中 華 大 學 碩 士 論 文
A Study of the Selection Criteria on Evaluating Game-Based Vocabulary
The Case for Junior High School Students
系 所 別：資訊管理學系碩士班 學號姓名：M09910019 陳文鳳 指導教授：羅家駿博士
中 華 民 國 一百 年 六 月
摘要 摘要 摘要 摘要
由於全球化時代來臨，英文已成為國際性的強勢語言，許多國家將英語作為外國 語或第二語言，而字彙一直被認為在語言學習中佔有很重要的部分，但是對很多英語 學習者而言，字彙學習被視為一件無聊的工作。隨著新科技的快速進步，多媒體、網 際網路和各種形式的遠距學習已被廣泛的應用於教育領域。至於數位學習方面，電腦 遊戲尤其是具有很多的特質來吸引學習者的注意以及可以幫助學習者有效地學習資 訊、技巧、態度及思考方式。再者，越來越多的軟體產品和遊戲式學習系統出現而強 化學習的過程，但並非所有的遊戲都適合字彙學習，如何選出適合學生玩的遊戲的確 是老師們要考慮的重要議題。
本研究的主要目的是為了提供老師們在使用數位字彙遊戲作為教學時的評估準 則。本研究首先從之前的相關文獻中蒐集評估數位遊戲式字彙學習的準則，根據先前 研究的分析，我們先選出 66 個評估準則並分成四個層面（教學、遊戲、社會及技術）
和 14 個範疇。之後透過 19 位英文老師的問卷從 66 個評估準則中選出 19 個準則，然 後再根據學生的意見，將這 19 個準則排序並利用 ROC(Rank Order Centroid，排序中 心)權重法計算出各個準則的權重分數，最後藉著提供五種數位英語字彙遊戲給學生 試玩，來驗證本研究所選出的評估準則，研究結果顯示在選擇數位英語字彙遊戲，老 師會比較著重技術層面，如介面功能簡單易操作，相反地，學生多重視可以引發學習 動機和有趣的遊戲特質，最後提出本研究的限制及對未來研究之建議。
關鍵字 關鍵字 關鍵字
Learning English as a foreign/second language (EFL/ESL) is highly underscored by many countries. And vocabulary plays a significant part in language learning. But for many English learners, learning vocabulary is viewed as a burden. With the rapid improvement of technology, the digital learning, particularly computer games, carries numerous potential to draw learners’ attention and help them learn information, skills, attitudes, and ways of thinking effectively. In addition, more and more software products and game-based learning systems come out to claim to foster the learning process. However, not all the games are suitable for vocabulary learning. How to choose an appropriate game for students to play is indeed a crucial issue for teachers to consider.
The main purpose of this study is to provide the selection criteria mainly for teachers when they use computer vocabulary games as a means of teaching. In this study, we firstly collected the possible criteria on evaluating game-based vocabulary learning from the previous research. Drawn upon the analysis of the earlier studies, sixty-six criteria are chosen and divided into four dimensions (teaching, game, society, and technology) and fourteen categories. Next, the nineteen criteria are selected from the sixty-six ones through the questionnaires conducted by nineteen English teachers.
Then the selected nineteen criteria are ranked and given the weight calculated by ROC (Rank Order Centroid) according to the students’ preferences. At last, the experimental evaluation was made by providing five online vocabulary games for students to play.
The result of this study showed that in terms of game-based learning, teachers focus more on technological dimension such as simple interface and user-friendly design. On the contrary, students put more emphasis on what games can motivate and engage them effectively. Finally, the limitation of the study and suggestions for future research were
Keywords: Vocabulary Learning, Game-Based Learning, Selection Criteria
I am honored to have this opportunity to express all of my sincere appreciation to the
people who have inspired me, encouraged me, and supported me in many different ways during my whole thesis writing. Without them, it is impossible for me to finish this thesis and become what I am today.
First of all, my magnificent and deepest gratitude definitely goes to my advisor, Dr.
Jia-Jiunn Lo, whose patience, guidance, and valuable advice led me throughout the whole study. His professional instruction and patient guidance made the completion of my thesis possible.
