Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

A Mobile Game-Based English Vocabulary Practice System Based on Portfolio Analysis

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

A Mobile Game-Based English Vocabulary Practice System Based on Portfolio Analysis

Article excerpt

Introduction

In the era of globalization, English has become the common language of international communication (Spolsky & Shohamy, 1999). The importance of English is evident in international trade as well as leisure and entertainment. English learning has become a vital educational strategy and policy in numerous non-English-speaking countries. Vocabulary is particularly critical for language learners, and developing a sufficient vocabulary is necessary for achieving effective communication (Nation, 2001). Nation (2006) reported that in listening or speaking, a vocabulary of 6000-7000 words is necessary to achieve more than 98% comprehension. In addition, Laufer (2001) indicated that knowledge of vocabulary is highly correlated with writing and reading ability as well as academic performance. Jordan (2007) also suggested that difficulties in writing are mostly due to insufficient knowledge of vocabulary. Therefore, lack of sufficient knowledge of vocabulary hinders appropriate expression in writing. Oberg (2011) proposed that sufficient vocabulary is critical for academic achievement and learning effectiveness.

Learners of English as a second language (ESL) or English as a foreign language (EFL) generally consider language learning to be difficult and stressful (Turgut & irgin, 2009). Moreover, learners typically consider that memorizing English vocabulary is a boring learning activity (Chen & Chung, 2008). This perception affects the learning interest and achievement of learners, which consequently diminishes their confidence in learning English. Therefore, instructional methods and strategies should be adjusted to increase the motivation and interest of learners to learn English (Chang, Liang, Yan, & Tseng, 2013; Jong, Lai, Hsia, Lin, & Lu, 2013).

Learning activities derived from instructional strategies influence the selection, acquisition, and construction of information for learners, which in turn affect the behaviors and thoughts expressed in their learning portfolios (Weinstein & Mayer, 1986). To achieve English vocabulary objectives, increase learning motivation and interest, and facilitate active learning and flow experience, digital game-based learning approaches can be used in an EFL learning environment (Ryu & Parsons, 2012).

The multimedia features of digital game-based learning are composed of text, voice, and images. Digital gamebased learning can effectively enhance the attention, interest, creativity, and community relationships of students. Moreover, designing a series of rules and objectives in a digital game-based learning environment can enable achieving mental and physical satisfaction and insight; such satisfaction and insight can thus facilitate the realization of learning objectives (Burguillo, 2010). Games are typically characterized by curiosity, expectation, control, and interactive features, which can increase learners' learning interest and intrinsic motivation (Konradt & Sulz, 2001; Lim, Nonis, & Hedberg, 2006). Learners are willing to overcome difficult challenges to gain a sense of achievement. Compared with conventional courses, digital game-based learning enables students to improve their memory of course content and engage in more critical thinking (Ke, 2008; Ke, 2014; Papastergiou, 2008). Digital game-based learning, which combines entertainment and education activities, has been researched in various academic fields (Liu, 2014; Liu, Cheng & Huang, 2011; Miller, Robertson, Hudson, & Shimi, 2012; Shih, Shih, Shih, Su, & Chuang, 2010; Vos, Van der Meijden, Denessen, 2011). Digital game-based learning not only reduces the English learning anxiety experienced by ESL students, but also facilitates such students in cultivating interests toward learning; this thus increases the students' motivation to learn English. For example, Uzun, Cetinavci, Korkmaz, and Salihoglu (2013) constructed a game to help EFL university students who were enrolled in basic English courses to practice English vocabulary. …

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