Saad Alzahrani

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In July 2018, I joined the Department of Education as a visiting postdoctoral research fellow following previous connection to the Department as a PhD student since 2014. My doctoral research focused on investigating effective language learning in multimedia CALL environments by considering psychological and neurological evidence. In addition to being currently writing up this work for publication, my work consists mainly of conducting research with the leader of the Centre for Research in Language Learning and Use (CReLLU) and other colleagues. I also train staff and students on the use of Pupillometry and Electroencephalography (EEG).

Having previously served as the chairman of various students’ bodies (2014-2016), in October 2016 I was elected as Council Chair for the Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) at the university of York. In 2017, I also worked as a graduate students’ representative at the university of York Senate. These and other achievements led to me winning the York Award Gold.

Before moving on to York, I gained my BA in English Language and Education at Umm Al-Qura University and went on to complete my MEd in Multimedia CALL at KAU University.



My research is primarily neurolinguistic in nature and focuses on exploring the differential influences of certain features of an intentional vocabulary learning software designed by the researcher. That is, to investigate the coding elements of three multimedia representations that may be significant in vocabulary acquisition and processing in second language learning. To facilitate this, I measure the learners’ cognitive abilities using the Automated Working Memory Assessment (AWMA) before the learning phase as well as using pupillometry and electroencephalography (EEG) as monitoring methods to record the learners’ brain activities during the recall of learned novel words. This should assist in achieving the aim of relating the effect of CALL and memory research on vocabulary learning, and in turn, serve to inform second language acquisition theories.

External activities


Invited talks and conferences

Alzahrani, S. (2016). Visual and spatial memory distinction in computer-assisted language learning (CALL) environments. Oral presentation delivered at Kaleidoscope Graduate Conference at University of Cambridge, UK. May 26th - 27th

Alzahrani, S. (2016). Employing zoomable user interfaces in teaching L2 word associations. Poster presentation delivered at 3rd International Conference on Language, Literature and Culture in Education in Venice, Italy. July 12th - 14th

Alzahrani, S. (2016). Zooming in on a bilingual mental lexicon. Oral presentation delivered at the International Conference of Social Sciences and Humanities in London, UK. December 26th – 27th (Awarded the best content).

Alzahrani, S. (2017). Linking Multimedia Vocabulary CALL Research to SLA Cognitive Theories. American Journal of Educational Research, 5(7), 821-827.

Alzahrani, S. (2017). Considering Working Memory Abilities in Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) Interventions. Poster presentation at the British Association of Applied Linguistics (BAAL) VOCAB SIG in Reading, UK. July 3rd- 4th.

Alzahrani, S. (2018). Pupillometry as a window into second language lexical processing. Poster presentation at the Cognitive Neuroscience of Second and Artificial Language Learning Conference (CoNSALL) in Bangor, UK. September 21st- 23rd.

Alzahrani, S. and Roberts, L. (in press). Exploiting Vocabulary CALL Interventions to Operationalizing the Levels of Processing Model. In: Technology and Language Learner psychology. Taylor & Francis Group.

Media coverage


Contact details

Department of Education
University of York
YO10 5DD

Tel: +44 (0)1904 322486