Using Mobile Instant Messaging in Teaching Vocabulary to Pre-intermediate EFL Learners: The Case of WhatsApp

Ehsan Namaziandost(1*), Sajad Shafiee(2), Ray Suryadi(3),

(1) 1Department of English, Faculty of Humanities, Shahrekord Branch, Islamic Azad University, Shahrekord, Iran
(2) Department of English, Faculty of Humanities, Shahrekord Branch, Islamic Azad University, Shahrekord, Iran
(3) Universitas Sembilanbelas November Kolaka, Indonesia
(*) Corresponding Author


Smartphones are becoming an increasingly common part of our daily lives. Applications used in these systems are extremely varied due to their extraordinary efficiency. With respect to language teaching, the use of these technologies has opened up new doors, changing innovatively the way teachers teach and students learn. Accordingly, this study aimed to find out the impacts of using WhatsApp as a mobile instant messaging application on teaching vocabulary among pre-intermediate EFL learners. To this end, 60 Iranian pre-intermediate EFL learners were selected from a private English Language Institute. Then, they were randomly assigned to two equal groups- an experimental group and a control group. They were pre-tested by a researcher-made vocabulary test.  Then, the treatment was applied to both groups. As the treatment, the control group was taught with traditional activities whereas the experimental group was taught with the use of mobile application (WhatsApp). At the end of the instruction, a researcher-made vocabulary post-test was administered. The results of independent samples t-test and one-way ANCOVA indicated that the experimental group had better performance on the post-test compared to control group revealing the usefulness of the mobile application utilized in this study on learning vocabulary.


Mobile Instant Messaging, Social Media, WhatsApp, Vocabulary knowledge

Full Text:



Abedi, P., Namaziandost, E., & Akbari, S. (2019). The impact of flipped classroom instruction on Iranian upper-intermediate EFL learners' writing skill. English Literature and Language Review, 5(9), 164-172.

Alemi, M., Sarab, M. R. A., & Lari, Z. (2012). Successful learning of academic word list via MALL: Mobile assisted language learning. International Education Studies, 5(6), 99-109.

Alzu’bi M.A.M. & Sabha, M. R. N. (2013). Using mobile-based email for English foreign

language learners. Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology-TOJET, 12(1), 178-

Bacon, D., Stewart, K. & Stewart-Belle, S. (1998). Exploring predictors of student team project performance. Journal of Marketing Education, 20, 1, 63–71.

Basal, A. (2012). Authoring tools for developing the content in language education.

International Journal on New Trends in Education & Their Implications (IJONTE), 3(4),


Başoğlu, E. B., & Akdemir, O. (2010). A comparison of undergraduate students’ English vocabulary learning: using mobile phones and flash cards. Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology TOJET, 9(3), 1-7.

Bornman, E. (2012). The mobile phone in Africa: has it become a highway to the information

society or not? Contemporary Educational Technology, 3(4), 278-292.

Çavuş, N., & İbrahim, D. (2009). M-learning: An experiment in using SMS to support learning new English language words. British Journal of Educational Technology, 40(1), 78-91.

Cooper, T. C. (1999). Processing of idioms by L2 learners of English. TESOL Quarterly, 33(2), 233-262.

Cui, Y. & Bull, S. (2005). Context and learner modeling for the mobile foreign language learner.

SYSTEM, 33(2), 353-367.

Etemadfar, P., Namaziandost, E., & Banari, R. (2019). The impact of different output-based task repetition conditions on producing speech acts among Iranian advanced EFL learners. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 9(12), 1541-1549.

Grace, C. A. (1998). Retention of Word Meanings Inferred from Context and Sentence‐Level

Translations: Implications for the Design of Beginning‐Level CALL Software. The Modern Language Journal, 82(4), 533-544.

Han, T., & Keskin, F. (2016). Using a mobile application (WhatsApp) to reduce EFL speaking anxiety. Gist Education and Learning Research Journal, 6(12), 29-50.

Irujo, S. (1986). A piece of cake: Learning and teaching idioms. ELT journal, 40(3), 236-242.

Kukulska-Hulme, A. (2010). Learning Cultures on the Move: Where are we heading? Journal of

Educational Technology and Society, 13(4), 4-14.

Kukulska-Hulme, A., & Traxler, J. (Eds.). (2005). Mobile learning: A handbook for educators and

trainers. Psychology Press.

