Document Type : Research article


1 Department of English language and literature, Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz, Ahvaz.

2 Ph.D. Candidate, Department of English language and literature, Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz, Ahvaz


Blended learning is sometimes called the best of both worlds, as it combines the advantages of online learning with traditional face to face (FTF) instruction. The present study examines the impact of blended learning (BL) on the lexical variety (LV), lexical density (LD), and syntactic complexity (SC) of Iranian high school EFL students’ speaking and writing skills over a nine-month period. Two groups of 42 homogeneous high school students were selected. One group was assigned as the blended and the other as the FTF group using the Top Notch Placement Test. Then, a website was designed as a platform for the BL group’s online activities and tasks, such as chat room discussions, synchronous and asynchronous forums for writing and speaking activities, and an online task-completion activity. The FTF group received equal but different treatment. Interviews and a writing task were administered at the beginning and the end of the nine-month academic year in order to elicit speaking and writing samples from the students. Finally, the corpora obtained from the first and final interviews and writing tasks were analyzed by two independent coders to observe possible changes in linguistic features. A one-way ANOVA test was used to find out any meaningful differences between the indices of linguistic features in the two corpora. The results show that BL instruction exerted a positive effect on lexical variety and density both in terms of speaking and writing. However, the syntactic complexity of speaking and writing were significant for the FTF group. Hence, based on the obtained results, the superiority of BL instruction over FTF was revealed when the focus of attention was on productive skills.


Abrams, Z. I. (2003). The effect of synchronous and asynchronous CMC on oral performance in Ger­man. The Modern Language Journal, 87, 157-167.
Acelajado, J. M. (2011). Blended learning: A strategy for improving the mathematics achievement of students in a bridging program. The Electronic Journal of Mathematics and Technology, 5(3), 342-351.
Alavi Moghadam, S. B., Kheir Abadi, R., Rahimi, M., & Davari, H. (2016). Vision One (Tenth Grade English for High school). Ministry of Education of Islamic Republic of Iran, Organization for Educational Research and Planning (OERP).
Bagheri, M. S., Yamini, M., & Behjat, F. (2013). Blending technology in EFL writing instruction. International Journal of Social Sciences and Education, 3(2), 422-434.  
Bambang, H., Dewiyani, S., & Pantjawati. S. (2016). Development of web-based learning application for generation Z. International Journal of Evaluation and Research in Education (IJERE), 5(1), 60-68. 
Bayazidi, A., Ansarin, A., & Mohammadnia. Z. (2019). The relationship between syntactic and lexical complexity in speech monologues of EFL learners. Applied Research on English Language, 8(4), 473-488.
Beauvois, M. H. (1992). Computer assisted classroom discussion in the foreign language classroom: Conversation in slow motion. Foreign Language Annals, 25, 525-534.
Brooke, E. (2017). Four keys to success using blended learning implementation models. Lexia Learning. learning-four-keys.
Brown, G., & Yule, G. (1983). Teaching the spoken language. Cambridge University Press.
Christensen, C. M., Horn, M. B., & Staker, H. (2013). Is K-12 blended learning disruptive? An introduction of the theory of hybrids. Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Chun, D. M. (1994). Using computer networking to facilitate the acquisition of interactive competence. System, 22(1),17-31.
Crossley, S. A., & McNamara, D. S. (2009). Computational assessment of lexical differences in L1 and L2 writing. Journal of Second Language Writing, 18(2), 119-135.
Crossley, S. A., Salsbury, T., & McNamara, D. S. (2011) Predicting the proficiency level of language learners using lexical indices. Language Testing, 29(2), 243-263.
Danielson, D. (2018). Where are the smartboards going? BHS Blueprint: Official voice of the Blaine Bengal.
De George-Walker, L., & Keeffe, M. (2010). Self-determined blended learning: A case study of blended learning design. Higher Education Research and Development, 29, 1-13.
Deulen, A. (2013). Social constructivism and online learning environments: Towards a theological model for Christian educators. Christian Education Journal, 10(1), 90-98.
Foroozandeh, E., & Forouzani, M. (2015). Developing school English materials for the new Iranian educational system. In C. Kennedy (Ed.), English language teaching in the Islamic Republic of Iran: Innovations, trends and challenges (pp.59-60). British Council.
Foster, P., Tonkyn, A., & Wigglesworth, G. (2000). Measuring spoken language: A unit for all reasons. Applied Linguistics, 21, 354-375.
