Information technology (IT) has become an important part of modern life, as well as in education. As early as in 1998, the Hong Kong government has launched a strategy entitled "Information Technology for Learning in a New Era" in primary and secondary schools. From 1998 to June 2003, the government had already spent $2.08 billion for implementing IT in education, e.g. install computer laboratory and multimedia learning center (MMLC) in schools. With these advanced equipments, many different subjects have employed the use of multimedia technology. English language, being one of the key learning areas mentioned by the Education and Manpower Bureau, is no exception. Most schools offer at least one period of English lesson each week/cycle which is conducted in MMLC. In addition, from my observation during teaching practice, many English teachers have devoted a huge amount of time preparing multimedia teaching materials, e.g. PowerPoint slides. As an enormous amount of resources has been spent on the integration of multimedia technology in English learning in the past five years, it is time to evaluate the effectiveness of such an investment.
Focus of this study will be put on the use of multimedia annotation on vocabulary learning for learners with different learning styles. Among various areas of second language learning, such as listening, grammar etc, vocabulary learning is chosen because it plays a crucial role in second language learning. Wilkins (1972) points out that `Without grammar very little can be conveyed, without vocabulary nothing can be conveyed.' To help students increase their English vocabulary size and so as to raise their English level, the use of multimedia annotations is a potentially powerful method. (Yeh & Wang, 2003) However, despite the huge amount of resources invested, is it guaranteed that ALL students are beneficial from the use of multimedia in learning English? According to Kroonenberg (1995), perceptual learning styles significantly affect language acquisition. Kost, Foss and Lenzini (1999) also suggested that learner's preferred learning style should be further explored so that the design of vocabulary annotation can better facilitate individualization of course materials. (Yeh & Wang, 2003) Therefore, the purpose of this study is to examine the effectiveness of different types of vocabulary annotation with regard to learner's perceptual learning styles.
In this part, previously research on (1.) Generative theory of multimedia learning & Dual coding theory and (2.) perceptual learning styles will be summarized.
1. Generative theory of multimedia learning & Dual Coding Theory
According to Mayer's (1997) Generative theory of multimedia learning which is based on Paivio's (1971) Dual Coding Theory, students must select relevant written (`verbal) and pictorial (`visual') information from a text in order to comprehend the text meaningfully. Then, students have to organize the...