According to Paul Nation, computer assisted vocabulary learning involves “looking at the vocabulary content of the material…the presentation of the material …and the monitoring of learners’ performance.” (I.S.P. Nation, Learning Vocabulary in Another Language, Cambridge University Press, 2000, page 136.) Also, the students’ needs are taken care of through the flexibility of the program, by adapting the time availability and by modifying the principles of learning. Thus, the computer ensures that learners focus on vocabulary issues they need to remedy, giving them control to repeat particular words or taking over the control of this problem.
Repetition strategies have the following characteristics: “The vocabulary is repeated-ly presented in a random order. The learners determine what vocabulary will occur in each trial. The computer assumes that all items are of equal difficulty and provides repetition ac-cording to the learner’s previous performance.
The computer assumes that all items are not of equal difficulty and provides repetition according to the learner’s previous performance.” (I.S.P. Nation, Learning Vocabulary in Another Language, Cambridge University Press, 2000, page 139.) According to Paul Nation “a concordance is a list of contexts exemplifying a word or a word family.” (I.S.P. Nation, Learning Vocabulary in Another Language, Cambridge University Press, 2000, page 140.) This strategy is used to promote vocabulary learning, due to its advantages, such as: learners deal with vocabulary in real situations, which offer more information than simple descriptions; multiple situations give much information about words, such as collocates, grammar, word family, synonyms. “The use of concordances involves discovery learning, where the learners are being challenged to actively construct generalizations and note patterns and exceptions” (I.S.P. Na-tion, Learning Vocabulary in Another Language, Cambridge University Press, 2000, pages 140-141) and learners have control of what they learn and are presented a series of investiga-tion strategies.
There is a series of activities that learners can use with concordances: classification into groups of the items in a concordance; making of rules based on the provided information; “…recall items when the contexts are presented with the concordance word deleted.” (I.S.P. Nation, Learning Vocabulary in Another Language, Cambridge University Press, 2000, page 141.) An eloquent example of computer assisted vocabulary learning is the use of the OLS Platform, as part of Erasmus Plus programs. This Platform “is designed to assist Erasmus+ participants in improving their knowledge of the language in which they will work, study abroad so that they can make the most out of this experience. As the lack of language skills remains one of the main barriers to the participation in European education, training and youth mobility opportunities, OLS makes linguistic support accessible in a flexible and easy way. It also contributes to a specific objective of the Erasmus+ programme, which is to promote language learning and linguistic diversity. More than 350,000 Erasmus+ participants test their language skills with OLS every year and have the opportunity to improve their level with OLS language courses. On average, participants who follow courses actively improve their proficiency by at least one CEFR level (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages).” (ec.europa.eu/programmes/erasmus-plus/resources/online-linguistic-support_en) The platform is available, in all European official languages, for Erasmus+ Projects participants, who train abroad, for a minimum period of 19 days. “By taking the OLS lan-guage assessment before going abroad, Erasmus+ participants are able to determine their pro-ficiency in the language they will use to study or work. Taking this assessment before depar-ture is a pre-requisite for higher education students, to make sure that they meet the recom-mended level at their receiving organisation (except for native speakers or in duly justified cases). The results of the language assessment do not prevent participants from taking part in Erasmus+. Participants who wish to improve their language proficiency have the opportunity to follow an online language course before and during their time abroad. Access to the language course includes a great variety of Live Coaching activities, amongst which tutoring ses-sions and interactive MOOCs. Participants who are already sufficiently proficient in the main language used abroad (at least a B2 level) can follow a language course in the language of the country instead, provided that such language is available in OLS.” (ec.europa.eu/programmes/erasmus-plus/resources/online-linguistic-support_en)
After taking the initial assessment, comprised of 4 parts (vocabulary, grammar, listening and reading comprehension) each project participant receives an English language level, according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Then, the participants are sent a login invitation (licence) for the online English course (before the mobility abroad), to improve their knowledge. The minimum time required for the course is of 60 hours, during three months. This online course is easy to access from any device and the students can follow it at any time, from anywhere. It includes video sessions, online exercises, listening files, vocabulary topics, grammar, etc. all divided into language levels, according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. The vocabulary section is divided into different topics, with video and audio support and with exercises, from the lowest to the highest language level and included: Greetings, Introducing Oneself, Numbers, Family Members, Animals, Fruit, Useful Expressions: At the Airport, In a Restaurant, Asking and Giving Directions etc.
All in all, computer assisted vocabulary learning can be considered one of the future methods of online teaching, enabling students to become more independent in learning new languages and helping teachers in their online work.
1. I.S.P. Nation, Learning Vocabulary in Another Language, Cambridge University Press, 2000.