Frear, M. W., & Bitchener, J. (2015). The effects of cognitive task complexity on writing complexity. Journal of Second Language Writing, 30(1), 45-57.
Garrison, D. R., & Kanuka, H. (2004). Blended learning: Uncovering its transformative potential in higher education. Internet and Higher Education, 7(2), 95-105.
Ghahari, S., & Ameri-Golestan, A. (2014). The effect of blended learning vs. classroom learning techniques on Iranian EFL learners’ writing. International Journal of Foreign Language Teaching & Research. 1(3), 77-86.
Gilbert, J. (2013). A collaborative online reading and research project. In B. Tomlinson & C. Whittaker (Eds), Blended learning in English language teaching: Course design and implementation (pp. 27-34). British Council.
Gorjian, B. (2011). Teaching vocabulary through web-based language learning (WBLL) approach. Procedia Technology, 1, 334-339.
Graham, C. R. (2006). Blended learning systems: Definition, current trends, and future directions. In C. J. Bonk & C. R. Graham (Eds.), Handbook of blended learning: Global perspectives, local designs (pp. 3-19). Pfeiffer Publishing.
Graham, C. R. (2013). Emerging practice and research in blended learning. In M. G. Moore (Ed.), Handbook of distance learning (pp. 333-350) (3rd ed.). Routledge.
Hamilton, R., V. (2018). Blended learning and second language acquisition in the classroom. Graduate Research Papers, 337, 1-41.
Hirotani, M. (2013). Synchronous versus asynchronous CMC and transfer to Japanese oral performance. Calico Journal, 26(2), 413-438.
Housen, A., & Kuiken, F. (2009). Complexity, accuracy, and fluency in second language acquisition. Applied Linguistics, 30(4), 461-473.
INACOL Staff. (2016). What is blended learning?
Jahangard, A. (2007). Evaluation of EFL materials taught at Iranian public high schools. The Asian EFL Journal, 9(2), 130-150.
Jarvis, S. (2002). Short texts, best-fitting curves and new measures of lexical diversity. Language Testing, 19, 57-84.
Johansson, V. (2008). Lexical diversity and lexical density in speech and writing: a developmental perspective. Lund University, Dept. of Linguistics and Phonetics. Working Papers, 53, 61-79.
Kelm, O. R. (1992). The use of synchronous computer networks in second language instruction: A preliminary report. Foreign Language Annals, 25, 441-454.
Khazaei, S., & Jalilifar, A.  (2015). Exploring the role of mobile games in a blended module of L2 vocabulary learning. Teaching English Language, 9(1), 61-91.
Kim, J. (2014). Predicting L2 writing proficiency using linguistic complexity measures: A corpus-based study. English Teaching, 6(4), 27-51.
Laufer, B., & Nation, P. (1995). Vocabulary size and use - lexical richness in L2 written production. Applied Linguistics, 16, 307-322.
Layton, S. (2017). What’s the difference between online learning and distance learning? Applied Educational Systems. online-learning-and distance-learning.
Legault, L., Green-Demers, I., & Pelletier, L. (2006). Why do high school students lack motivation in the classroom? Toward an understanding of academic motivation and the role of social support. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98(3), 567-582. /0022-0663.98.3.567
Locastro, V. (2001). Large classes and student learning. TESOL quarterly, 35(3), 493-496.
Lu, X. (2008). Hybrid models for sense guessing of Chinese unknown wordsInternational Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 13(1), 99-128.
Lu, X. (2012). The relationship of lexical richness to the quality of ESL learners’ oral narratives. The Modern Language Journal, 96(2), 190-208.
Lu, X. (2014). Computational methods for corpus annotation and analysis. Springer.
Malvern, D., & Richards, B. (2002). Investigating accommodation in language proficiency interviews using a new measure of lexical diversity. Language Testing, 19, 85-104.
Maringe, F., & Sing, N. (2014). Teaching large classes in an increasingly internationalizing higher education environment: pedagogical, quality and equity issues. Higher Education, 67(6), 761-782.
Mashhadi, A., Hayati, A., & Jalilifar, A. R. (2016). The impact of podcast on English vocabulary development in a blended educational model. Applied Research on English Language, 5(2), 145-172.
Mayer, R. E. (1997). Multimedia learning: are we asking the right questions? Educational Psychologist, 32, 1-19.
Mayer, R. E. (2005). Cognitive theory of multimedia learning. In R.E. Mayer (Ed.), The Cambridge handbook of multimedia learning. Cambridge University Press.
