The current study investigated the effect of viewing various types of word definitions-dictionary, glossed, and annotated definitions-on Chinese learners' vocabulary comprehension during video-based language learning. A total of 53 advanced Chinese learner participants were given access to various randomized word definitions while viewing the subtitled videos used in the experiment. Results showed that learners recalled words for which they viewed definitions significantly better after the experiment than before. The viewing of dictionary, glossed, or annotated definitions yielded comparable levels of word comprehension. In situations where learners did not view word definitions; however, word comprehension was not significantly higher on the posttest measures of recall. Attrition occurred whether participants viewed word definitions or not, but it occurred more severely for those words that learners chose not to look up definitions. The more a target word occurred, the better the word was comprehended. Survey results showed that participants preferred dictionary and annotated definitions more than glossed definitions. The results from this study suggest that word treatment is an effective way to comprehend vocabulary. If language learners and teachers lack resources to afford cost-intensive glosses and annotations, they can consider taking advantage of free, automatic online dictionaries, which are as effective as glosses and annotations.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Instructional Psychology and Technology



Date Submitted


Document Type





word treatment, word definition, dictionary, gloss, annotation, Chinese, advanced learner, learner perspective