The Effect of Pictorial Presentation of Vocabulary on EFL Learners' Retention

Document Type: Research Articles


1 M.A. in ELT, Ardabil Branch, Islamic Azad University, Ardabil, Iran

2 Assistant Professor of ELT, Department of English, Farhangian University, Zanjan, Iran



This study aimed at examining the effect of pictorial presentation of vocabulary on EFL students’ retention relying on Dual Coding Theory and Additivity Hypothesis, both of which emphasize the additive effect of images on recall. To that end, 63 students who were in grade three of high school served as the participants of the study. They were randomly divided into three groups of still picture experimental, motion picture experimental, and control groups. During the eight sessions of treatment, 40 new words were taught to the three groups. The experimental groups received the words visually, using software, and the control group was instructed in traditional way. The participants were tested for their memory of the target items twice: immediately at the end of the course as a final exam (post-test) to assess their short-term memory and three weeks after the final exam to test their long-term retention. Data analysis using a mixed between-within subjects analysis of variance (split-plot ANOVA/SPANOVA) and a post hoc Scheffé test demonstrated the positive effect of pictorial presentation of vocabulary on the learners’ retention of words. The results also revealed that teaching vocabulary using motion picture mode was more effective.