My great thankfulness also goes to the committee members, Dr. Te-Hsin Hsieh and Chi-Chung Lee. Their insightful and constructive suggestions enlightened me on a fashion of academic thinking and made this thesis more refined and meaningful.
I am also grateful for the encouragement and support from my graduate classmates, Wen Chung, Mei Ling, Ching-Ru, Tzong Hsiang, and Hui Hsuan. With their generous help and company, I would not feel alone during the writing process of this thesis.
Finally, I would like to thank my beloved family, especially my husband. It is their unselfish and eternal love that makes me strong enough to overcome the difficulties and anxieties of my thesis writing. The thesis would be dedicated to all the people who have helped me, supported me, accompanied me, and guided me during the past time.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents---v
List of Tables---vii
List of Figures---viii
Chapter One Introduction 1.1Background and Motivation---3
1.2Purpose of the study---5
1.4Significance of the study---6
Chapter Two Literature Review2.1 Vocabulary learning---8
2.2 Vocabulary learning strategies---11
2.3 Vocabulary learning instruction---19
2.4 Computer uses in vocabulary learning---21
2.4.1 Game-Based Learning---22
2.4.2 Game Classification---25
2.5 Criteria on Evaluating Game-Based Vocabulary Learning---29
Chapter Three Methodology3.1 Research Design and procedure---35
3.2 The Possible Criteria exploring (Stage One)---38
3.3 The Top Criteria selecting (Stage Two)---41
3.4 Ranking the Selected Criteria and Calculating the Weight of Each Criterion
3.5 The Verification of the Selected Criteria (Stage Four)---42
3.6 The Selection of the five vocabulary games---42
Chapter Four Results and Discussion4.1 The Selection Criteria on Evaluating Game-Based Vocabulary Learning----44
4.2 Ranking of the Selected Nineteen Criteria---54
4.3 Comparison of the Two Ranking Results on the Evaluative Criteria---62
Chapter Five Conclusions and Suggestions5.1 Summary of the Conclusions---66
5.2 Limitation of the Study---68
5.3 Suggestions for Future Research ---68
List of Tables
Table 2.1 A Taxonomy of Schmitt’s Vocabulary Learning Strategies---13
Table 2.2 A Taxonomy of Lin’s Vocabulary Learning Strategies---15
Table 2.3 Comparison of English Vocabulary Games---27
Table 2.4 Criteria on Evaluating Game-Based Learning System---31
Table 3.1 Criteria for Game-Based Vocabulary Learning---38
Table 3.2 The Five English Vocabulary Games---43
Table 4.1 Frequencies on the Use of the Digital Learning in Teaching Environment---45
Table 4.2 Means and Standard Deviations of the Sixty-Six Criteria---46
Table 4.3 Comparison of the two rankings---49
Table 4.4 The Top One/Two Criteria for Each Category---53
Table 4.5 The Selected Nineteen Criteria---54
Table 4.6 Frequencies and Percentage on the Use of the Digital Learning as a Facilitator---55
Table 4.7 Ranking of the Criteria, along with Means and Standard Deviations---56
Table 4.8 Comparison of the two rankings---57
Table 4.9 Weights of the Criteria---59
Table 4.10 Comparison of the Two Rankings on the Evaluative Criteria---60
Table 4.11 The Result of the Two rankings and the Differences between the Two---63
Table 4.12 Frequencies of the Difference---65
List of Figures
Figure 3.1 The Flow Chart of the Research Procedure---37
Chapter One Introduction
With the coming of the globalization, how to promote English communicative competence has been a critical issue in non English-speaking countries. There is also no exception in Taiwan. English has been highly underscored not merely by the government but by the people here. Although learning English has become a part of Taiwanese people’ lives, many of them still think that it is difficult to learn it effectively and successfully.
Vocabulary and lexical units are at the core of learning and communication.
Within the past twenty years, the vocabulary learning has been gradually recognized as a significant part in language learning. According to numerous related research, reading comprehension ability is greatly influenced by the amount of vocabulary knowledge. However, for many learners studying English as a foreign language, vocabulary learning is viewed as a boring task that they have to memorize unfamiliar words and spelling (Nguyen & Khuat, 2003). Recently computer-assisted language learning (CALL) systems has applied multimedia to make learners engaged in the learning process. Game-playing is another popular solution to motivate learners in language learning (Fisher & Schultz, 1988)
Rieber (1996) claimed that play, especially in the early childhood, performs a vital role in social, psychological and intellectual development. It is a voluntary activity that makes people intrinsically motivated. Cheska & Blanchard (1985) noted that play is not the opposite of work as is leisure, and on the contrary, it seems to be a widely accepted mode of learning.
