Friday, May 1, 2009

Groot (2000) Computer Assisted Second Language Vocabulary Acquisition

I'm reading this paper as part of a meta-analysis of different approaches to teaching vocabulary. This paper describes a vocabulary teaching system called CAVOCA that is designed around the theory of vocabulary acquisition. It teaches English words through a series of contextual examples. It starts with a multiple choice as shown in the figure, and gradually moves on to more complex contextual examples and the user must indicate whether they are correct or not, with failure leading to detailed explanations. Finally the user sees excerpts from press releases and other paragraph length examples of real world usage.

The paper summarizes a number of experiments that were performed to evaluate the effectiveness of CAVOCA in comparison with a control condition of bilingual word lists. The main variation was between the type of test used to evaluate the subjects knowledge of the vocabulary being studied. When tested in terms of needing to produce a definition or translation of the words, those words studied in bilingual lists were better recalled. However this situation was reversed when vocabulary was tested in terms of fill-in-the-blank cloze tests. In particular delayed tests showed that the words studied in bilingual lists were forgotten more quickly, although I am a little concerned by this comparison as I am not sure how meaningful it is to compar decay rates from levels that are not the same to begin with.

The paper is available at the following link:

I ran the reference list through my scholar system and got a pretty good hit rate, although I can tell there are some mismatches.
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Sepideh said...

Hi Sam, I've recently become interested in teaching L2 vocabulary via computers. I read Groot's paper and wanted to experiment with CAVOCA, but couldn't find it, neither its developer. I came across your blog this morning anf thought maybe you could help. Thanks!

Sam Joseph said...

I did manage to download a version of CAVOCA from somewhere, but I can't remember where from. I believe the developer was Professor Groot and his students, but he has retired and I have been unable to contact him or his students. I do have a 16.5MB zip file of the program. Here's a link to it:

jd said...

Can you still download the file? I can't seem to get to it at filedropper, and I can't find it anywhere else on the web.

Sam Joseph said...

must be a timelimit on filedropper. I've reuploaded it:

Or post your email address and I can send it to you.

jd said...

yeah, I think it's like 30 days without a download limit. Thank you for reuploading, if you don't mind I'll republish it without a limit, so more people can benefit from it.