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This study investigated the effect of initial vocabulary learning and retention by employing the involvement load hypothesis since the hypothesis consists of need, search, and evaluation which concern a motivational-cognitive construct resulted in vocabulary learning and retention. A number of 58 EFL learners were divided into two groups, Group A and Group B, respectively, to perform tasks. Group A did the task by building a sentence with a target word shown in the marginal gloss while group B constructed a sentence by searching the meaning on bilingual dictionary. The two sentence writing tasks with the target words were designed with different levels of involvement. The results of this study presented no significant difference between two tasks and it partially supported the involvement load hypothesis since it revealed that the task with low involvement gained more vocabulary knowledge than the task with high involvement and it affected on both initial vocabulary learning and retention.
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