Exploring the perceptions of EFL learners towards mobile-assisted vocabulary acquisition



  • Bader Alharbi Department of English and Translation, College of Science and Arts, Qassim University, Ar Rass, Saudi Arabia


EFL context, English language learning, English language teaching, mobile applications, vocabulary acquisition


This research examined how high school students felt about using the Busuu app to learn new vocabulary. The study used a qualitative research approach to elicit in-depth opinions on the subject. In addition, it assessed the benefits and challenges experienced by the participants when using Busuu, a language learning application, to acquire English language vocabulary.  With 25 high school students from a public high school in the Saudi Arabian educational district of Ar Rass, a semi-structured interview (questions asked in Arabic) was conducted. The collected data were coded, conceptually examined, and documented. The findings indicated that students have a positive attitude about utilizing the Busuu a language learning mobile application to aid in their vocabulary acquisition. The majority of users had a positive view of Busuu when it came to expanding their vocabularies.  Additionally, it revealed that the Busuu helps students become more motivated, have fun, and expand their vocabulary. Finally, the study highlighted various technical or legal challenges that stop students from using mobile applications, which are summed up in the challenge of getting an internet connection or the prohibition of using mobile at school. 


Download data is not yet available.


Agca, R. K., & Özdemir, S. (2013). Foreign language vocabulary learning with mobile technologies. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 83, 781-785.

AlAjmi, Q., Al-Sharafi, M. A., & Yassin, A. A. (2021). Behavioral intention of students in higher education institutions towards online learning during COVID-19. In Emerging Technologies During the Era of COVID-19 Pandemic (pp. 259-274). Springer, Cham.

Ali, Z., & Ghazali, M. A. I. M. (2016). Learning technical vocabulary through a mobile app: English language teachers’ perspectives. International Journal of Language Education and Applied Linguistics 4(1), 81-91.

Alnajjar, M., & Brick, B. (2017). Utilizing computer-assisted vocabulary learning tools in English language teaching: Examining in-service teachers' perceptions of the usability of digital flashcards. International Journal of Computer-Assisted Language Learning and Teaching (IJCALLT), 7(1), 1-18.

Alshabeb, A., & Almaqrn, R. (2018). A study of EFL Saudi students' use of mobile social media applications for learning. Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Special Issue on CALL, (4). 214-226. https://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awej/call4.17

Arifin, S. R. M. (2018). Ethical considerations in qualitative study. International Journal of Care Scholars, 1(2), 30-33.

Baharuddin, N. A. (2018). Vocabulary mastery by using rustan finger game at the Eighth grade students of Smpn 8 Palopo (Unpublished PhD dissertation). State Islamic Institute.

Basoglu, E. B., & Akdemir, O. (2010). A comparison of undergraduate students' English vocabulary learning: Using mobile phones and flash cards. Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology-TOJET, 9(3), 1-7.

Deris, F. D., & Shukor, N. S. A. (2019). Vocabulary learning through mobile apps: A phenomenological inquiry of student acceptance and desired apps features. International Association of Online Engineering, 13(7), 129-139.

Doody, O., & Noonan, M. (2013). Preparing and conducting interviews to collect data. Nurse researcher, 20(5) 1-12.

Ebadi, S., & Bashiri, S. (2018). Investigating EFL learners' perspectives on vocabulary learning experiences through smartphone applications. Teaching English with Technology, 18(3), 126-151.

Fowle, C. (2002). Vocabulary notebooks: Implementation and outcomes. ElT Journal, 56(4), 380-388.

Ghobadi, S., & Taki, S. (2018). Evaluating current Mobile Applications for English Vocabulary learning: based on Hubbard’s framework. In First national conference on fundamental researches in language and literature studies.

Giorgi, A. (2006). Concerning variations in the application of the phenomenological method. The Humanistic Psychologist, 34(4), 305-319.

Godwin-Jones, R. (2011). Mobile apps for language learning. Language learning & technology, 15(2), 2-11.

Groenewald, T. (2004). A phenomenological research design illustrated. International journal of qualitative methods, 3(1), 42-55.


Huang, Y. M., Huang, Y. M., Huang, S. H., & Lin, Y. T. (2012). A ubiquitous English vocabulary learning system: Evidence of active/passive attitudes vs. usefulness/ease-of-use. Computers & Education, 58(1), 273-282. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2011.08.008.

