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Ask A REL Response

October 2018


What research has been conducted on the use and effectiveness of "Quizlet", which is a website that provides learning tools for students, such as flashcards?


Following an established REL Southeast research protocol, we conducted a search for research reports as well as descriptive study articles on "Quizlet". We focused on identifying resources that specifically addressed "Quizlet". The sources included ERIC and other federally funded databases and organizations, research institutions, academic research databases, and general Internet search engines (For details, please see the methods section at the end of this memo.)

We have not evaluated the quality of references and the resources provided in this response. We offer them only for your reference. These references are listed in alphabetical order, not necessarily in order of relevance. Also, we searched the references in the response from the most commonly used resources of research, but they are not comprehensive and other relevant references and resources may exist.

Research References

  1. Chien, C-W. (2015). Analysis the effectiveness of three online vocabulary flashcard websites on L2 learners' level of lexical knowledge. English Language Teaching, 8(5), 111-121.
    From the abstract: "This study compared and contrasted 64 Taiwanese college freshmen's perceptions of and attitudes toward three online vocabulary flashcard websites, Quizlet, Study Stack, and Flashcard Exchange. Four types of data were collected in two freshmen English classes in a university in Taiwan from February to April 2013. Data included online flashcard websites, classroom observations, participants' online flashcards and learning records, and interview. The study has the following two findings. First, these three online vocabulary flashcard websites mainly offered freshmen with the word knowledge in terms of form and words' meaning. Second, participants held positive attitudes toward learning and improving their vocabulary abilities via online flashcards and their related activities. Suggestions are provided to make online flashcards more effective vocabulary-learning tools: provision of user-friendly guidelines on using online flashcards, provision of flashcards with word meanings and related information, and a variety of easy exercises designed to develop learners' word knowledge."
  2. Dizon, G. (2016). Quizlet in the EFL classroom: Enhancing academic vocabulary acquisition of Japanese university students. Teaching English with Technology 16(2), 40-56.
    From the abstract: "This study examined the efficacy of using Quizlet, a popular online study tool, to develop L2 English vocabulary. A total of 9 Japanese university EFL students participated in the study. The learners studied Coxhead's (2001) academic vocabulary list (AWL) via Quizlet over the course of 10 weeks. Results of the pre- and post-tests revealed that the learners were able to make statistically significant gains. Moreover, a questionnaire administered by the researcher indicated that the students had positive perceptions of Quizlet to study L2 vocabulary. Specifically, all three constructs studied--perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, and behavioral intention to use Quizlet--had mean scores greater than 4 on a 5-point Likert scale, indicating a high-level of agreement. Based on these findings, the author supports the use of Quizlet in the EFL classroom."
  3. Monem, R., Bennett, K. D., & Barbetta, P. M. (2018). The effects of low-tech and high-tech active student responding strategies during history instruction for students with SLD. Learning Disabilities: A Contemporary Journal, 16(1), 87-106.
    From the abstract: "Instruction in history is important for all students. However, students with specific learning disabilities (SLD) often struggle to learn information in this content area. Instructional strategies proven effective for students with SLD are those that include active student responding (ASR), which are observable, measurable responses to instructional antecedents. Using an alternating treatments design, we compared a low-tech ASR condition (interactive notebook strategy) to a high-tech ASR condition (Quizlet Application on an iPad) used as end-of-session reviews of history content. Participants were seven Hispanic middle school students with SLD. Results showed that all participants made improvements using either ASR method over a series of pretest control probes and that differences between the two conditions were negligible. These results, and implications for practice and future research, are discussed."
  4. Tran, P. (2016). Training learners to use Quizlet vocabulary activities on mobile phones in Vietnam with Facebook. JALT CALL Journal, 12(1), 43-56.
    From the abstract: "Mobile phone ownership among university students in Vietnam has reached almost 100%, exceeding that of Internet-capable desktop computers. This has made them increasingly popular to allow learners to carry out learning activities outside of the classroom, but some studies have suggested that learners are not always willing to engage in activities outside of the classroom (Kim et al., 2013). Recent research has suggested that providing training to learners that includes not only how but also why activities are important can improve learner engagement in mobile-based activities (Stockwell & Hubbard, 2014). In this presentation, Vietnamese learners of English engaged in vocabulary and grammar tasks using the Quizlet app on their mobile phones outside of class time. Learners were provided with technical training in class, while ongoing strategic and pedagogical training were provided through a combination of inclass activities and interactions through a dedicated Facebook page over a 5-week period. Usage patterns of the site were recorded through a learning journal and interactions on the Facebook page were analysed to determine the nature of the discussions that took place. Learner attitudes towards the tasks and the training were examined through pre- and post-questionnaires and a focus group discussion. The results are discussed in terms of the problems encountered, and some suggestions for providing appropriate training to learning through mobile phones outside of class through social networking."


Keywords and Search Strings
The following keywords and search strings were used to search the reference databases and other sources:

  • Quizlet
  • Quizlet, student achievement

Databases and Resources
We searched ERIC for relevant resources. ERIC is a free online library of over 1.6 million citations of education research sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences. Additionally, we searched Google Scholar and PsychInfo.

Reference Search and Selection Criteria

When we were searching and reviewing resources, we considered the following criteria:

  • Date of the publication: References and resources published for last 15 years, from 2003 to present, were include in the search and review.
  • Search Priorities of Reference Sources: Search priority is given to study reports, briefs, and other documents that are published and/or reviewed by IES and other federal or federally funded organizations, academic databases, including ERIC, EBSCO databases, JSTOR database, PsychInfo, PsychArticle, and Google Scholar.
  • Methodology: Following methodological priorities/considerations were given in the review and selection of the references: (a) study types - randomized control trials,, quasi experiments, surveys, descriptive data analyses, literature reviews, policy briefs, etc., generally in this order (b) target population, samples (representativeness of the target population, sample size, volunteered or randomly selected, etc.), study duration, etc. (c) limitations, generalizability of the findings and conclusions, etc.

This memorandum is one in a series of quick-turnaround responses to specific questions posed by educational stakeholders in the Southeast Region (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina), which is served by the Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast at Florida State University. This memorandum was prepared by REL Southeast under a contract with the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences (IES), Contract ED-IES-17-C-0011, administered by Florida State University. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of IES or the U.S. Department of Education nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.