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Gaming to learn, learning to game: language learning through massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs)

Gaming to learn, learning to game: language learning through massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs)
Gaming to learn, learning to game: language learning through massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs)

Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) are predominately English language games with a mass number of active players worldwide. Although they are not designed for second language acquisition, research has shown that they can offer many opportunities for language learners to improve their second language. These include 1) Benefits of anonymity provided by personal avatars lowers language anxiety and other affective barriers to learning (Lee & Pass, 2014); 2) They are highly motivating venues for learner-centred autonomous learning(Chik, 2014); 3) They require communication in English language in order to advance in the game (Chotipaktanasook and Reinders, 2018); 4) They offer exposure to rich sources of written and oral target language input (Newgarden and Zheng, 2016); 5) They offer a collaborative environment leading to the possibility of co-construction of knowledge (Peterson, 2016); and 6) They provide access to contexts supporting peer-based learning (Rama et al., 2012).
This research explores the advantages offered by MMORPGs in learning a second language. Data collection was separated into two phases: 1) interviews were conducted with English learners to investigate how they self-regulate their language learning whilst playing MMORPGs; and 2) observations and stimulated recalls were conducted to investigate how MMORPGs foster second language development. Findings highlighted the authentic social interactions conducted by participants while playing, how MMORPGs scaffold second language development, participants’ perceived second language outcome from playing, their attitudes toward second language learning from MMORPGs, and how they self-regulate their second language learning whilst playing.
When playing MMORPGs, data shows that players are playing for entertainment and are not always aware of the process of second language gain taking place. Thus, they learn to game. In other words, they are only learning the language to progress in the game. Whilst other players, although few, have a conscious aim of learning another language; thus, they game to learn. Evidently, no incentives were required to keep players engaged in the MMORPGs since they played them for enjoyment. Therefore, this thesis argues that MMORPGs are useful environments for second language learning.

University of Southampton
Alsaleh, Ziyad
23a6c737-d052-4f7d-8c9d-f13007122596
Alsaleh, Ziyad
23a6c737-d052-4f7d-8c9d-f13007122596
Wright, Vicky
5a4085ca-99b1-43d4-92e0-8b36edbcf93a
Zheng, Ying
abc38a5e-a4ba-460e-92e2-b766d11d2b29

Alsaleh, Ziyad (2022) Gaming to learn, learning to game: language learning through massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs). University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 511pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) are predominately English language games with a mass number of active players worldwide. Although they are not designed for second language acquisition, research has shown that they can offer many opportunities for language learners to improve their second language. These include 1) Benefits of anonymity provided by personal avatars lowers language anxiety and other affective barriers to learning (Lee & Pass, 2014); 2) They are highly motivating venues for learner-centred autonomous learning(Chik, 2014); 3) They require communication in English language in order to advance in the game (Chotipaktanasook and Reinders, 2018); 4) They offer exposure to rich sources of written and oral target language input (Newgarden and Zheng, 2016); 5) They offer a collaborative environment leading to the possibility of co-construction of knowledge (Peterson, 2016); and 6) They provide access to contexts supporting peer-based learning (Rama et al., 2012).
This research explores the advantages offered by MMORPGs in learning a second language. Data collection was separated into two phases: 1) interviews were conducted with English learners to investigate how they self-regulate their language learning whilst playing MMORPGs; and 2) observations and stimulated recalls were conducted to investigate how MMORPGs foster second language development. Findings highlighted the authentic social interactions conducted by participants while playing, how MMORPGs scaffold second language development, participants’ perceived second language outcome from playing, their attitudes toward second language learning from MMORPGs, and how they self-regulate their second language learning whilst playing.
When playing MMORPGs, data shows that players are playing for entertainment and are not always aware of the process of second language gain taking place. Thus, they learn to game. In other words, they are only learning the language to progress in the game. Whilst other players, although few, have a conscious aim of learning another language; thus, they game to learn. Evidently, no incentives were required to keep players engaged in the MMORPGs since they played them for enjoyment. Therefore, this thesis argues that MMORPGs are useful environments for second language learning.

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Published date: March 2022

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 471918
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/471918
PURE UUID: 714c2da2-7bf9-461f-8aa2-9f5025a20f7c
ORCID for Ziyad Alsaleh: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-7828-5809
ORCID for Ying Zheng: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2574-0358

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 22 Nov 2022 17:44
Last modified: 23 Nov 2022 02:47

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Contributors

Author: Ziyad Alsaleh ORCID iD
Thesis advisor: Vicky Wright
Thesis advisor: Ying Zheng ORCID iD

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