Use of Interactive Online Games in Teaching English as a Foreign Language

Use of Interactive Online Games in Teaching English as a Foreign Language

Hoe Kyeung Kim (Cleveland State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-713-8.ch008
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The purpose of this study is to examine how the use of multiplayer English teaching online games influences students’ self-efficacy and their English performance scores. The participants of this study were sixty elementary students in Korea. They were selected based on the scores on the social-affective value test and then divided into two groups-high and low groups. During five weeks, the participants played with an English teaching online game two hours per week. The students’ self-efficacy scores were collected before and after they played the online game. Their English performance scores on the online game were collected to compare the two groups. The findings indicated that their online game experience increased self-efficacy. Interestingly, students with low social-affective values showed more improvement than those with high social-affective values in both self-efficacy and performance scores.
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Interactive Games And Efl Language Learning

Meaningful and authentic interaction is an essential element in language learning (Ellis, 1985; Gass, 1997; Gass, MacKey & Pica, 1998; Hall & Verplaetse, 2000). Input, interaction and the creation of output in authentic contexts should be a major component of activities in a second or foreign language context. An assumption underlying the use of interactive games in language education is that they will create an environment for promoting this type of interaction among students and will provide an opportunity to apply their language knowledge into a real situation. As language knowledge includes two categories, organizational knowledge and pragmatic knowledge (Bachman, 1990), the major aim of the use of technology in language education is to generate many different environments for interaction and the negotiation of meaning. In the case of EFL settings where students lack an opportunity to practice their target language, the potential advantage of using online games is great.

Multiplayer online games can promote student motivation, increase communication, and encourage collaboration among participating students. Brown (2007) stated that computers can provide a convenient venue to practice the target language, support multimodal practices (auditory, visual and written), and promote the fun factor. Although interactive online games could offer many useful tools for language learning and teaching, most of studies related to online games have focused on vocabulary teaching (e.g., Huyen & Nga, 2003; Yip & Kwan, 2006). Especially in EFL settings, multiplayer English teaching online games which promote interaction and communication will provide meaningful and authentic learning tasks for EFL learners. As Sharrock and Watson (1987) stated, simulation and gaming could provide practice of real-world communication that EFL classes are lacking.

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