Vocabulary development and acquisition have always been one of the core activities in foreign language learning, whether it is for general purposes or for specific/ academic ones (Swales, 1983).
For this reason, this paper makes an attempt to present an alternative way of approaching vocabulary instruction within a Greek ESP context through a computer software (concordancer), which analyzes electronically gathered reading texts (corpora) for the discovery of regular patterns and lexical sets, an approach called Data-Driven Learning (DDL).
This pilot study took place at the University of Western Macedonia, Pedagogical Faculty, Department of Primary education, Florina, Greece. Before implementing this pilot project 40 students’ needs were identified by using a questionnaire exploring their difficulties, deficiencies and teaching preferences related to all four skills in learning vocabulary. In DDL (Tim John’s coinage) the learning process is no longer based solely on the teachers’ initiative and the explicit teaching of rules, but on the learner's own discovery of rules, principles and patterns of usage in the foreign language, so learning is driven by authentic language data.
The specific approach proved to be quite promising, since the use of technology contributed to simulating students’ motivation as well as to developing academic vocabulary.