Gamification in English as Second Language Learning in Secondary Education Aged Between 11-18: A Systematic Review Between 2013-2020

Gamification in English as Second Language Learning in Secondary Education Aged Between 11-18: A Systematic Review Between 2013-2020

Gamze Kaya, Hatice Cilsalar Sagnak
Copyright: © 2022 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/IJGBL.294010
(Individual Articles)
No Current Special Offers


Since gamification has strengthened its place in education over the years, it is frequently preferred in English as a Second Language Learning. This study aims to investigate the literature on the effects of gamification on students’ English learning as a second language and the tendency of students to use games to learn English as a second language. This review contains a systematic review of published articles about gamification in English as a Second Language Learning for learners aged between 11-18 from 2013 to 2020. The study was designed according to the specifications of the PRISMA 2009 Checklist. A combination of words related to gamification, game-based learning, English as a Second Language, and secondary school was included as a search strategy. After selection, ten research articles written in English were reviewed. Their results indicated that the games enhance the fun, raise students’ motivation, and boost their participation while helping their autonomous learning. This review includes suggestions to support planning game-based English lessons.
Article Preview


Gamification is getting popular in second language learning. Gamification is an approach for empowering users’ motivations while engaging and helping them enjoy themselves in computer-mediated and non-gaming environments (Seaborn & Fels, 2015). The concept of gamification comprises game elements (badges, points, awards, etc.), systematic and artistic game designs, and non-game context. The target objectives of it are not focused on just having enjoyment or fun. Both of them are included in the learning process while students are experiencing games (Flores, 2015). According to Tivaraju et al. (2018), using educational technology in English language classrooms (via a game-based online learning platform called Kahoot!) fostered positive attitudes, increased student motivation. It allowed better perceptions and expectations of learners toward English learning for the future. Also, Morthy and Abdul Aziz (2020) suggest that language games enable students to learn the target language in a non-threatening learning environment successfully. Additionally, gamification may promote students’ learning practice, also using games in classes is advantageous for students (Barab et al., 2009). It can be utilized at about all language levels and ages. Students may improve their 21st-century skills, including literacy, speaking, listening, critical thinking, digital literacy, and problem-solving skills. Learner autonomy increases since students can correct themselves with low stress. They progress by learning at their own pace (Maloney, 2019). According to Aydın (2014), students participate more effectively by creating a basis for meaningful inputs thanks to this meaningful communication in foreign language education created by digital games. Since there are review studies examining English learning with games on elementary and higher education levels, there was no review study on secondary school level whose students are aged between 11 and 18 in several countries. The International Standard Classification of Education classifies secondary education as ISCED 2 (lower secondary school) for 12–15-year-old-students and ISCED 3 (upper secondary school) for 15–18-year-old-students (ISCED, 2011). This time span is critical to reinforce and elaborate English learning. For this review study, the studies of those participants who were 11-18-years old were chosen as secondary school age ranges so as not to lose data because of the age. Secondary schools prepare students for higher education, and it is necessary to learn English for their research. There was no meta-analysis about gamification in English as a Second Language Learning (ESLL) for secondary school students aged between 11 and 18.

The main aim of this review is to systematically review the studies on observational proofs detailed on the esteem of games in language learning, including its pros and cons. With this aim, the studies focusing on the effects of gamification on 11-18-year-old students and their learning and their tendency to use games to learn English as a second language (ESL) were reviewed. Therefore, the research questions are:

  • 1.

    What is the literature tendency of 11-18-year-old students’ game usage to learn English as a second language?

  • 2.

    How does gamification affect 11-18-year-old students’ learning English as a second language?



This study is designed as a systematic review to help teachers see gamification effects in classrooms. According to Gozcu and Caganaga (2016), pedagogically, games have an extraordinary value for Second Language Teachers with numerous advantages. A systematic review study investigates a question commonly emanated from a practice or policy problem (Denyer & Tranfield, 2009). As a systematic review study, it examines and tries to reach a clear understanding of the effects of gamification on secondary level students’ learning of English as a second language.

Complete Article List

Search this Journal:
Volume 14: 1 Issue (2024)
Volume 13: 1 Issue (2023)
Volume 12: 4 Issues (2022): 1 Released, 3 Forthcoming
Volume 11: 4 Issues (2021)
Volume 10: 4 Issues (2020)
Volume 9: 4 Issues (2019)
Volume 8: 4 Issues (2018)
Volume 7: 4 Issues (2017)
Volume 6: 4 Issues (2016)
Volume 5: 4 Issues (2015)
Volume 4: 4 Issues (2014)
Volume 3: 4 Issues (2013)
Volume 2: 4 Issues (2012)
Volume 1: 4 Issues (2011)
View Complete Journal Contents Listing