An Analysis of Current Research on Computer-Assisted L2 Vocabulary Learning

A Systematic Review




computer-assisted language learning (CALL), blended learning, distance learning, computer-assisted vocabulary learning (CAVL)


The use of educational technologies to teach a second language (L2) in general, and L2 vocabulary in particular, has mass appeal among computer-assisted language learning (CALL) practitioners. The main objective of the present study is to report the challenges and affordances of technologies used for computerassisted vocabulary learning (CAVL), as described in current literature. A systematic review was conducted, and the results were visualized in a hierarchical data model. Following a rigorous screening process, 97 peer-reviewed articles published from 2014 to 2020 were selected from major related databases. Theoretically, the findings inform researchers about the reported limitations and advantages of computer-assisted L2 vocabulary learning and serve as a road map for future research directions. Pedagogically, the findings provide L2 teachers with an instruction manual to inform their practice, allowing them to benefit from the reported affordances of CAVL and take measures to address the reported challenges.

Author Biographies

Akbar Bahari, Urmia University

Akbar Bahari has conducted several studies in the field of technology-assisted language learning (TALL). He has introduced and conceptualized several pedagogical models for TALL, including nonlinear dynamic L2 motivation, the computer-assisted FonF practice model, nonlinear dynamic individual-centered assessment model, nonlinear dynamic interactive reading model, computerassisted nonlinear dynamic approach (CANDA), etc. He has published articles in several journals, including Computers & Education, Interactive Learning Environments, Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning, CALL-EJ, Teaching English with Technology, and Journal of Computer Assisted Learning. (ORCID: https://orcid. org/0000-0002-4575-6480)

Allyson Eamer, Ontario Tech University

Allyson Eamer is Associate Dean at the Faculty of Education, Ontario Tech University, Oshawa, Canada. She is an applied linguist with research interests in the area of language teaching and learning, as well in inter-generational language transmission. She has written extensively about the intersection of L1 proficiency, identity negotiation, and belonging in diasporic communities. She has worked on a number of projects funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council related to the immigrant/refugee experience in post-secondary education and in the language classroom. Dr. Eamer teaches in the pre-service teacher education program, as well as in the graduate program focusing on education and digital technologies.

Janette Hughes, Ontario Tech University

Janette Hughes is a professor and Canada Research Chair in technology and pedagogy at the Faculty of Education, Ontario Tech University. She specializes in the transformation of literacy practices through digital media. Her research and teaching interests include critical digital literacies, digital making, adolescent literacies and identity, writing and digital media, new literacies and conceptualizations of learning, and digital citizenship. She is the recipient of the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation’s Early Researcher Award and the Ontario Research Fund–Research Excellence Award. (ORCID: https://orcid. org/0000-0002-3463-8382)


References marked with an asterisk indicate studies included in the systematic review.

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How to Cite

Bahari, A., Eamer, A., & Hughes, J. (2022). An Analysis of Current Research on Computer-Assisted L2 Vocabulary Learning: A Systematic Review. CALICO Journal, 39(3), 257–280.