An Evaluative Review of Mobile-assisted L2 Vocabulary Learning Approaches based on the Situated Learning Theory

Shelly Xueting Ye, Jia Shi, Linyu Liao


There is a growing trend of utilizing mobile technology to develop effective contextual vocabulary learning methods based on the situated learning theory (SLT). In spite of substantial research on mobile-assisted vocabulary learning (MAVL), there have been few reviews of MAVL approaches, let alone evaluations of them based on the idea of SLT. To address this research gap, this study evaluated three types of MAVL approaches: (1) mobile message services, (2) vocabulary learning applications, and (3) digital simulation games according to the authenticity principle and characteristics of SLT. The evaluative review included in-depth examinations of two aspects: the extent to which these characteristics are manifested in each approach, and the way in which these characteristics are incorporated into the design of each approach. The result suggests that the MAVL approaches differ significantly, in terms of their authenticity and degree of correspondence to the SLT. This review offers practical implications for the development and improvement of MAVL approaches, as well as important suggestions for future research, all of which are believed to benefit the field of L2 vocabulary acquisition.

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Journal of Curriculum and Teaching ISSN 1927-2677 (Print) ISSN 1927-2685 (Online)  Email:

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