Ibitoye, A. O., & Olaifa, O. T. (2018). Predictive analytic game-based model for Yoruba language learning evaluation. International Journal of Modern Education and Computer Science, 11(2), 43.

Ketola, J. (2019). Gamified vocabulary learning: Vocabulary. com in the Finnish upper secondary school context, (Unpublished Master's thesis). Tampere University

Kétyi, A. (2016). From mobile language learning to gamification: an overlook of research results with business management students over a five-year period. Porta Linguarum: revista internacional de didáctica de las lenguas extranjeras, (1), 45-59. https://doi.org/10.30827/Digibug.54087

Klimova, B., & Polakova, P. (2020). Students’ perceptions of an EFL vocabulary learning mobile application. Education Sciences, 10(2), 37.

Liu, S. H. J., Lan, Y. J., & Ho, C. Y. Y. (2014). Exploring the relationship between self-regulated vocabulary learning and web-based collaboration. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 17(4), 404-419.

Nami, F. (2020). Towards more effective app-assisted language learning: The essential content and design features of educational applications. Issues in Language Teaching, 9(1), 245-278.

Newcomer, K. E., Hatry, H. P., & Wholey, J. S. (2015). Conducting semi-structured interviews. Handbook of practical program evaluation, 4(1), 492-500.

Nushi, M., & Jenabzadeh, H. (2016). Teaching and learning academic vocabulary. California Linguistic Notes, 40(2), 51-70.

Orb, A., Eisenhauer, L., & Wynaden, D. (2001). Ethics in qualitative research. Journal of nursing scholarship, 33(1), 93-96.

Ouazeta, A. (2016). Developing vocabulary acquisition through effective listening and appropriate note taking. Journal of the Humanities, 27(2), 38–51.

Özkiraz, K. (2015). The role of games in teaching vocabulary to fifth graders (Unpublished Master's thesis). Ça? Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü.

Peterson, J. S. (2019). Presenting a qualitative study: A reviewer’s perspective. Gifted Child Quarterly, 63(3), 147-158.

Rajab, K. D. (2018). The effectiveness and potential of E-learning in war zones: An empirical comparison of face-to-face and online education in Saudi Arabia. IEEE Access, 6, 6783-6794.

Reimers, F., Schleicher, A., Saavedra, J., & Tuominen, S. (2020). Supporting the continuation of teaching and learning during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Oecd, 1(1), 1-38.

Rosell-Aguilar, F. (2018). Twitter as a formal and informal language learning tool: from potential to evidence. Innovative language teaching and learning at university: integrating informal learning into formal language education, 99-106.

Seliaman, M. E., & Al-Turki, M. S. (2012). Mobile learning adoption in Saudi Arabia. World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology, 69(9), 391-293.

Shava, H., Chinyamurindi, W., & Somdyala, A. (2016). An investigation into the usage of mobile phones among technical and vocational educational and training students in South Africa. South African journal of information management, 18(1), 1-8.

Shibata, N. (2020). The usefulness of busuu online courses for foreign language learning. Computer-Assisted Language Learning Electronic Journal, 21(2), 197-203.

Sorrentino, F., & Spano, L. D. (2019). Post-it notes: supporting teachers in authoring vocabulary game contents. Multimedia Tools and Applications, 78(16), 23049-23074.

Vesselinov, R. O. U. M. E. N., & Grego, J. O. H. N. (2016). The busuu efficacy study

Wang, L. (2020). Investigation of the present situation of intelligent app in college students' vocabulary learning. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 11(5), 764-768.

Yassin, A. A., Razak, N. A., & Maasum, T. N. R. T. M. (2021). Innovation Attributes of F2F Computer-Assisted Cooperative Learning in Teaching Reading Skills. International Journal of Web-Based Learning and Teaching Technologies (IJWLTT), 17(3), 1-17.



How to Cite

Alharbi, B. (2021). Exploring the perceptions of EFL learners towards mobile-assisted vocabulary acquisition. Linguistics and Culture Review, 5(S3), 1784-1795. https://doi.org/10.21744/lingcure.v5nS3.2212



Research Articles