Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Special Issue on CALL Number 6. July 2020                                Pp. 318 -331

 Full Paper PDF   


 The Use of Social Media Platforms to Enhance Vocabulary Development in Learning a New
Language: A Review of The Literature

 Meshari Alharthi
School of Education, College of Arts, Law and Education
University of Tasmania, Launceston, Tasmania, Australia

Andy Bown
School of Education, College of Arts, Law and Education
University of Tasmania, Launceston, Tasmania, Australia

Darren Pullen
School of Education, College of Arts, Law and Education
University of Tasmania, Launceston, Tasmania, Australia



Social media platforms (SMPs) are widely used by many users worldwide in different fields, including business, politics, education, and personal enjoyment (Kapoor et al., 2018). However, the use of SMPs for English language vocabulary learning is still under-researched, particularly in a Saudi Arabian context. Alzahrani (2016) and Alqunayeer (2016) have underscored the scarcity of research exploring the use and effect of SMPs on Saudi learners’ vocabulary development, and as these platforms are highly favored in Saudi Arabia, the paucity of research makes the current study timely and pertinent. Furthermore, recent studies in Vietnam and Indonesia have recommended that further research should be conducted regarding the use of SMPs for English language vocabulary learning and indeed for learning English as a second language (Indari & Putri, 2018; Tran, 2016). This paper aims to review the research concerning the use of SMPs for vocabulary learning from 2014 to 2018. Out of 50 peer-reviewed articles, only 15 studies were relevant to SMPs and vocabulary learning. It has been recognized that SMPs are effective in improving learner engagement, motivation, and vocabulary development, suggesting that SMPs can be valuable tools and resources to facilitate learning. The authors have also proposed a definition for the term social media, as one has not been agreed upon in the educational literature, this is not surprising given that the social media phenomenon is still a new and rapidly evolving field of practice and study.
Keywords: English language, learning, Saudi Arabia, social media, vocabulary.

Cite as: Alharthi, M., Bown, A.,& Pullen, D. (2020). The Use of Social Media Platforms to Enhance Vocabulary Development in Learning a New Language: A Review of The Literature. Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Special Issue on CALL (6). 318 -331.   DOI:


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Meshari Alharthi is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Tasmania. He received a bachelor’s
degree in the English language with a minor degree in Education from Taif University in Saudi
Arabia and an MA in TESOL and Applied Linguistics from the University of Salford in the UK.
He is interested in language learning and social media platforms.
Dr. Andy Bown is a Lecturer in Languages and TESOL at the University of Tasmania, Australia.
He has a Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics from Macquarie University, and his research interests
include second language reading and the use of technology in language learning.
Dr. Darren Pullen is a lecturer at the University of Tasmania, where he teaches undergraduates
and graduate students in the disciplines of health science and technology. His research interest is
in the interactions of people and technology-humachine.