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Vocabulary Acquisition through Graded Captioned Videos among Lower Proficiency Second Language Learners

  • Kirubah Rajendran
  • Hema Rosheney Bt Mustafa
  • 1269-1286
  • Sep 18, 2023
  • Language

Vocabulary Acquisition through Graded Captioned Videos among Lower Proficiency Second Language Learners
Kirubah Rajendran & Hema Rosheney BT Mustafa

University Technology of Malaysia


Received: 15 August 2023; Revised: 03 September 2023; Accepted: 08 September 2023; Published: 18 September 2023


Vocabulary acquisition has become essential for second language learners to proceed to the next band on CEFR global scales. However, there are worries about how CEFR would affect lower proficiency pupils with limited vocabulary. To address this, graded captioned videos from English Central has been used among the lower proficiency pupils. In this current study, selected year 6 students (20 experimental and 20 control) from a semi urban school was chosen. This study used contextualized vocabulary tests such as Multiple Choice Vocabulary tests and C-test. Pearson correlation was also performed to determine if there is a correlation between Experimental pre and post test. The results of the descriptive statistics and two tailed t-test showed that the Experimental Pre group has lower values for the dependent variable than the Experimental Post group. Besides, there were also several limitations in the current study. The study mainly focussed on form and meaning rather than collaborating all the three main themes: Form, Meaning and Use. It would be useful for the future researchers to do more study on form, meaning and use together. As stated earlier, the result from the present study indicates that using captioned videos as an English teaching material in multimedia classrooms can assist learners to receive the language through multisensory channels and help them to develop their vocabulary learning process.

Keywords:  CEFR, vocabulary acquisition, lower proficiency pupils, graded captioned videos


Words are most commonly being learned through classroom instruction because second language (L2) input is needed among second language learners. According to literature reviews, L2 vocabulary acquisition is limited in many ESL contexts (Chanturia & Webb, 2016). Such a study suggests that a more effective and efficient teaching vocabulary in the ESL environment is required (Webb, 2015). It is well known that vocabulary acquisition plays a pivotal role in developing the ability to interact naturally. Moreover, it appears to aid the learners in using an appropriate word in a sentence. Besides, vocabulary acquisition is the cornerstone of sentence construction, and language learning is indivisible from the mastery of vocabulary (Zhang& Graham, 2020). The issue on acquiring vocabulary has received considerable critical attention as vocabulary acquisition have never gotten the same level of emphasis as grammar, reading, or writing (Zhou, 2010). Nie (2010) even stated that vocabulary acquisition has never been overemphasized in learning a second language and researchers after 1970s showed tremendous interest in acquiring vocabulary because they believed that without grammar very little can be conveyed and without the use of words nothing can be conveyed. Celik and Yavuz (2018) even strongly point out that the earliest and most tangible measure of language development is vocabulary acquisition.

The Ministry of Education in Malaysia has introduced and implemented Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) into the Malaysian curriculum in order to improve students’ English skills. The emphasis on vocabulary acquisition has become essential for second language learners to proceed to the next band on CEFR global scales as it is to assists the teachers in guaranteeing that the student’s grades are recognised at an international level ( Council of Europe, 2001). However, there are worries about how adopting the (CEFR) would affect lower proficiency pupils with limited vocabulary (Jazuli, Din & Yunus, 2019). The level of English proficiency among pupils in semi-urban schools has been quite concerning, particularly among low-performing pupils. Due to their incapacity to cope with language abilities because of restricted vocabulary, these students have been categorized as low performers (Krishnan and Yunus, 2019).

It is undeniably difficult for English language instructors to provide enough vocabulary to the students, even though numerous instructional techniques have employed in the process of vocabulary learning (Bakhsh, 2016; Conwell, 2017, Yunus et al., 2020). To address this shortcoming, various techniques must be used to teach and learn successfully and acquire vocabulary, particularly for the lower proficiency level of primary students (Nie & Li, 2017; Rachmawati, 2018). This is because vocabulary acquisition enhances comprehension as it  impacts the four primary skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing in the second language (Zipser, 2013). Study of Alqahtani (2015) shows that low vocabulary knowledge causes serious challenges for its students, impeding their study of the English language. This is because of the difficulties they face with new word definitions, spelling, pronunciation, proper word usage, and guessing the meaning from the context given (Afzal,2019). This is because of the traditional methods that is being used in the classroom (Al-Seghayer, 2015).

