An alternative to language learner dependence on L2 caption-reading input for comprehension of sitcoms in a multimedia learning environment


  • C.-H. Li

    Corresponding author
    1. National Penghu University of Science and Technology, Makung, Penghu, Taiwan
    • Correspondence: Chen-Hong Li, Department of Applied Foreign Languages, National Penghu University of Science and Technology, Makung, Penghu 88046, Taiwan. Email:

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Most second/foreign language (L2) learners have difficulty understanding listening input because of its implicit and ephemeral nature, and they typically have better reading comprehension than listening comprehension skills. This study examines the effects of using an interactive advance-organizer activity on the DVD video comprehension of L2 learners to provide an alternative to the scenario of L2 learners experiencing sensory overload in a multimedia learning environment that presents pictures, printed words and speech words. A total of 95 intermediate university-level L2 learners with an average TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication) score of 565 were placed in four conditions for an English-language DVD viewing task, including an advance-organizer group, a captions group, a captions plus advance-organizer group, and a control group. The study concludes that using advance organizers as an instructional strategy facilitated participant listening comprehension and reduced participant dependence on L2 caption-reading input by 50% for initial comprehension. Participants also held a positive attitude towards an interactive advance-organizer activity. The details concerning the role of L2 captions in multimedia listening are also discussed. The findings provide insight into teaching listening to L2 learners who learn most of their L2 in a more reading-dependent classroom setting and typically have enhanced L2 literacy skills.