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MMORPG with Strategic Language Learning Activities for ESL Skills

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This is the presentation of my dissertation results. It was presented at the Society of Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE) conference in Austin, Texas in 2017.

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MMORPG with Strategic Language Learning Activities for ESL Skills

  1. 1. A MASSIVELY, MULTIPLAYER, ONLINE, ROLE- PLAYING GAME (MMORPG) WITH LANGUAGE LEARNING STRATEGIC ACTIVITIES TO IMPROVE ENGLISH GRAMMAR, LISTENING, READING & VOCABULARY SANDRA A. ROGERS MIXED-METHOD-COLLECTIVE-CASE- STUDY UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH ALABAMA
  2. 2. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Dissertation Committee: •Burke Johnson, Ph.D., Chairperson, University of South Alabama (USA) •Jim Van Haneghan, Ph.D., USA •Susan Martin, Ph.D., USA •Rick Van Eck, Ph.D., University of North Dakota
  3. 3. STATEMENT OF PROBLEM • Adult English language learners (ELLs) need to improve their English in the US but face various constraints to obtaining language instruction. • The 1-year, formal, collegiate, English language programs are often inadequate.
  4. 4. PURPOSE OF STUDY My goal was to provide extramural learning opportunities for ELLs to bypass the various constraints and/or supplement formal ESL instruction to develop their communicative competence in an effective, efficient, and entertaining way.
  5. 5. EXTENSION OF PREVIOUS STUDY • Rankin, Gold, & Gooch (2006) found ELLs improved their English vocabulary by 40% from playing EverQuest® II for 4-hours a week for a month without instructional supports. • I extended their study by examining these additional variables in addition to vocabulary: ESL skills (grammar, listening, & reading), attitude toward gaming for SLA, and prior game experience.
  6. 6. OVERVIEW OF STUDY This was a mixed-methods-collective-case-study with a nonequivalent comparison group design. •15 participants attended 25-hours of ESL instruction weekly. •Treatment group played EverQuest® II (2016) with SLA optimizing strategies after school; control group did not. •Strategies included voice & text chat, forming alliances, & creating a virtual identity.
  7. 7. VARIABLES Independent Variable Exploratory IVs Dependent Variables (DVs) Learning Condition (treatment vs. control) Prior Gaming Experience (0 to 2 years = low, 3 to 5 = medium & 6+ = high) ESL Skills DV1 (grammar, listening, reading & vocabulary) New Vocabulary Acquisition DV2 (based on frequently occurring words in game chat logs) Attitude Toward Gaming for SLA DV3 (1 = strongly disagree and 5 = strongly agree)
  8. 8. INSTRUMENTATION Assessments Construct Measured Time Frame ESL Skills DV1 Instrument: Cambridge Michigan Language Assessment (CaMLA) Grammar, Listening, Reading & Vocabulary (combination score) Pretest-Posttest New Vocabulary Acquisition DV2 Instrument: Gameplay Vocabulary Test New Vocabulary acquired from gameplay based on frequently occurring words from chat logs Pretest-Posttest Primary Questionnaire Attitude toward Gaming for SLA DV3 Pretest
  9. 9. RESEARCH QUESTION 1 Do college ELLs increase their English skills more after playing a MMORPG with SLA optimizing gameplay for 4-hours a week for a month than control group participants in the same ESL class who receive lecture-only? • Hypothesis: The treatment group will have higher mean gain scores on the CaMLA than the control group. • Rationale: Text-heavy MMORPG+SLA strategies provide an effective afterschool intervention with its narrative structure embedded in quests for situated learning of English. • Theory: This is based on the constructivist learning paradigm, Lave and Wenger’s (1991) situated learning theory, active learning, & Hymes (1972) communicative approach to language teaching.
  10. 10. RESEARCH QUESTION 2 Is prior gaming experience related to participants’ attitude toward gaming as a SLA tool? • Hypothesis: There will be a positive correlation between self-reporting of gaming experience and attitude toward gaming for SLA from the questionnaire. • Rationale: Participants who have already benefitted linguistically from playing a video game or know someone who has will have a positive attitude toward gaming for SLA. • Theory: This is based on my previous case study (Rogers & Johnson, 2016) and Fishbein and Ajzen’s (1975) theory of reasoned action, a positive attitude toward an uncommon behavior leads to its voluntary use.
  11. 11. RESEARCH QUESTION 3 Is prior gaming experience related to English skill performance? • Hypothesis: There will be a positive correlation between gaming experience and ESL skill performance. • Rationale: Highly experienced gamers will be able to focus more on reading and completing the quest at hand than those with less experience, who may become confused or focused on game mechanics instead of gameplay. • Theory: This is based on Sweller’s (Sweller, Van Merriënboer, & Paas, 1998) cognitive load theory and Krashen’s (1982) hypotheses on affective filter and comprehensible input.