This is why Teng (2019) explored  a variety of ways to aid and inspire learners in acquiring vocabulary via online materials too (Teng, 2019) such as from videos, apps, digital texts and among all these tools,  in recent years, captioned videos, that is being accompanied with synchronous on-screen L2 texts to support video understanding (Danan, 2004), have gotten a lot of attention (Teng,2020). Learners of various ability levels have benefited from captioned videos because they have been able to visualize what they have heard and improve their vocabulary acquisition (Peters & Webb, 2018; Teng, 2019a,2019b,2019c). Alavi (2010) mentioned that when the learners watch captioned videos, they will broaden their vocabulary knowledge which will sooner lead them to improve their language skills. This will eventually occur when the language learners are encouraged to watch a lot of simple target language materials which are at or above their existing comprehension and linguistic ability (Mayora, 2017).

Renandya (2019) also supported the fact that graded captioned videos effectively enhance vocabulary acquisition. This is because it has a rich collection of listening texts that provide comprehensible input for lower proficiency learners. Moreover, Van Zeeland and Schmitt (2013) have reported that 95%-98% words are needed for a learner to comprehend a spoken text. Besides, these graded captioned videos are prepared using vocabulary coverage criteria so that their levels may be matched to the understanding levels of the learners (Renandya,2011).

So far, limited empirical studies has looked into how graded captioned videos is implemented in teaching and learning vocabulary among lower proficiency learners. To fill this gap, the present study attempts to continue the studies of graded captioned videos. However, few writers in Malaysia have utilized different forms of captioned videos such as captioned television series (Syazwani and Azlina, 2020), captioned Connect with English series (Bavaharji, Kamal Alavi and Letchumanan, 2014), Harry Potter series with bimodal subtitle (Athirah, 2019), English subtitled movie clips(Nur Syairah, 2019), Movies in targeted language (Rozmel, Nor Hasni, Raja Hanani and Michi Farida, 2021) in improving vocabulary acquisition and until recently, there has been no reliable evidence that graded captioned videos from English Central has been used among the lower proficiency learners in a Malaysian ESL classroom. Hence, in this study, graded captioned videos from English Central will be utilized prominently among the lower proficiency learners. To better understand the usefulness of graded captioned videos in other contexts such as in vocabulary acquisition, a further research study is needed particularly to determine the effectiveness of graded captioned videos among lower proficiency learners.


Graded Captioned Videos

Graded materials refer to listening materials and/or comprehension exercises that are customized to the learners’ capabilities. If the instructor wishes to enhance pupils’ awareness of specific structures or patterns that are crucial for them to learn, graded materials are highly beneficial. In this case, Captioned videos were proven to have a significant effect on learners’ vocabulary development in the meta-analysis research (Perez, Van Den Noortgate & Desmet, 2013;2018).

Features in graded captioned videos

Graded captioned videos are comprised of many features such as captions, playback speed, visual components and also recordings. There are three different captions altogether such as full captioning, keyword captioning and also no captioning. In this study, a keyword captioning graded captioned videos were used in order to assist the learners to learn the vocabulary as the keywords were underlined. Bensalem E. (2018) stated in his research that Baltova (1999) as reported that she used keywords in the captions. This is to assist her lower level students to acquire the vocabulary as the selected video clips were too fast for them and this hinder them from learning the words easily.

Besides, video playback speed is also an essential feature of graded captioned videos that has piqued the interest of a number of academics. Ritzhaupt et al. (2015) investigated the effects of three different speeds (1.0x, 1.25x and 1.5x)  on participants’ learning effects. They discovered that the difference in video playback speed had minimal effect on the learning effect, but it did have a significant impact on participants’ cognitive load with 1.5 speed providing less satisfaction than 1.0 speed. In this current study, the graded captioned videos comprise of two different speed such as the slow speed (0.75x) and normal speed (1.0x) as some research looked at how learners react when the video playing speed is slowed down because there are experiments revealed that learners preferred regular speed to 0.75 speed (Davis et al., 2021).

