Chinese university students' experience of WeChat-based English-language vocabulary learning
Li, Fa and Fan, Si and Wang, YanJun and Lu, Jinjin, Chinese university students' experience of WeChat-based English-language vocabulary learning, Education Sciences, 11, (9) Article 554. ISSN 2227-7102 (2021) [Refereed Article]
The outbreak of COVID-19 worldwide in 2020 has posed tremendous challenges to higher education globally. Teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) is among the many areas affected by the pandemic. The unexpected transition to online teaching has increased challenges for improving and/or retaining students' language proficiency. WeChat, a popular social application in China, was widely used for TEFL at Chinese universities before COVID-19. However, it remains unclear whether the use of WeChat can facilitate Chinese university students' English-language lexical proficiency during the pandemic. To fill this gap, the aim of the present study was two-fold: (1) it initially explored the relationship between the variables including students' academic years, genders, and academic faculties/disciplines, and their lexical proficiency; and (2) it evaluated the effectiveness of a WeChat-assisted lexical learning (WALL) program in facilitating learning outcomes of English-language vocabulary. One hundred and thirty-three students at a university in Northern China participated in the WALL program for three weeks. As the results indicated, the independent variables had no correlation with the students' lexical proficiency. More importantly, the students had a decline in the test scores after using the program, compared to their initial test scores. Moreover, the difference was reported to be medium. The findings further proposed questions on applying WeChat to vocabulary teaching in a large-scaled transition. The study is expected to provide insights for tertiary institutions, language practitioners, and student stakeholders to troubleshoot the potential problems regarding implementing WeChat-based TEFL pedagogies.
mobile-assisted language learning, English-language vocabulary learning, WeChat, Chinese higher education