Monday, June 6, 2011

Results of online vocabulary studying

This year I added online vocabulary study, using Moodle forums. The basic assignment was for 10 of the 20 vocabulary words, add this information to a Moodle discussion about the word: use in a sentence, provide an image/ synonym/ antonym/ definition/ word origin). I wrote about this in and

In about 10 minutes, students could post this information. Many students found this activity fun - especially finding funny images - while others found it onerous (but I did notice that these were students who complained about doing any work, no matter what it was.)

But as one student commented in the year-end survey, “DO THE MOODLE. It's the same as a test grade and is an easy 100 if you just do it.”

For any students who had trouble logging in I had an easy alternative – give me the work on a piece of paper – which was frankly even less work. I found that since we started Moodle vocabulary “discussions” that students consistently did a much better job on tests of vocabulary than in previous years, and also used the words much more in their writing.

Students also commented in the year-end survey that the Moodle made studying vocabulary easier:
  • My vocab became expanded due to the intesive work done on it, it helped in other classses.
  • i liked the moodle this year because it is veyr handy and can help you study for things like vocabulary.
  • I liked the vocab and the discussions, I think vocab was so much easier to do on moodle and funner.
  • I loved moodle this year because before a vocab test, if I forgot my book, I could use the moodle.
  • it was a good way to review in the vocab section

Only two pieces of vocabulary study took place in class 1) introducing the words (in a continuing story that I wrote, so students would see the words in context), and 2) tests (students had to use the words correctly in a sentence showing the meaning of the word).

Vocabulary work was almost entirely on the Moodle and in exercises in the text, all outside of class. The online tool provided both a place to participate in learning about words, and a place to study. My goal was to move vocabulary study out of the classroom as much as possible, while still improving student learning; I accomplished both.

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