Besides, It is being mentioned that media that include both visual and verbal information might improve students’ learning attitudes since they believe the lessons to be simpler and more engaging to lower proficiency pupils (Chang, 2009). Chaichompoo (2019) clarified that when there is a combination of visual and captions together, building of a mental image will be improved as the learners will acquire more vocabulary. Even King (2002) and Talavan (2007) mentioned  that learners will be able to gain more words easily by having the combination of images and captions.

Krashen’s Input Hypothesis

The Comprehensive Input Hypothesis is the core component of this overall scheme. It is concerned with the relationship between what a learner is subjected to in terms of a language (i.e., input) and language learning (Patrick, 2019). In other words, this is Krashen’s reasoning for how second language learning occurs. As a result, the Input theory is only concerned with ‘acquisition’ rather than ‘learning.’  Krashen (1985) contends that only when the acquisition is in touch with the extensive feedback, that is, when the input language is above the learners’ current level and the general difficulty of it can be grasped, this is where the learners successfully understand the targeted language.

Krashen denoted the learner’s present level of language study as “i.” The “i+1” level of language development is the next step. In other words, the language learners are introduced to may be only above their present level of competence. They grasp the most of it, but they are also pressed to make improvements. Krashen played the role of a Language Acquisition Device (LAD), or an innate internal system capable of performing both first and second language acquisition. This innate arrangement is activated by this input.

In actual instruction, input has been the first move in teaching English. Teachers should enhance the scientific content of their instructional materials in teaching vocabulary as being studied in this study. The formula “i+ 1” suggests that successful language learning can be obtained with sufficient language input, so teachers can incorporate video materials based on the language level of the students prior to class (Min ,2016). Teachers must rearrange their instructional resources and make them more conducive to the growth of students’ English abilities and comprehension. In order to form a productive learning platform in order to enhance student engagement in acquiring vocabulary, the content should be genuine, understandable and varied (Chang, & Millet, 2014).

Vandergrift (2004) points out in a meta-analyse of second language study understanding that language students are restricted in their capacity to process the information and they need to actively concentrate to them so that they can profit from the exposure by acquiring vocabulary that they need. Viewing will improve the importance of understandable inputs and experiences in the classroom and also enhance self-regulation in language learning for students. In this current study, graded captioned videos from English Central has been chosen as a material to be utilized among the second language learners in order to acquire the vocabulary.

Affective Filter

The Affective Filter Hypothesis, first presented by Dulay and Burt (1977), describes the Affective Filter as a barrier that prevents accessible information from reaching the mental Language learning Device, hence hindering language learning. Krashen (1982) found three major influences on the Affective Filter: motivation, self-confidence, and anxiety. According to Zhuan Juanjuan (2018), “external motivation is less reliable than internal motivation, and students are easily discouraged when faced with difficulties.” As a result, many students acquire language passively and subsequently disregard it when they have difficulty acquiring vocabulary. Besides, when pupils have confidence in their ability to guess the meaning of vocabulary, they are able to comprehend English well. However, according to some research, many students show insufficient confidence in the process of learning English. When students encounter unfamiliar words, they seek the assistance of the dictionary or teachers first rather than guessing the meaning, showing that they are having lack of confidence in their ability to guess the meaning of vocabulary. Anxiety on the other hand affects vocabulary development by influencing students’ normal psychological states and potentially hindering students’ language acquisition. When students are anxious, they will feel uneasy and blank. And many pupils believe that they will be frightened if they do not comprehend what the teacher says or if they discover unfamiliar words. As a result, when children learn vocabulary, they are anxious.

