Journal for Language Teaching

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Students’ experiences of using mobile phones for Afrikaans vocabulary development

Donovan Lawrence


The proliferation of mobile technology presents an opportunity for (language) teachers to experiment with using mobile devices to enhance the learning process. However, research in Mobile-Assisted Language Learning (MALL) is relatively new and unexplored in South Africa, resulting in a lack of empirical evidence to guide such curriculum integration and implementation.

This study was undertaken to investigate students’ experiences using their mobile phones to develop Afrikaans vocabulary. As an out-of-class activity, they received mini vocabulary lessons on their mobile phones. The retention of target words was then assessed and reinforced during text-based activities.

The findings confirm that using a mobile phone as a learning tool allows learning to take place anywhere, anytime and serves as a bridge between formal and informal learning. When used for vocabulary development, the choice of app, the type of activity, the content and size of the message impact on the learning experience.

Keywords: Mobile-Assisted Language Learning, WhatsApp, vocabulary development, Afrikaans
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