Hypertext Annotation: Effects of presentation formats and learner proficiency on reading comprehension and vocabulary learning in foreign languages

I-Jung Chen
Jung-Chuan Yen


This study extends current knowledge by exploring the effect of different annotation formats, namely in-text annotation, glossary annotation, and pop-up annotation, on hypertext reading comprehension in a foreign language and vocabulary acquisition across student proficiencies. User attitudes toward the annotation presentation were also investigated. Data were collected from 83 non-English-majored university students in Taiwan in a 4-week period. Each week participants read 3 passages, each with different annotation formats as a treatment condition and one passage without annotation as a control condition. Posttests of reading comprehension and vocabulary recognition followed each passage. The results indicate that, for reading comprehension, the in-text format led to the lowest performance among all types of annotation, including the control condition. The best performance was observed in the condition where annotations were presented in the pop-up format. No interaction effect between format and proficiency was detected. For vocabulary acquisition, reading passages with hypermedia annotations significantly benefit vocabulary learning for participants of medium and high proficiencies compared with the control condition. No significant differences were found among the 3 formats. The beneficial effect, however, did not extend to low-proficiency participants. Participant feedback revealed a positive attitude toward annotations. Among the 3 annotation formats, the glossary type was considered the least preferred type by participants. Findings of the research provide insights on the design and instruction for online reading.


Improving classroom teaching, Media in education, Post-secondary education


The authors explore the influence of the three annotation formats (in-text annotation, glossary annotation, and pop-up annotation) on English hypertext reading comprehension and vocabulary acquisition among non-English majors in Taiwanese university. Research sample was 108 first semester undergraduate students. Although all the participants were enrolled in a general English course, their English proficiency varied: low (n= 22), Medium (n= 35) and High (n= 26). Participants first read reading passage in English in the three different annotation forms, and took a posttest to determine the effect of annotation format. The result indicated that pop-up format resulted in the highest scores, followed by the glossary annotation, no annotation, and in-text annotation. Perception of in-text annotation might interfere information processing. As for vocabulary acquisition, the format did not make significant difference.

APA Citation

Chen, I. J., & Yen, J. C. (2013). Hypertext annotation: Effects of presentation formats and learner proficiency on reading comprehension and vocabulary learning in foreign languages. Computers & Education, 63, 416-423.

About the Study

Links to Article https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2013.01.005
Mode Technology-enhanced
Publication Type Journal Article
In Publication Computers & Education
Type of Research Quantitative
Research Design
Intervention/Areas of Study Other
Level of Analysis Student-level
Specific Populations Examined English as a second language
Peer-Reviewed Yes
Specific Institutional Characteristics of Interest
Specific Course or Program Characteristics Other
Outcome Variables of Interest
Student Sample Size 0-99
Citing Articles https://scholar.google.com/scholar?cites=562289436364352199&as_sdt=5,50&sciodt=0,50&hl=en