The Use of Dictionary Applications on Smartphones as a Tool to Enhance English Vocabulary Learning Skills


  • Jariya Charernsuk
  • Janpanit Surasin
  • Punwalai Kewara


Smartphones, dictionary applications, English vocabulary learning, vocabulary learning skills


           This study aimed at investigating the effectiveness of some dictionary applications on smartphones and exploring students’ opinions toward their use in enhancing English vocabulary learning skills: meaning in Thai, word function, synonym, pronunciation, and meaning in context. A mixed method research design, quantitative followed by qualitative, was employed to elicit information and evidence for the outcomes. The instruments used in the quantitative phase were the pretest and posttest to identify the students’ improvement of their vocabulary learning skills. For the qualitative phase, observations together with the researcher’s reflections, and semi-structured interview data were collected. Thirty Matthayomsuksa 3 (Grade 9) students volunteered to be participants in this study conducted during the extra-curricular time allotment. After the intervention, it was found that the dictionary applications on smartphones were a helpful tool in facilitating vocabulary learning skills and other language skills, in particular, pronunciation. The learners’ autonomous learning also started to prosper as in transferring the skills to learn English used in other subjects or environments. The learners’ initial feeling of confusion in handling the dictionary applications turned positive and motivated toward the later part of the intervention. Thus, teachers wanting to implement an online dictionary are encouraged to establish criteria for appropriate applications selection so that learners can maximize the use of the device for educational purposes. The results of this study also point to the need for further research on the use of dictionary applications in enhancing pronunciation competence and fluency. Finally, a wider group of samples with a longer period of intervention may lead to interesting research findings.

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