As a result, boosting students’ interest in acquiring language is beneficial to improve students’ internal learning motivation. Teachers can utilize a variety of activities to pique students’ attention when teaching the words. In this case, the graded captioned videos play a better role in aiding the learners to learn more vocabulary as the videos and captions together attract the learners to gain more words. Besides, in the process of teaching and learning, the teachers should assist the learners to build their confidence in learning the vocabulary by choosing the words that are appropriate for them. Through graded captioned videos, learners will be able to learn vocabulary that suits their level as the keywords were also being underlined on the captions provided and this eventually help the learners to learn the terms easily. In addition to mutual respect and understanding between teachers and students, a peaceful environment is essential for effective education. One of the most significant and intricate emotional elements in language acquisition is anxiety. The emotive filter of Krashen’s theory suggests that in order to develop a low emotional filter, language instruction has to take place in a relaxed setting. To lessen pupils’ nervousness, teachers should be kind and employ engaging competitive activities such as spelling out the words while watching the videos in the graded captioned videos when teaching English words. This is just to provide a calm learning environment and for pupils to quickly absorb the knowledge easily.

Dual Coding Theory

Allan Paivio (1925-2016) has mentioned that visual and spoken information are two independent systems . Despite their independence from one another, they can form “associative links”. They can collaborate in order to memorize information. When it comes to memorizing information, the combination of visual and verbal stimulation is vital. Diagrams and infographics might be used to do this and this case, the researcher is utilizing the graded captioned videos as these videos are the combination of visuals and verbal systems. These visuals and verbal systems will ensure the learners to learn the form and the meaning of certain words.

Vocabulary acquisition

Learning a foreign language requires a vast vocabulary. Researchers have proposed many ideas to explain language learning. Different ideas and tests have shown when acquisition occurs and when it doesn’t. To some extent, the English learner is responsible for the difficulty of vocabulary acquisition. Children with poor English proficiency, students who do not read outside of school, students with reading and learning disabilities, and students with little vocabulary are the four categories of language learners who are in the process of acquiring words (Sedita, 2005). We may categorize words according to how often we use them: high-frequency words, academic words, technical words, and low-frequency words (Nation, 2001). Vocabulary words that are used often in everyday conversation are considered to be among the 2000 most frequently used words in the English language. Chung and Nation (2003) found that high-frequency words made up 80% of academic literature and 90% of conversational and fictional material.

Nation’s Form and Meaning

Table 1 Nation’s Form, Meaning and Use

FORM Written What does the word look like?
  Word parts What word parts are recognisable in this word?
MEANING Form and meaning

Concepts and referents

What meaning does this word form signal?

What is included in this concept?

  Associations What other words does this make us think of?
USE Grammatical function In what patterns does the word occur?
  Collocations What words or types of words occur with this one?
  Constraints of use (register, frequency…) Where, when and how often would we expect to meet this word?

The 18 questions that make up Nation’s framework fall into three groups, each of which measures both receptive and productive skills: knowledge of form, knowledge of meaning and also knowledge of use. This framework demonstrates the interconnected nature of all facets of vocabulary by defining it from morphological, semantic, and pragmatic viewpoints. Word meanings can be inferred from their morphological structures and the contexts in which they are employed. Meanwhile, learning about word forms and meanings is helpful for expanding one’s vocabulary in everyday conversation. However, Nation acknowledges that this lexical knowledge framework is in fact an inadequate categorization and that there is still considerable opportunity for improvement in future studies. For instance, it’s hard to use his framework’s description alone to evaluate a language learner’s vocabulary depth. In addition, his framework’s categories are highly intertwined, making it difficult to differentiate between the stated terms. Hence, it is vital to collaborate the Nation’s framework with a reliable technique to be utilized among the second language learners and in this current study, the researcher employed graded captioned videos in assisting the learners to improve their knowledge of form and meaning.

Cognitive Load Theory

A number of ideas from Cognitive Load Theory have been more well recognized in recent years, and the vocabulary employed has gone further. The cognitive load hypothesis can be used in a variety of classroom settings, including the teaching of a second language (Diao & Sweller, 2007). This theory is a concept that deals with the construction and automation of schema in the context of meaningful learning (Kalyuga et al., 2001; Kirschner, 2002; Paas et al., 2003, 2004). A schema as it is, is a unit of knowledge about a certain data. Kirschner, 2002; Merrienboer & Sluijsmans, 2009; Paas et al., 2003, 2004; Renkl, Atkinson, & Grome, 2004; Schnotz & Kurschner, 2007): This theory is essentially about managing intrinsic, germane, and extraneous load in order to form schema (Kirschner, 2002; Merrienboer & Sluijsmans, 2009; Paas et al., 2003, 2004; Renkl, Atkinson, & Grome, 2004; Schnotz & Kurschner, 2007).