With the dramatic improvement of new technology, personal computers, videogames, digital cams, cell phones, and all the other digital devices have been
integral parts of modern people’ lives. The advent of personal computers along with superior graphic systems has caused an explosion in game software. Millions of industry produces various kinds of games ranging from simulations to first-person adventures. Many players are immersed into the virtual worlds full of stunning graphics, story-lines, sound and video. Games apparently may motivate users intrinsically by stimulating curiosity (Thomas & Macredie, 1994), challenges and fantasy (Malone 1980, 1981a, b), novelty and complexity (Carroll, 1982; Malone, 1984; Lepper & Malone, 1987; Rivers, 1990).
Learning that is fun appears to be more effective for learning (Cordova &
Lepper, 1992). Moreover, Quinn (1994, 1997) suggested that for games to benefit educational practice and learning, they have to combine fun elements with aspects of instructional and system design that involves motivational, learning and interactive components. Three elements (fantasy, curiosity, and challenge) contribute to the fun in games (Malone, 1981a,b) It is obvious that there is a close relationship between play and learning.
Computer games enhance learning through visualization, experimentation, and creativity of play (Betz, 1995). Rieber (1995) argued that visualization, a main cognitive strategy, plays a significant role in discovery and problem solving.
Human’s sense of vision represents the most diverse sources of information in the world (Blake, 1994). Therefore, visualization has tremendous value in computer games. It is now obvious that because of the ubiquitous environment, most of today’s students think and learn fundamentally differently from the traditional learners.
Hence, it is necessary for the teachers or educators to take using the new technology in the teaching environment into consideration.
1.1 Background and Motivation
In the last decades of the 21st century, as the computer technology dramatically advances, the application of the new technology has widely been used in the field of education. That is, more researchers have put their emphasis from computer technology itself to its various applications. More and more uses of multimedia, the Internet, and distance learning are widely spread. Using them as learning tools is increasingly popular, both from the perspective of a language instructor and that of a language learner.
Compared to the traditional teaching environment, learners, nowadays, may want more control of their learning process rather than do what the instructors have told them. According to Prensky (2001), with the arrival and dissemination of digital technology, the learning process has fundamentally changed. In his point of view, this learning process may stand for the beginning of a vast revolution. He argued that for the learners of digital age, all learning will become more learner-centered and fun. Students who spend much of their time playing rich, fun, engaging and interactive games will not accept or do learning that is boring and painful anymore.
They learn more effectively and successfully when they feel highly motivated and engaged.
Grown up with the new digital technology, today’s students from kindergarten to university have spent their entire lives surrounded by and using the technology.
According to Prensky (2001), the average college grads in the USA have spent less than 5,000 hours of their lives reading, but more than 10,000 hours playing video games and 20,000 hours watching television. There must be much more increasing number nowadays. In Taiwan, among the junior high school students in central Taiwan, almost 88% of the students have played computer games, and over 65% of
them use the computer one and more than one hours per week. It seems that junior high school students in Taiwan use the computers very often. Since computer games have the potential to motivate and improve the students’ learning, there is a need for teachers or educators to rethink the traditional ways of teaching. To take full advantages of new technology, we must fundamentally reconsider our approaches to learning and education and our ideas of how technology can support them.
As an EFL (English as A Foreign Language) teacher in Taiwan, the researcher of this study observed since English is an international language, it has been a required subject taught in junior and senior high school for six years. In 1998, the Ministry of Education announced to include EFL in the national elementary education curriculum.
Since September 2001, English has been widely taught for Grade 5 and Grade 6 in elementary schools. Later, English was a required subject for Grade 3. Moreover, after Taiwan joined World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2002, English has definitely become more important. Accordingly, how to improve Taiwan people’s English ability has become a crucial issue not only for the government but for the people in Taiwan.
As for English learning, the acquisition of vocabulary plays a very important role.
