Language Learner Interaction in a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game
Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) have been identified in the literature on computer-assisted language learning (CALL) as tools with the potential to facilitate learning, as it is claimed that they provide opportunities to engage in types of interaction hypothesized as beneficial in second language acquisition (SLA) research. This chapter first provides an examination of the key features of these games. The discussion then focuses on an overview of current research. This is followed by an analysis of findings from an experimental qualitative study that investigates the real-time MMORPG-based interaction of Japanese intermediate-level EFL learners based at a university in Japan. The data show that the orientation enabled the learners to effectively utilize the communication tools provided. Analysis indicates that during participation in the game the learners assumed an active role in managing their interaction. Moreover, it was found that the learners utilized discourse management strategies that facilitated the consistent production of coherent target language output. The findings demonstrate that the participants engaged in social interaction involving collaborative dialog that was conducted exclusively in the target language. Learner feedback suggests that interaction in the MMORPG, though challenging, proved to be engaging, motivating, and enjoyable.
KeywordsTarget Language Learner Response Learner Attitude Small Talk Learner Feedback
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