Cognitive load theory suggests one possible explanation that low-ability students may have to devote more cognitive resources to processing visual and linguistic information than high-ability students (Plass et al., 2003). For example, in a between-participants design, Yeh and Wang (2003) created three input conditions: text only, text plus picture, and text plus picture and audio pronunciation of the phrase. A combination of word association, multiple choice, and cloze tests were used to assess vocabulary learning. The authors determined that the text plus picture input was the most successful based on the total post-test results. They did warn out, however, that this finding might be deceptive because there was no significant difference between the scores obtained with the text-only input and the scores obtained with the text-only input. Furthermore, the information that was improved with audio pronunciation resulted in the lowest post-test results, suggesting that more isn’t always better. This might be due to the fact that both text and audio pronunciation are forms of verbal information, and thus providing two inputs in the same mode added to the processing burden. According to Yeh and Wang (2003), combining verbal and visual glosses improves target vocabulary retention more than combining the three gloss kinds of word, picture, and sound, as well as only one gloss type of text.


Research Design

This study used a pre-test-post-test quasi-experimental design to address the research issues. The research approach is quantitative and to determine the learning improvements, data from a pre- and post-test were compared (Mykhailiuk, 2016).


In this current study, selected year 6 students from a semi-urban school was chosen. This specific school was chosen because the researcher herself is an educator in the school and it was convenient for the researcher to pursue the research without burdening others. Most of the learners from this school are not from English spoken background, thus their level of English is intermediate and even poor. The pupils are learning English five times a week for an hour every day. This shows even though the pupils are being exposed to the subject every day, the learners are still having difficulties in learning the skill wisely. Moreover, purposive sampling was utilized in this study. The population of this study is 40 pupils. As for the pre-and post-tests, 20 participants were placed in the experimental and 20 participants in the control group. The participants were selected from 4 groups of Year 6 classes from the respective school by looking into their previous Performance Level. Those who are having band 3 and below were selected as lower proficiency learners as Year 6 pupils are required to reach band 5 or 6 by the end year of the schooling (Common European Framework of Reference, 2011).

Graded Captioned Videos at Level 3

The intervention was consisted of graded captioned video materials at Level 3 (150 word list ) from English Central, an educational software. It is a piece of software that allows students to watch or listen to daily videos based on their level in order to absorb the words and understand the content. The only need for the participants is to watch 25 short clips and dwell on the meaning of the captioned videos with the assistance of the keywords underlined. In this current study, the participants watched the graded captioned videos through the assistance of the teacher in the classroom where the teacher assisted the learners to play the videos in a classroom. This was to ensure the learners were able to view, read and watch the videos without any hurdles. Moreover, during the treatment the participants participated actively in learning new words by spelling in the missing words while watching the graded captioned videos through this particular software.

The pupils watched the graded captioned videos from third to the fifth week of the study, as the study lasted for eighth weeks. On the third week, the participants watched the captioned videos for a week and the following week they didn’t participate in any treatment but on the fifth week they watched the same videos again in order to retain and remember the words. The two groups engaged in this study are taught by the English language teacher who is also the researcher herself. The Experimental group was treated using graded captioned videos and also had lessons as usual according to the CEFR digital materials which is related to the Malaysian educational curriculum whilst the control group was taught according to the CEFR digital materials related to Malaysian educational curriculum provided only.

Besides, the participants ensured that they were being exposed to the most important words to be learnt for Level 3. There are 150 words in the word lists provided in the respective software. The learners learnt these words from the selected 25 graded captioned videos that covers topics like things I do every day, my hobbies, my family, borrowing things and my favourite things. 5 units and 5 captioned videos from these units were displayed to the participants for at least 10 minutes a day for a week.


