Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format

Integrated Article


Doctor of Education




Faez, Farahnaz

2nd Supervisor

Boers, Frank

Joint Supervisor


This dissertation investigates the effects of the distribution of practice, modes of input, retrieval, and the input-output-input sequence of exposure on incidental vocabulary learning from songs. This thesis takes an integrated article format, organized into five chapters, including an introduction, articles one, two, and three, and a conclusion. The participants (N=225) across all three studies involved Thai students learning English as a foreign language (EFL) in Thailand. All three studies measured vocabulary learning gains by comparing participants' scores on the vocabulary knowledge tests used for pretests, immediate posttests, and two weeks delayed posttests. Study one partially replicated and extended Pavia et al.'s (2019) study investigating the effects of repeated listening to songs on incidental learning of single words and collocations with the addition of spaced listening conditions exploring the effects of distributed practice on vocabulary learning. The results indicated that repeated listening to songs in mass listening and spaced listening conditions may foster learning of single words and collocations.

Furthermore, the mass listening condition produced higher learning gains on the immediate posttest. However, participants in the spaced practice condition showed less regression than those in the mass practice condition on the delayed posttest. Study two explored the effects of modes of input (i.e., Listening only (L), listening while reading the lyrics (LL), listening and singing (LS), and listening and singing while reading the lyrics (LSL)) on learning formulaic sequences (FS). Based on the results, it was found that the LSL group had the most effective mode of learning through songs. Study three examined the effect of retrieval and the sequence of input and output on incidental learning of receptive and productive aspects of FS from a song. The results indicated that using retrieval activity in the input-input-output-output-input sequence of exposure was the most effective condition for learning FS incidentally from a song. Overall, the three studies in this volume provided empirical evidence that songs can be an invaluable source of language input for vocabulary acquisition and how learning can be optimized by manipulating the distribution of practice, modes of input, and retrieval activities.

Summary for Lay Audience

Students learning a second or foreign language have difficulty learning new words. Research in the past has established helpful tips for language learners to utilize various sources of language input. (i.e., Books, movies, songs, etc.). However, many factors have yet to be explored when using songs for language learning. Through three studies, this thesis investigated the impact of various techniques on language learning with songs. Language learning is measured by the number and aspects of words learned due to the interventions carried out through each study. Pavia et al. (2019) showed that listening to a song repeatedly can increase the likelihood of learning new words. However, the effect of the time interval between learning conditions was not clear. Thus, the first study in this thesis examined how learning conditions' timing and schedule affected learning outcomes. The results showed that listening in one session had higher learning gains in the short term. However, if the listening sessions were separated by time, more of what the students had learned was retained in the long term. The second study examined how combining listening with reading the song lyrics and singalong activities affected learning outcomes. The results showed that having the lyrics present and pushing learners to produce the song through singing resulted in higher learning outcomes. The final study explored the effects of sequential exposure to a song by alternating listening and singing activities that included singing and writing the lyrics from memory. The learning conditions in this study ended with a final listening session allowing learners to consolidate their knowledge of the target language. The results demonstrated that the added recall activity allowed them to notice the gaps in their knowledge, so when they could listen again, they paid closer attention to the language. This resulted in higher learning compared to the other conditions. Overall, the three studies in this thesis provided further evidence that songs can foster language learning. The learning experience can be enhanced by taking advantage of changes in the practice schedule, using complementary resources such as song lyrics and activities such as recalling the song from memory.