This paper explores the development of web-based vocabulary training materials for Japanese university students using a free online application, Memrise, and its use in a blended learning context. In blended learning, which means learning conducted through a combination of classroom and online instruction, it is important to prepare proper Web-based training (WBT) material. However, it is not realistic to develop a unique program from scratch for each course that involves blended learning. Thus, it will be beneficial for English teachers using these approaches to deepen their knowledge of versatile Web tools that are applicable to language teaching and learning. This paper presents some advantages of Memrise for practical use in English teaching and learning from the perspective of materials development, along with images snipped from the Memrise website.
This paper also presents and discusses behavioral data accumulated from 150 undergraduate students at Hiroshima University who took a required English course for oral communication. Vocabulary learning materials based on Memrise were introduced as a supplement for these students to employ for self-learning outside the classroom. The data show that there are some limitations to the self-blend model, in which learners are supposed to voluntarily work on WBT materials outside the classroom. This paper provides grounding for following studies to further discuss what approaches can facilitate self-learning outside the classroom, and also what kind of instructions or ways to motivate students can help overcome the limitations of blended learning.