This study used contextualised vocabulary tests, which is a form of a quantitative vocabulary test. To prevent test familiarity and learning effects, this study used two sets of tests (Khoshhal, 2021) such as Multiple-choice vocabulary test (Section A) and Vocabulary level test (Section B). Firstly, the target words in Section A and Section B were arranged differently for the pre and post-tests. Second, the two tests were given on two different days, with Section A undergoing 30 minutes of English language instruction on one day with 20 questions and Section B taking 30 minutes of English language instruction on the other day with another 20 questions as this is to prevent test anxiety among the learners (Khoshhal, 2021). The Multiple-Choice Vocabulary Test is a test that comprises questions with a stem and three choices with only one correct answer (Amini & Ibrahim, 2012). The main benefit of this type of testing is that the test takers do not have to worry about subjectivity because there should only be one correct answer (Brame,2013). Second, this type of test is easy to be administered. Yet, there is also a disadvantage of using this test such as the likelihood of guessing the correct answer in multiple-choice is around 33%, which implies that out of 100 questions, someone may predict about 33. As a result, the instructor has no way of knowing whether or not the pupil has grasped the subject. Hence, in order to prevent this, several versions of tests can be used (Hughes, 2003). In this case, the vocabulary level test in the form of cloze test or most commonly known as the C-test was utilized. This test (Laufer & Nation, 1999) allows test takers to fill in the gaps of the underlined target words, with their responses being evaluated dichotomously (i.e., right or wrong).

Reliability test of the quantitative instruments

Pearson correlation was performed to determine if there is a correlation between variables,  Experimental Pre test and Experimental Post test. There is a very high, positive correlation between the two variables with r= 0.91. Thus, there is a very high, positive association between this variables in this sample and the result of the Pearson correlation showed that there was a significant correlation between Experimental Pre test and Experimental Post test., r(18) = 0.91, p = <.001. Therefore, a more positive correlation coefficient (closer to 1) is interpreted as a greater reliability.

Data collection Procedure

Pre-tests with section A on the first day and section B on the other day were conducted to test the participants’ vocabulary knowledge. The pre-test was conducted for all the 40 participants from the experimental and also from the control group in week one. The duration for the participants to answer the following multiple-choice questions on the first day is 30 mins whilst the time given for the pupils to answer the C-test on the next day was 30 mins. The participants read the sentences given and find the correct words of the definition bolded on the first day and listened to the other selected 5 short texts and filled in the gaps by writing the form of the words on the next day. Each listening text audio was played twice and the listeners were given time to answer the questions for C-test. The treatment was implemented among the experimental group participants in the third week and the participants were not disturbed in the second week in order to reduce the learning effect after sitting for their pre-tests.

During the third week, the experimental group participants and the control group pupils undergone English classes as usual with the integration of all the skills as stated in the curriculum but only the experimental group participants were treated with graded captioned videos from English Central software every day for ten minutes with at least 5 videos. This was continuously done for six weeks where the treatment ended in the eighth week. On the seventh week, a post-test was administered. The intervention and the post-test were separated by one week. This is was done to see if the participants have internalised the vocabulary they have learned. All participants in the experimental and control groups were subjected to a post-test. The exam was identical to the pre-test in order to monitor and assess the effectiveness of graded captioned videos in enhancing vocabulary acquisition among the participants.


The experimental and control group pupils were involved in this pre and post tests. Two different contextualized vocabulary tests such as MCQ with 20 questions and C-Test with another 20 questions were used. Each question was given one mark and the total score of the questions are forty. Based on the data collected, the frequency of the total score of Experimental and Control groups’ pre test scores and post test scores were tabulated separately. Both the scores of pre and post tests were also been analyzed using Statistical Package for the Social Science Software (SPSS). Two different statistics analysis were used to analyze the scores of multiple-choice questions and C-test together. The first was descriptive statistics where it aids the researcher to find the mean and standard deviation. The second will be the Inferential statistics (Independent T-test) where it is being utilized in here to find out the mean difference between the pre and post test of the experimental and control group.

Descriptive statistics of Experimental and Control Pre Group

Table 2 Experimental and Control Pre test scores

No E Pre test C Pre test
1 12 26
2 9 22
3 18 18
4 26 22
5 9 23
6 24 5
7 9 11
8 12 19
9 26 13
10 13 11
11 26 6
12 34 12
13 15 32
14 9 9
15 18 29
16 8 15
17 13 17
18 7 7
19 12 25
20 21 6

Table 3 Mean and Standard Deviation of Experimental Pre and Post test

n Mean Std. Deviation Std. Error Mean
E PRE 20 16.05 7.71 1.72
C PRE 20 16.4 8.16 1.82

Note: The results of the descriptive statistics show that the E PRE group has lower values for the dependent variable (M = 16.05, SD = 7.71) than the C PRE group (M = 16.4, SD = 8.16).

