Vocabulary Learning Strategies Among Saudi EFL Learners


Learning a foreign language is a complicated process including various aspects such as phonetics, vocabulary, word formation, morphology, syntax, spelling, and others. One of the major problems foreign learners face is usually connected with understanding unfamiliar words in a foreign language. In other words, vocabulary learning is challenging for foreign learners. To alleviate this process, the learners or their teachers should apply particular vocabulary learning strategies. They should be based on the peculiarities of the native language (Al-Seghayer, 2021). Foreign language vocabulary learning strategies have recently become a matter of interest. The special attention of researchers was put on the Saudi English foreign learners and the difficulties they face due to the significant differences in language structures (Al-Ahdal & Alkhudiry, 2020). Scientists described the difficulties and offered in-class strategies to enhance foreign learning in Saudi students (Ibrahim, 2018). However, the question of the role of media material and independent training is poorly researched. Audio-visual materials can not only contribute to easier vocabulary learning but also empower cultural integration (Lestari, 2019). Understanding a foreign language’s culture is also vital in learning vocabulary because word formation is directly affected by cultural peculiarities.

Current research aims to estimate the role of media materials in alleviating the learning process of English as a foreign language in Saudi learners. The study’s objective is to examine the impact of media materials on language learning progress in class and during independent work. The additional objective is to estimate the motivation of the learners and access to cultural integration. The research will evaluate the efficiency of the audio-visual materials integration strategy.

Literature Review

Various researchers describe the role of vocabulary strategy in learning a foreign language. Al-Khresheh and Al- Ruwaili (2020) emphasize that vocabulary learning for Saudi students is practically impossible without the particular chosen strategy. Moreover, based on the research about general Saudis learning preferences, the audio and visual style was proved to be prevalent (Al-Seghayer, 2021). Some researchers also highlight the Saudis’ difficulties in memorizing English vocabulary correlated with word structure (Ibrahim et al., 2018). Therefore, the audio-visual method of learning vocabulary can be preferable for Saudis from the practical efficiency perspective.

Some researchers have already emphasized digital media’s role in developing speaking and vocabulary. Through the number of experiments, Hayam (2019) emphasizes that digital storytelling has proved efficient for Saudis learners. The author discusses the problem of foreign language learning from vocabulary, emphasizing motivation in studying (Hayam, 2019). Digital language learning resources empower motivation and enhance the interest in learning. Combining these facts with the mentioned results of the Saudi’s learning preferences, audio-visual material implementation can be an efficient vocabulary learning strategy.

Traditionally, the students are taught using one or two strategies to learn the vocabulary. However, Ali (2020) emphasizes that efficient learning is possible when various vocabulary learning strategies are applied. All the aspects of language should be implemented in studying, including the contextual appliance of words and their phonetical peculiarities. By integrating the audio-visual material, the teachers can address all the mentioned above factors (Ali, 2020). Moreover, EFL learners’ motivation can be increased by engaging in the culture. The practical research about the EFL student’s perspective on vocabulary learning strategy showed that the video materials empower motivation (Lestari, 2019). Considering the above data mentioned about the prevalent way of memorizing for Saudis learners, the video or audio material will be a relevant strategy. Sari (2019) believes that YouTube can be efficiently used for vocabulary learning. The students can be engaged in culture by listening to native speakers. Such a strategy can be used to improve the speed of memorizing vocabulary in Saudi EFL learners. Moreover, vocabulary learning productivity may be enhanced through the in-context comprehension of new words.

Significance of the Study

Even though many researchers investigated the Saudi EFL field to different vocabulary learning strategies, a few research proving the effectiveness of different methods were held. Current research will allow estimating the practical results of implementing various strategies. More importantly, the self-reflection on motivation and engagement in learning will contribute to formulating the psychological attributes enhancing foreign language learning. Therefore, the research is vital for the linguistic-related academic field in providing a more diverse and innovative understanding of the EFLs’ needs.


The sample of the study was 78 Saudi students devoted to learning English as a foreign language. The students were chosen from the third year in King Saud University EFL program. The age of the students was from twenty to thirty-one. The study will use the reflective questionaries of the students and the observation method. The teachers will use two different strategies during the one month: traditional memorizing through reading and an interactive approach using audio-visual materials. Individual interviews with the teachers will also be held to gain an objective perspective regarding the students’ changes in motivation and total performance in applying different strategies.

Regarding the procedure, the questionnaires will be admitted once a week to track the changes in the motivation and performance of the students. The observation also will be held once a week when the researcher will attend the different classes assessing the learning progress. The individual interviews with the teachers will be held only twice: at the beginning and end of the experiment. Such an approach will contribute to gaining a full-fledged picture of the strategies’ efficiency.

Data Analysis

The statistical method of data analysis will be applied when interpreting the results. The number of motivation-related factors of Saudi EFL will be identified. To understand the principles underlying the usage of audio-visual materials’ impact on motivation, factor analysis will be used. Other types of data analysis used in current research are dispersion and correlational. The first one will contribute to determining the scope of the study and the variability of the sample. The second one will ensure the comparisons of sample materials to reveal the similarities and differences between the two applied strategies.

Theoretical and Philosophical Position

The theoretical position of the research is based on the hypothesis that the appliance of the audio-visual materials strategy in teaching Saudi EFL increases the performance and efficiency of learning. The philosophical position of the research is related to identifying the key elements of motivation for Saudi EFL learners. The psychological aspects and preferences of these students will be considered. Based on this data, the philosophical value of the audio-visual approach will be correlated with the educational profit of the strategies.


The current research proposal provides the literature review and planned methodology of the future study on vocabulary learning strategies among Saudi EFL learners. The study will intend to analyze students’ general performance changes and motivation fluctuations when two different systems of study are applied. The research will allow to specify the learning needs of Saudi EFL learners and emphasize the psychological aspects of enhancing their motivation and engagement.


Al-Ahdal, H., & Alkhudiry, R. (2020). Analysing EFL discourse of Saudi EFL learners: Identifying mother tongue interference. The Asian ESP Journal, 16(1), 89–109. Web.

Ali, M. (2020). Investigation of vocabulary learning strategies to identify word meanings for Saudi EFL students in reading context. Arab World English Journal, 11(3), 149–169. Web.

Al-Khresheh, M., & Al-Ruwaili, S. (2020). An exploratory study on vocabulary learning strategies used by Saudi EFL learners. Journal of History Culture and Art Research, 9(2), 288–302. Web.

Al-Seghayer, K. (2021). Characteristics of Saudi EFL learners’ learning styles. Communications of the ACM, 14(7), 82–94. Web.

Hayam, E. (2019). Pedagogic effectiveness of digital storytelling in improving speaking skills of Saudi EFL learners. Arab World English Journal, 10(1), 127–138. Web.

Ibrahim, A., Khan, R., Mustafa, G., Radzuan, N., & Shahbaz. (2018). The role of vocabulary knowledge in speaking development of Saudi EFL learners. Arab World English Journal, 9(1), 406–418. Web.

Lestari, N. (2019). Improving the speaking skill by vlog (video blog) as learning media: The EFL students perspective. International Journal of Academic Research in Business & Social Science, 9(1), 915–925. Web.

Sari, Y. (2019). YouTube as a learning media to improve the student’s speaking ability in 21st century. Journal of English Language Teaching and Linguistics, 4(2), 263–273. Web.

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