Language comprehension is closely relevant to vocabulary development abilities (Carol, 2001). Enlarging vocabulary size is the basis of language learning.
However, the researcher found that many students feel bored in vocabulary lessons.
They spend most of their time sitting at the desk, taking notes, and listening passively to the teachers. Those who are low-achievers may even more easily give up their learning. To resolve the problems, many teachers may come up with some vocabulary teaching strategies to help those who have problems in vocabulary learning.
Recently a number of software programs and game-based learning systems on
the market made a claim to foster the learning development. These products, differently from the ways performed in traditional classrooms, may provide some useful help to learners. Nevertheless, not all the games are suitable for vocabulary learning. How to choose an appropriate vocabulary game for learning is much more important for teachers to consider. Only if the learners’ need is really emphasized, they will feel more engaged and motivated in the learning process and may have more opportunities to succeed in their own learning. Therefore, this study mainly focused on evaluative criteria of vocabulary learning games designed for elementary learners- junior high school students in Taiwan and hoped to help them with English vocabulary learning. Firstly, the researcher will explore the possible criteria on evaluating game-based vocabulary learning from the previous related literature and research. Next, the criteria were selected by the teachers to make the evaluation sheets for students to fill in. Then the students were asked to rank the selected criteria according to their points of view. In the meantime, the weight of each criterion was calculated by using ROC (Rank Order Centroid). Finally, to verify the selection criteria developed by this study, the researcher provided five vocabulary games for the students to play and then compared the difference of the two ranking results between the two stages (after each game and after all the games). These findings can give teachers some suggestions about the selection criteria when they want to use game-based learning in the teaching environment.
1.2 Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of the study is to investigate the selection criteria on evaluating the game-based vocabulary learning. First, the researcher collected the
possible criteria on game-based vocabulary learning from the previous related research and literature. Through the questionnaires, the teachers selected the most important criteria among all the criteria when they want to use computer-based vocabulary learning games as a mean of teaching. Then the students were required to rank the selected criteria chosen by teachers. Meanwhile, the weight of each criterion was calculated. In terms of the learner-centered teaching approach, the need and preferences of the students were greatly emphasized. Some of the vocabulary games were also provided for the students to play in order to verify the selection criteria. The results of the study are expected to offer some suggestions for teachers, educators, and game designers to understand what criteria on computer-based vocabulary games students need and consider most when they play a vocabulary learning game.
1.3 Research Questions
The research questions ( RQs) are stated as follows:
1.3.1 Can we find the possible criteria on evaluating game-based vocabulary learning and select the top ones toward the teachers’ perspective?
1.3.2 Can we rank the selected criteria according to the students’ preferences?
1.3.3 Can we calculate the weight of each criterion by using ROC (Rank Order Centroid)?
1.3.4 Can we compare and analyze the results on the selection criteria between the two stages (after each game and after the five games)?
1.4 Significance of the Study
So far, there have been numerous software products and game-based learning systems for vocabulary learning. However, few studies proposed the criteria on evaluating game-based vocabulary learning. Hence, the study intends to provide the possible criteria on evaluating game-based vocabulary learning from the two different points of view: One is from the perspective of the teachers and the other, more important one, is from the perspective of the learners. Therefore, the significance of the study is expected both theoretically and practically:
1. The finding of the study is useful in collecting the criteria on evaluating game-based vocabulary learning for the future research in the field of the e-learning education.
2. The finding of the study provides the ranking of the selected criteria from the perspectives of the teachers and the students along with the weight of each criterion.
Chapter Two Literature Review
Language learning is hard work. For ordinary language learners, the
acquisition of vocabulary has been considered to be an important part of learning a language. However, vocabulary learning is a big problem for most of the learners.
They often devote a great deal of time to memorizing lists of L2 (second language) words and rely on the bilingual dictionaries as basic communicative tools. The outcome of vocabulary learning is often limited and even frustrating.
In this chapter, the field of vocabulary learning is introduced first, followed by vocabulary learning strategies and instruction. Then computer uses in vocabulary learning, including game-based learning, game classification, and motivation are reviewed. Finally, the criteria on evaluating game-based vocabulary learning are collected.
