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Augmented Reality (AR) is a novel technology capable of embedding digital objects a user's experience of reality via a smartphone, tablet, or head-mounted display. AR offers interesting pedagogical applications and research possibilities in the field of SLA, particularly in the deliberate study of vocabulary. Such applications also offer implications for distance learning. This case study examined a 25-year-old Japanese language teacher in her deliberate acquisition of three sets of 15 vocabulary items selected from the first 1,000 most frequent words of Basque. A word card study method was compared with two AR vocabulary study methods. One AR study method involved the study of physical objects and their signifying Basque vocabulary items within a context-independent scene which was unknown to the participant. The second AR study method similarly involved the study of physical objects and their signifying Basque vocabulary items within a context-dependent scene which was known to the learner. In terms of vocabulary retention as measured with meaning recognition, form recognition, and form recall tests, both AR methods of study appeared to be as effective if not more so than word cards. The study of vocabulary items represented by physical objects in a contextualized environment with the use of a tablet-based AR application was beneficial in leveraging the recall of meaning and form of those items. During reflective interviews regarding the use of AR the participant indicated that she found the novel method of vocabulary study to be engaging and motivating. The findings of this study also indicate that mobile AR applications have potential pedagogical uses relevant to distance education practices.
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