Implicit and explicit instruction in L2 learning

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More than a decade has passed since Norris and Ortega’s (2000) seminal meta-analysis on the effectiveness of instruction in L2 learning. This line of research has matured for another research synthesis, which led to the present meta-analytic review. Thirty-four unique sample studies, in each of which explicit and implicit instructional treatments were compared, were retrieved and included in the present meta-analysis: 11 studies from Norris and Ortega’s meta-analysis and 23 new studies published between 1999 and 2011. Overall, explicit instruction was found to have been more effective than implicit instruction. The effectiveness of implicit and explicit instruction in L2 development was also meta-analyzed in terms of several moderator variables. We discuss our results in comparison with Norris and Ortega’s findings.


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