The mean scores and standard deviation were calculated first in order to describe the analysis of pre and post test scores of experimental and control group. The experimental group obtained a mean score of 16.05 (SD= 7.71)  whilst the mean score of the control group is 16.4 (SD=8.16). It was crucial to confirm that there was no discernible difference between the treatment and control groups in terms of their pre-existing vocabulary knowledge because the participants had been receiving  English teaching for almost six years. Table 3 demonstrates that there was no statistically significant difference between the two groups after analysis.  Thus, it may be assumed that there aren’t many differences between the two groups’ levels of vocabulary knowledge.

Inferential Statistics of Experimental and  Control Pre Group

Table 4 The two tailed t-test for Independent samples

t df p Cohen’s d
Equal variances -0.14 38 .89 0.04
Unequal variances -0.14 37.88 .89 0.04

A t-test for equality of means was used to confirm that there was no difference in the learners’ prior vocabulary knowledge between the treatment and control groups. The control group’s mean score was 0.35 points higher than the control group’s, as shown in Table 3. Table 4 shows that there was no significant change (Sig=0.89), nevertheless. A significance level of 0.89 indicates that there is no discernible difference between the two. The research supported the homogeneity of word knowledge between the two groups.A two-tailed t-test for independent samples (equal variances assumed) showed that the difference between E PRE and C PRE with respect to the dependent variable was not statistically significant, t(38) = -0.14, p = .89, 95% confidence interval [-5.43, 4.73]. Thus, the null hypothesis is retained.

Descriptive statistics of Experimental and Control Post Group

Table 5 Experimental and Control post test scores

No E Post test C Post test
1 25 25
2 18 15
3 23 18
4 34 20
5 20 25
6 30 4
7 17 10
8 21 20
9 31 12
10 22 10
11 30 8
12 36 10
13 19 38
14 26 8
15 32 29
16 19 18
17 27 13
18 19 8
19 25 16
20 29 15

Table 6 Mean and Standard Deviation of Experimental and Control post test

n Mean Std. Deviation Std. Error Mean
E POST 20 25.15 5.77 1.29
C POST 20 16.1 8.35 1.87

Note: The results of the descriptive statistics show that the E POST group has higher values for the dependent variable (M = 25.15, SD = 5.77) than the C POST group (M = 16.1, SD = 8.35).

The information gathered from the posttest result is shown in Table 6. The mean scores for the control group (m=16.1, SD=8.35) and the treatment group (m=25.15, SD=5.77) are both given. The mean score for the treatment group is 9.05 higher than for the control group.

Inferential Statistics of Experimental and Control Post Group 

Table 7 The two tailed t-test for Independent samples

t df p Cohen’s d
Equal variances 3.99 38 <.001 1.26
Unequal variances 3.99 33.77 <.001 1.26

After the descriptive statistics were completed, the independent sample t-test was performed to calculate the change in the mean score in each group. A two-tailed t-test for independent samples (equal variances assumed) showed that the difference between E POST and C POST with respect to the dependent variable was statistically significant, t(38) = 3.99, p = <.001, 95% confidence interval [4.45, 13.65]. Thus, the null hypothesis is rejected. It may be inferred that the captioned videos have enhanced the vocabulary acquisition of the ESL students.


Even though it is frequently found to be less successful (Al-Hassan, 2010; Chhabra, 2012; Yousefi, 2014), the conventional teacher-centered teaching approach is still widely used in ESL classrooms across the world. Thus, instructors have to utilize captioned videos in language learning as it has an excellent probability of being used in language classes. The experimental group who has been treated with the videos from the English Central software and lessons as usual according to the CEFR digital materials performed significantly better than the control group who only been taught according to the CEFR digital materials. This is not surprising, since it is well known from past researches, Webb, S. (2015) & Rodgers, M. P. H. (2016) that extensive viewing is more efficient than intensive viewing (the use of only CEFR digital materials provided by the Malaysian curriculum). Even in this current study, learners were encouraged to watch many, and ideally consecutive, episodes of the same videos of at least one hour per week with the assistance of the teacher in the classroom (Webb, 2014). This shows how extensively the participants had viewed the 25 short clips and eventually assist the learners to learn new words, enhancing existing vocabulary knowledge, and improving attitudes toward video-based learning (Waring, 2011; Rodgers, 2016).

