrating a faster rate of decay in memory for TGC words than LGC words. Follow-up interviews indicated that LGC words were more meaningful to learners in terms of relevance, interest, emotional value and associations with world knowledge. Results are discussed in terms of how LGC vocabulary activities might be used in second language (L2) courses.
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