A scoping review of digital game-based technology on English language learning

Abstract

Learning with games has been increasing in practice, but studies of the features and learning outcomes involving digital games to develop language learning are scarce. This scoping review investigates the current practices of digital game-based language learning to support English language learning, in terms of participants’ characteristics, methodological features, gaming characteristics, and an association between game availability and gaming characteristics. Our results indicate: (1) vocabulary is the most dominant practiced language skills; (2) methods employed were primarily quantitative with researcher-designed tests; (3) commercial games contain the most elements of a good game; (4) use of good gaming elements is inconsistent among digital games. We provide strategies for educational researchers to improve their rigor in research, along with explicit criteria that digital game designers can apply toward language-learning game development. As educational technology continues to transform language learning, we emphasize the need for continued research and development that investigates how gaming elements in mobile learning environments may improve language-learning outcomes.

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Appendix 1

Appendix 1

ERIC (EBSCO) search string

(DE “Games” OR DE “Computer Games” OR DE “Educational Games” OR DE “Video Games”) OR TI (game* OR gamification OR gamify OR game-based OR gameful) OR AB (game* OR gamification OR gamify OR game-based OR gameful)

AND

(DE “Technology Uses in Education” OR DE “Computer Uses in Education” OR DE “Electronic Learning” OR DE “Educational Technology” OR DE “Intelligent Tutoring Systems” OR DE “Computer Assisted Instruction”) OR TI (technology or tech or digital or multimedia or computer* or video or web-based or online or “intelligent tutor* system*” or virtual) OR AB (technology or tech or digital or multimedia or computer* or video or web-based or online or “intelligent tutor* system*” or virtual)

AND

(DE “Second Language Instruction” OR DE “Bilingual Education” OR DE “English (Second Language)” OR DE “Second Language Learning” OR DE “English Language Learners”) OR TI (english language learner* or ell* or english as a foreign language or efl* or english as a second language or esl or second language learning or second language acquisition or L1 or L2 or learn* N2 English) OR AB (english language learner* or ell* or english as a foreign language or efl* or english as a second language or esl or second language learning or second language acquisition or L1 or L2 or learn* N2 English)

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Xu, Z., Chen, Z., Eutsler, L. et al. A scoping review of digital game-based technology on English language learning. Education Tech Research Dev 68, 877–904 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-019-09702-2

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Keywords

  • Digital games
  • Gaming elements
  • Language learning
  • Scoping review