Mayer, R. E. (2009). Multimedia learning (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press.
Mayer, R. E. (2014). The Cambridge handbook of multimedia learning (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press.
Mazgutova, D., & Kormos, J. (2015).  Syntactic and lexical development in an intensive English for Academic Purposes program. Journal of Second Language Writing, 29, 1-13.
Means, B., Toyama, Y., Murphy, R., Bakia, M., & Jones, K. (2009). Evaluation of evidence-based practices in online learning: A meta-analysis and review of online learning studies. U.S. Department of Education, Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development.
Minalla, A. (2018). The effect of what’s App chat group in enhancing EFL learners’ verbal interaction outside classroom contexts. English Language Teaching, 11(3), 1-7.
Murray, J. (2019). Blended learning via technology in the classroom. Teach Hub.
Ngo, C. L. (2018). Web-based language learning (WBLL) for enhancing L2 speaking performance: A review. Advances in Language and Literary Studies, 9(4),143-152.
Park, S-K. (2013). Lexical analysis of Korean university students’ narrative and argumentative essays. English Teaching, 68(3), 131-157.
Pietilä P. (1999). L2 Speech: Oral proficiency of students of English at university level. Anglicana Turkuensia No 19. University of Turku.
Plass, J. L., & Jones, L. C. (2005). Second language acquisition with multimedia. In R. Mayer (Ed.), The Cambridge handbook of multimedia learning (pp. 476-488). Cambridge University Press.
Popp, N. (2017). A different kind of diversity among adult English language learners. Minne TESOL Journal. language-learners.
Saslow, J., & Ascher, A. (2006). Top Notch placement test. Pearson Longman
Shahrokni, S. A., & Talaeizadeh, A. (2013). Learning processes in blended language learning: A mixed-methods approach. TESL-EJ, 17(3).
Smith, B. (2003). Computer-mediated negotiated interaction: An expanded model. The Modern Lan­guage Journal, 87, 38-57.
Son, J. B. (2008). Using web-based language learning activities in the ESL classroom. International Journal of Pedagogies and Learning, 4(4), 34-43.
Staker, H., & Horn, M. B. (2012). Classifying K-12 blended learning. Innosight Institute.
Tajima, M. (2002). Examination of accuracy indicators: Basic research on the analysis of oral production. In S. Makino (Ed.), The proceedings of the tenth Princeton Japanese pedagogy workshop (pp. 94-104). Princeton University.
Tavakoli, P., & Foster, P. (2011). Task design and second language performance: The effect of narrative type on learner output. Language Learning, 61, 37-72. 10.1111/j.1467-9922.2011. 00642.x
Thorne, K. (2003). Blended learning: How to integrate online and traditional learning. Kogan Page.
Tosun, S. (2015). The effects of blended learning on EFL students’ vocabulary enhancement. Procedia -Social and Behavioral Sciences, 199, 641-647.
Ugur, B., Akkoyunlu, B., & Kurbanoglu, S. (2011). Students’ opinions on blended learning and its implementation in terms of their learning styles. Education Information Technology, 16, 5‐23.
Warschauer, M. (1996). Comparing face-to-face and electronic discussion in the second language class­room. CALICO Journal, 13, 7-26.
Watson, J., Murin, A., Vashaw, L., Gemin, B., & Rapp, C. (2013). Keeping pace with K-12 online and blended learning. Evergreen Education Group.
Wiersma, W., Nerbonne, J., & Lauttamus, T. (2011).  Automatically extracting typical syntactic differences from corpora. Literary and Linguistic Computing, 26(1), 107-124. 
Wolfe-Quintero, Inagaki, K. S., & Kim, H. Y. (1998). Second language development in writing: Measures of fluency, accuracy, and complexity (Report No. 17). Honolulu.
Yoon, H.-J., & Polio, C. (2017). The linguistic development of students of English as a second language in two written genres. TESOL Quarterly, 51(2), 275-301.
 Yu, G. (2010). Lexical diversity in writing and speaking task performances. Applied Linguistics, 31(2), 236-259.
Zarei, A. A., & Abdi, V. (2016). Blended learning, computer-based, and conventional reading instruction affecting EFL learners' self-regulation and critical thinking.  International Journal of Humanities and Cultural Studies, 3(1), 2169-2187.
Zareva, A., Schwanenflugel, P., & Nikolova, Y. (2005). Relationship between lexical competence and language proficiency- variable sensitivity. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 27, 567-595.