UnlockLearning - Investigating the Integration of Vocabulary Learning Tasks into the Smartphone Authentication Process

Christina Schneegass*, Sophia Sigethy, Teodora Mitrevska, Malin Eiband, Daniel Buschek

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Frequent repetition of vocabulary is essential for effective language learning. To increase exposure to learning content, this work explores the integration of vocabulary tasks into the smartphone authentication process. We present the design and initial user experience evaluation of twelve prototypes, which explored three learning tasks and four common authentication types. In a three-week within-subject field study, we compared the most promising concept as mobile language learning (MLL) applications to two baselines: We designed a novel (1) UnlockApp that presents a vocabulary task with each authentication event, nudging users towards short frequent learning session. We compare it with a (2) NotificationApp that displays vocabulary tasks in a push notification in the status bar, which is always visible but learning needs to be user-initiated, and a (3) StandardApp that requires users to start in-app learning actively. Our study is the first to directly compare these embedding concepts for MLL, showing that integrating vocabulary learning into everyday smartphone interactions via UnlockApp and NotificationApp increases the number of answers. However, users show individual subjective preferences. Based on our results, we discuss the trade-off between higher content exposure and disturbance, and the related challenges and opportunities of embedding learning seamlessly into everyday mobile interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-174
Number of pages18
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Authentication
  • Embedded Interaction
  • Micro Interactions
  • Mobile Language Learning


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