Besides, the results also revealed that on-screen text which also called the captions has a significant effect on both form and meaning because having the audio and text in the same language (captions) reinforces the connection between the oral and written form, which in turn helps to recall the form and meaning (Montero Perez et al., 2014, 2018). According to the Cognitive Load Theory, working memory has a finite capacity; when a pupil’s working memory gets overloaded, they may not be able to absorb data properly, which might result in inefficient learning and retention. The strain on one’s working memory may be reduced by coordinated verbal connections and visual images (Sweller, 2011). The Dual Coding Theory of Paivio (1986) can potentially be used to explain the current findings. For instance, semantic linkages with verbal coding and perceptual associations with images both strengthen the relationship between form and meaning. In addition, to support each other simultaneously and independently, a verbal system and an imaging system can help individuals remember and recognize word form and meaning more effectively than each system can do on its own.

Moreover, as short videos was used in this study, it is also being mentioned that short duration videos may increase learners’ vocabulary. The use of short duration videos was utilized among the lower proficiency learners in response to a suggestion by Hariffin and Mohd Said (2019). The use of videos in the classroom is crucial for language learning since students require much input. Activities evolving videos may also be very helpful if they are chosen in accordance with the levels of the students (Gregis R, Carvalho A, 2019). In this current study, lower proficiency learnes were given the chance to watch the videos according to their level which is Level 3 in the English Central software. The findings showed also that each participant of the treatment group improved from the pre-test to the post-test when their knowledge of the meaning of the target terms used in the videos was evaluated. In line with the findings of Hsu et al. (2013) and Peters and Webb (2018), it demonstrates that captioned videos have aided Malaysian primary ESL learners in improving their vocabulary knowledge. Words from the video’s helped viewers grasp what was being discussed, making it more comprehensible and assisting them in improving their English.

To sum up, the mean scores of participants in the treatment group have increased from pre- to post-test that means the students had a better performance. In other words, watching with captions has a positive effect on new vocabulary learning and most studies support captioning as an aid to learners’ comprehension (e.g. Neuman, 1990; Jones 2004; Hayati & Mohammadi, 2011).


The data were used to demonstrate three distinct implications for how teaching and practices should be carried out in Malaysian ESL classrooms, including pedagogical implications and implications for instruction. As for the pedagogical implication, graded captioned videos are among the best resources for use with upper primary students to enhance vocabulary learning. As a result of employing this in the teaching and learning process, the students will be exposed to a wide variety of vocabulary and syntax related to the subject. Additionally, it makes it easier for students to grasp the texts presented to them since they may learn words and their meanings without the use of a dictionary. Ultimately, the audience understands the meaning of the words easily. By doing this, the students are also becoming more self-reliant in their learning and this may increase student-centeredness. Conducting a vocabulary lesson may be quite challenging since most students are not interested in learning new words. Vocabulary was traditionally taught in isolation, which eventually made it difficult for students to retain the terms. Today’s instructors are fortunately given the chance to use a variety of vocabulary-building techniques, and one of the simplest methods is to use videos with captions. The current study contains a number of drawbacks. First, this research and previous efforts have relied significantly on quantitative methodologies. A mixed-method study using video captioning might better expose learners’ vocabulary development. Data might be collected, for example, using interviews and observations to determine how learners evaluate the usage of captioned videos for word acquisition. Lastly, word form and meaning were the study’s primary emphasis. It would thus be advantageous to examine the participants using form, meaning and use. In conclusion, since there is a lack of research on the impacts of captioned videos in Malaysia, especially among lower proficiency learners, study has attempted to fill the research gap and it is anticipated that this study will assist other scholars by providing some concrete information in a language classroom.


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