  12. 12. RESULTS RQ1: Do ELLs increase their ESL skills more after playing a MMORPG with SLA optimizing gameplay for 4-hours a week for a month than control group participants in the same ESL class who receive lecture-only? • Analysis: I calculated the ESL Skills DV1 from the posttest minus pretest mean gain scores for each learning condition on the CaMLA. • Findings: The control group outperformed (M =3.38, SD = 4.0, n = 9) the treatment group (M =1.67, SD = 6.9, n = 6) by 1.7 mean gain score units. The treatment group didn’t use all prescribed strategies; however, they learned 15 new words. The small size study, nonrandom assignment, likely measurement error, and lack of strategy use limit the validity of this finding.
  13. 13. RESULTS RQ2: Is prior gaming experience related to participants’ attitude toward gaming for SLA? Analysis: I correlated their attitude toward gaming for SLA with level of prior gaming experience. Results: The correlation was not statistically significant ( r = .279, p = .38, n = 12). Participants had the following amount of prior gaming experience: high (8%), medium (50%), low (17%), and none (25%). Seventy-five percent had a positive attitude toward gaming for SLA while 25% were neutral. The small size study limits the validity of this finding.
  14. 14. EMERGENT THEMES ON GAMING FOR SLA Gaming & Languag e Learning Positive Attitude toward Gaming for SLA Learn ESL listening, speaking, & reading skills No Time for Video Games Afterschool Homework or program activities Errands Prefer to play at home at night with friends Concerns with SLA Strategies Some dislike of headset use Text chatting would distract from game Lack of information on guilds
  15. 15. RESULTS RQ3: Is prior gaming experience related to ESL skill performance? Analysis: I correlated the CaMLA mean gain scores with the level of prior gaming experience. Results: The correlation was not statistically significant (r = .238, p = .48, n = 12). Participants’ prior gaming experience mainly consisted of battle games (e.g., COD) or sports (e.g., FIFA), which are text-light video games. The small size study and likely measurement error limit the validity of this finding.
  16. 16. CONCLUSIONS SUGGESTIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH: 1. EXAMINE UNANSWERED OR WEAK ASPECTS OF MY STUDY WITH A LARGER SAMPLE SIZE & RANDOM ASSIGNMENT, 2. EXAMINE EFFICACY OF SLA STRATEGY USE FOR GAMEPLAY, 3. EXAMINE IF MMORPG ADDRESSES THE SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL NEEDS OF ELLS, & 4. INVESTIGATE DIGITAL GAME RESEARCH OUTSIDE THE CONTEXT OF A LAB.
  17. 17. QUESTIONS? SANDRA A. ROGERS DOCTORAL CANDIDATE INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN SAR1102@JAGMAIL.SOUTHALABAMA.EDU TWITTER @TEACHERROGERS
  18. 18. REFERENCES • CUMMINS, J. (2008). BICS AND CALP: EMPIRICAL AND THEORETICAL STATUS OF DISTINCTION. IN B. STREET & N. H. HORNBERGER (EDS.), ENCYCLOPEDIA OF LANGUAGE AND EDUCATION, VOLUME 2: LITERACY (2ND ED., PP. 71-83). NEW YORK, NY: SPRINGER SCIENCE + BUSINESS MEDIA LLC. • EVERQUEST II [VIDEOGAME SOFTWARE]. (2016). RETRIEVED FROM HTTPS://WWW.EVERQUEST2.COM/HOME • FISHBEIN, M., & AJZEN, I. (1975). BELIEF, ATTITUDE, INTENTION, AND BEHAVIOR: AN INTRODUCTION TO THEORY AND RESEARCH. READING, MA: ADDISON-WESLEY. • HYMES, D. (1972). MODELS ON THE INTERACTION OF LANGUAGE AND SOCIAL LIFE. IN J. J. GUMPERZ & D. HYMES (EDS.) DIRECTIONS IN SOCIOLINGUISTICS: THE ETHNOGRAPHY OF COMMUNICATION (PP. 35-71). NEW YORK, NY: HOLT, RINEHART, AND WINSTON. • KRASHEN, S. (1982). PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICES IN SECOND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION. OXFORD, ENGLAND: PERGAMON PRESS. • LAVE, J., & WENGER, E. (1991). SITUATED LEARNING: LEGITIMATE PERIPHERAL
  19. 19. REFERENCES • ORGANISATION FOR ECONOMIC CO-OPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT. (2000). LITERACY IN THE INFORMATION AGE: FINAL REPORT OF THE INTERNATIONAL ADULT LITERACY SURVEY. PARIS, FRANCE: OECD. • RANKIN, Y., GOLD, R., & GOOCH, B. (2006). 3D ROLE-PLAYING GAMES AS LANGUAGE LEARNING TOOLS. EUROGRAPHICS, 25(3), 211-225. RETRIEVED FROM HTTPS://PDFS.SEMANTICSCHOLAR.ORG/273D/1B6216069F85091DA1B69F9CE4D02 B65C0C8.PDF • ROGERS, S., & JOHNSON, B. (2016). SAUDI ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS’ DIGITAL GAMEPLAY: A CASE STUDY. PROCEEDINGS OF SOCIETY FOR INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY & TEACHER EDUCATION INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE, 579-584. CHESAPEAKE, VA: AACE. • SWELLER, J., VAN MERRIËNBOER, J., & PAAS, F. (1998). COGNITIVE ARCHITECTURE AND INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN. EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY REVIEW 10(3), 251– 296. DOI:10.1023/A:1022193728205 • TUIJNMAN, A. (2000). BENCHMARKING ADULT LITERACY IN AMERICA: AN INTERNATIONAL COMPARATIVE STUDY. INTERNATIONAL ADULT LITERACY SURVEY. WASHINGTON, DC: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, OFFICE OF VOCATIONAL AND ADULT EDUCATION, DIVISION OF ADULT EDUCATION AND LITERACY.

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