The Involvement Load Hypothesis and Vocabulary Learning: The Effect of Task Types and Involvement Index on L2 Vocabulary Acquisition

Document Type: Research Paper

Authors

1 University of Mazandaran, Mazandaran

2 M. A. student University of Mazandaran, I. R. of Iran

Abstract

This study builds on Laufer and Hulstijn’s (2001) motivational-cognitive construct of task-induced involvement in learning vocabulary and addresses itself to its strong claim that the depth of processing is the overriding factor in learning words. The paper first re-examines the effect of processing load and then of task type on the initial learning and retention of words. To do so, 60 EFL learners from two branches of an English institute were selected. The participants were then randomly assigned to three groups: The first group completed an input-oriented task with an involvement index of three; the second group also completed the same type of task but with an involvement index of two, and the third group completed an output-oriented task with the same involvement load as that of the first group. The comparison of the performance of the groups in the immediate and delayed posttests reveals that contrary to the prediction of the involvement load hypothesis, Task 2 with an involvement index of two was superior to Task 1, which had a higher index. Besides, the participants who had completed the output oriented task (Task 3) outperformed those that did the input-oriented task (Task 1), despite their index equivalency. The study suggests that the operationalization of the levels of processing, especially evaluation, needs reconsideration.

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