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Working memory and language aptitude in relation to listening strategy instruction in an instructed SLA context

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 April 2021

Saime Kara Duman
Yildiz Technical University
Şebnem Yalçın*
Boğaziçi University
Gülcan Erçetin
Boğaziçi University
*Corresponding author. Email:


The present small-scale study explores whether working memory (WM) and language aptitude (LA) explain any variance in L2 listening comprehension beyond baseline listening ability and explicit strategy-based listening instruction in an instructed EFL setting at the tertiary level. In a pretest/posttest non-randomized group design, the experimental group (N = 19) received explicit strategy-based listening instruction for 12 hours while the control group (N = 17) followed their regular L2 listening course syllabus. L2 listening comprehension was measured with an L2 academic listening comprehension test. WM measures (Foster et al., 2015) included an operation span task (OST), a symmetry span task (SST), and a rotation span task (RST). LA was assessed with LLAMA (Meara, 2005). The findings revealed the effectiveness of strategy-based intervention for L2 listening comprehension. A hierarchical regression analysis indicated that baseline listening scores explained about 52% of the variance in the post-listening scores, while listening strategy instruction explained an additional 16% of the variance. On the other hand, WM and LA did not explain any variance in listening comprehension scores, suggesting that the two individual learner differences in the present study are not significant predictors of L2 listening comprehension.

Research Article
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press

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