The effectiveness of computer-based spaced repetition in foreign language vocabulary instruction: a double-blind study


  • Evgeny Chukharev-Hudilainen Iowa State University
  • Tatiana A. Klepikova St. Petersburg State University of Economics



vocabulary acquisition, double-blind design, activity generation


The purpose of the present paper is twofold; first, we present an empirical study evaluating the effectiveness of a novel CALL tool for foreign language vocabulary instruction based on spaced repetition of target vocabulary items. The study demonstrates that by spending an average of three minutes each day on automatically generated vocabulary activities, EFL students increased their long-term vocabulary retention rate three fold. Second, we demonstrate that the double-blind experiment design, which has become standard research practice in such extremely high-stakes fields as pharmacology and healthcare, has the potential of being successfully implemented in CALL research.

Author Biographies

  • Evgeny Chukharev-Hudilainen, Iowa State University
    Evgeny Chukharev-Hudilainen is an assistant professor in the Applied Linguistics and Technology program at Iowa State University. He holds BSc and MSc degrees in computer engineering from Northern Federal University of Russia and a PhD in applied and computational linguistics from Herzen State Pedagogical University. Prior to joining Iowa State in 2012, he spent more than six years working as a senior software engineer at the Central Bank of Russia. His current research interests lie at the intersection of applied linguistics, psycholinguistics, and computational linguistics. He is leading research and development of a web-based automated writing evaluation system and teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in linguistics at ISU.
  • Tatiana A. Klepikova, St. Petersburg State University of Economics
    Tatiana A. Klepikova is a professor in the Department of English and Translation Studies at St Petersburg State University of Economics. She holds PhD and DrSc degrees in Germanic linguistics. Her areas of interest include cognitive linguistics, corpus linguistics, and computer-assisted language learning, with special emphases on the theory of linguistic metarepresentations, construction grammar, vocabulary acquisition in foreign language pedagogy, and discipline-specific language. She has published more than 100 papers in journals and edited collections in Russia and internationally, and is an editorial board member for the journal Issues in Cognitive Linguistics. She teaches both theoretical courses in linguistics and practical courses of English for specific purposes.


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How to Cite

Chukharev-Hudilainen, E., & Klepikova, T. A. (2016). The effectiveness of computer-based spaced repetition in foreign language vocabulary instruction: a double-blind study. CALICO Journal, 33(3), 334–354.