What Influences the Effect of Texting-Based Instruction on Vocabulary Acquisition?: Learners’ Behavior and Perception

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Text messaging has become enormously popular as the primary means of written communication among adolescents and young adults from different first language (L1) backgrounds. A growing body of research has reported on the positive effects of texting-based instruction on English language learners' (ELLs) vocabulary learning. This article investigates the role of ELLs' learning behavior interacting with and their perception of texting-based instruction for their academic vocabulary acquisition. A total of 108 undergraduate ELLs registered in six English for academic purpose (EAP) classes from a large Canada university participated in a 2-month intervention study that aimed to teach academic and low frequency words embedded within their assigned course readings. Correlation and regression analyses were applied to students' learning behaviors and perceptions, and their learning gain of target vocabulary (direct effect) and its subsequent impact on academic vocabulary learning (transfer effect). The results indicated that the frequency of their reading of text messages with word instruction is positively correlated with and a predictor of their target vocabulary learning outcome. The findings are discussed along with pedagogical implications and suggestions for future research.