The effectiveness of second language strategy instruction: A meta-analysis

Luke Plonsky

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

252 Scopus citations


Research on the effects of second language strategy instruction (SI) has been extensive yet inconclusive. This meta-analysis, therefore, aims to provide a reliable, quantitative measure of the effect of SI as well as a description of the relationship between SI and the variables that moderate its effectiveness (i.e., different learning contexts, treatments, and outcome variables). A comprehensive search was conducted to collect the population of SI studies. Effect sizes were calculated for 61 primary studies, contributing a total of 95 unique samples, all of which were coded for potential moderators. The findings indicate a small to medium overall effect of SI (d= 0.49). Variables found to moderate its effectiveness include type and number of strategies, learning context (second vs. foreign language), and length of intervention. Following a contextualized interpretation of the results, the article concludes with a discussion of theoretical, practical, and methodological implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)993-1038
Number of pages46
JournalLanguage Learning
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • Language learning strategies
  • Meta-analysis
  • Second language acquisition
  • Strategy instruction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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