Lu, M. (2008). Effectiveness of vocabulary learning via mobile phone. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 24(6), 515-525.

Miangah, T. M., & Nezarat, A. (2012). Mobile-assisted language learning. International Journal of Distributed and Parallel Systems, 3(1), 309-319.

Miramontes, O., Nadeau, A., & Commins, N. (1997). Restructuring schools for linguistic diversity: Linking decision making to effective programs. New York: Teachers College Press.

Namaziandost E., & Nasri, M. (2019b). The impact of social media on EFL learners’ speaking skill: A survey study involving EFL teachers and students. Journal of Applied Linguistics and Language Research, 6(3), 199-215.

Namaziandost, E., Hashemifardnia, A., & Shafiee, S. (2019). The impact of opinion-gap, reasoning-gap, and information-gap tasks on EFL learners’ speaking fluency. Cogent Social Sciences 5(1), 1-16.

Namaziandost, E., Saberi Dehkordi, E., & Shafiee, S. (2019). Comparing the effectiveness of input-based and output-based activities on productive knowledge of vocabulary among pre-intermediate EFL learners. Asian-Pacific Journal of Second and Foreign Language Education, 4(2), 1-14

Namaziandost, E., Sabzevari, A., & Hashemifardnia, A. (2018). The effect of cultural materials on listening comprehension among Iranian upper-intermediate EFL learners: In reference to gender. Cogent Education,5(1), 1-27.

Nasri, M., Namaziandost, E., & Akbari, S. (2019). Impact of pictorial cues on speaking fluency and accuracy among Iranian pre-intermediate EF learners. International Journal of English Language and Literature Studies, 8(3), 99-109

Ono, Y., & Ishihara, M. (2011). The mobile-based training in an EFL classroom. In T. Hirashima, G. Biswas, T. Supnithi, & F.-Y. Yu (Eds.), Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Computers in Education (pp. 422-424). Chiang Mai, Thailand: Asia Pacific Society for Computers in Education.

Pavlik, J. V. (2015). Fueling a third paradigm of education: The pedagogical implications of digital, social and mobile media. Contemporary Educational Technology, 6(2), 113-125.

Purpura, J. E. (2004). Assessing grammar. Cambridge University Press.

Rambe, P. & Bere, A. (2012). An M-learning strategy for leveraging learner participation: using WhatsApp mobile messaging at a South African University of Technology. In P. Blignaut (Ed), Paper presented at Proceedings of the Southern African Computer Science Lecturers’ Association Conference (SACLA) (pp. 29–36), Thaba ‘Nchu, Bloemfontein, 1–3 July 2012.

Saran, M. & Seferoglu, G. (2010). Supporting foreign language vocabulary learning through

multimedia messages via mobile phones. Hacettepe University Journal of Education, 38,


Schmitt, N. (2000). Vocabulary in language teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Shakibaei, G., Shahamat, F., & Namaziandost, E. (2019). The effect of using authentic texts on Iranian EFL learners' incidental vocabulary learning: The case of English newspaper. International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation (IJLLT), 2(5), 422-432

Stockwell, G. (2010). Using mobile phones for vocabulary activities: Examining the effect of the

platform. Language Learning & Technology, 14(2), 95-110.

Tahmasbi, S., Hashemifardnia, A., & Namaziandost, E. (2019). Standard English or world Englishes: Issues of ownership and preference. Journal of Teaching English Language Studies, 7(3), 83-98.

Taylor, A. M. (2013). CALL-based versus paper-based glosses: Is there a difference in reading comprehension? CALICO Journal, 27(1), 147-160.

Thornton, P. & Houser, C. (2005). Using mobile phones in English education in Japan. Journal of

computer assisted learning, 21(3), 217-228.

Warschauer, M., & Healey, D. (1998). Computers and language learning: An overview. Language Teaching, 31(02), 57-71.

Wray, A. (1999). Formulaic language in learners and native speakers. Language Teaching, 32,


Zhang, L. (2009). The effect of etymological elaboration on L2 idiom acquisition and retention in

an online environment (WebCT). (Unpublished doctoral dissertation).

Ziafar M., & Namaziandost, E. (2019). Linguistics, SLA and lexicon as the unit of language. International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation (IJLLT), 2(5), 245-250.


Article Metrics

Abstract view : 356 times
PDF - 153 times


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2020 Ehsan Namaziandost, Sajad Shafiee, Ray Suryadi

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.