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A Multiple Regression Study of the Impact of Technology Supporting Vocabulary Development on Language Learning among English Language Learners and Adults with and without Disabilities Open Access

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Background: Developing vocabulary knowledge continues to be a challenge for English Language learners (ELLs) and individuals with disabilities, which contributes to the problem of low literacy among adult learners. However, technological advancements for language learning are on the rise creating more opportunities for a variety of adult learners to learn language anytime anywhere provided they have access to technology. Using Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences, Malcolm Knowles’ Adult Learning Theory, and the new literacies concept as a framework, this study works to contribute to the limited existing literature on technology and language learning in the adult education setting. Methods: Forty adult ELLs with and without disabilities participated in a true experimental study while enrolled in an adult ESL program to investigate how technology used to support vocabulary development impacts language learning. Prior to random assignment, interested participants voluntarily completed a questionnaire that identified age, gender, and disability status. Participants were then randomly assigned into a control and experimental group. Experimental group utilized Quizlet, a mobile and web-based study application that allows students to study information via learning tools and games, while the control group used more conventional methods to study. After completing a pretest, both groups were provided two weeks to study 24 vocabulary terms obtained from Part III of The New Vocabulary Levels Test (NVLT), which was also used as a posttest to assess language learned 2-weeks post-intervention. Results: Results from a multiple linear regression analysis indicated that pretest significantly predicted language learning over groups (experimental and control) and disability status. A two-tailed independent samples t-test revealed that the mean of language learning was not significantly different between the male and female categories of gender. A Pearson Correlation Coefficient analysis found no significant correlations between age and language learning. Conclusion: Based on the results, it is hopeful that this study will promote more promising practices, generate more questions for inquiry, and provide more research to empirically analyze the impacts technology has on language learning among adult ELLs with and without disabilities.

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