Online or Paper Dictionaries in EFL Vocabulary Learning?
Current National Assessment tests have revealed a worrying decline in writing and reading skills in Swedish upper secondary schools. In light of recent advancement in online tools like the online dictionary (OD) and the growing interest in its use for productive and receptive tasks, the aim of this paper is to investigate if ODs induce different results regarding English as a foreign language (EFL) vocabulary learning as opposed to paper dictionaries (PD). This paper finds a growing body of literature exploring this area, however, little research has been replicated or conducted under comparable conditions. Therefore, this paper reviews literature from the past decade on PDs’ and ODs’ impact on vocabulary learning among intermediate learners, with special reference to vocabulary retention. Key findings of these studies are highlighted and discussed, revealing the outweighing benefits of using the OD in terms of vocabulary retention, particularly with lower-intermediate learners. Finally, issues and suggestions important for future research are outlined and discussed.