2.1 Vocabulary learning
For most language learners, vocabulary has been the biggest problem during
their learning process. In fact, vocabulary is central to language, and words are of critical importance to the typical language learner (Zimmerman, 1997). Words are the basic building blocks of language, the units of meaning from which larger structures such as sentences, paragraphs and the whole contexts are formed.
Nevertheless, the teaching and learning of vocabulary have gained little emphasis in the field of second language acquisition (SLA) through its varying stages and up to the present day. SLA researchers and teachers have typically prioritized syntax and phonology as” more serious candidates for theorizing” (Richard,1976) After a long
period of being preoccupied with the development of grammatical competence, language teachers and applied linguistic researchers gradually recognize the importance of vocabulary learning and are exploring possible ways of learning it effectively. Hunt & Beglar (2005) proposed that effective second language vocabulary acquisition is distinctly imperative for those learning English as a second language.
Since language threshold is crucial for comprehension, an important question is what the nature of this threshold is. Laufer (1986) noted that no text comprehension is possible without understanding the text’s vocabulary. That is not to say that reading and vocabulary comprehension are the same, or reading comprehension is mainly determined by vocabulary alone. Reading comprehension is also influenced by many variables such as textually relevant background knowledge and the application of reading strategies, like predicting the content of the text, guessing unfamiliar words in contexts, and getting the main idea of the paragraph. It has been proved that reading comprehension is strongly related to vocabulary knowledge, more strongly than to the components of reading. An increase in vocabulary knowledge can typically lead to the improvement of reading comprehension (Perfetti, Beck, &
Mckeown, 1982; Carnine, Kameenui, & Freschi, 1982; Stahl, 1983). In the studies on taking vocabulary as a good predictor of reading success in the second language learning, Laufer (1991) found great and influential correlations between two different vocabulary tests (the Vocabulary Levels Test by Nation, 1983 and the Eurocentres Vocabulary Test by Jones & Meara, 1989) and reading scores of L2 learners. Koda (1989) even reported higher correlations between vocabulary (tested by a self-made test) and two reading measures, cloze and paragraph comprehension. Coady, Magoto, Garney, Mokhtari, & Hubbard (1993) conducted two experiments that showed increased proficiency in high-frequency vocabulary similarly contributes to
an increase in reading proficiency. Some researchers have explored the vocabulary acquisition by context hypothesis. For example, Krashen (1989) claimed that language learners retrieve vocabulary knowledge and spelling by reading. He argued for the Input Hypothesis (IH), which applies to reading and oral language acquisition, and asserted that successful language learning comes from a comprehensible input as the essential external ingredient accompanied by a powerful internal language acquisition device. Language learning can be successfully done by extensive reading.
However, it should be reminded that only three or four of these studies are completely focused on L2 acquisition. In other words, the results of Krashen’s studies are possibly limited among the non-native speakers. Coady (1993) argued that proficient second language learners need extensive reading to acquire their vocabulary knowledge. Nevertheless, for the beginners, they will face a problem:
How can they learn words through extensive reading when they do not have enough word capacity to read it successfully? Baker & Haynes (1993) concluded that for L2 readers, the most magnificent handicap is not lack of various reading strategies but insufficient English vocabulary. If learners can not obtain a basic size of vocabulary, they will come to the difficulties in understanding a textual context or in communicating with others (Laufer, 1992; Shen 2003). From a pragmatic point of view, L2 beginners should put most of their attention on word learning. Laufer (1997) investigated the L2 vocabulary knowledge needed for minimal reading comprehension and came to the conclusion that “the turning point of vocabulary size for reading comprehension is about 3,000 word families. Because a word family consists of a base form plus its infected and derived forms (e.g., build, builds, built, building, etc.), this increases the total amount to about 5,000 lexical items. In Taiwan, according to the Ministry of education, students are required to learn and use
at least 2,000 English basic words before they graduate from junior high schools. To overcome the paradox of the beginners, the solutions were provided by several researchers (Coady, Magoto, Graney, Mokhtari, &Hubbard, 1993). L2 learners should be given explicit instruction, including direct memorization of some high-frequency lexical items and practice in the 3,000 common words in the language.
It means that medium- to high-frequency words need to be learned thoroughly through the repeated exposure so that the L2 learners can become automatic in their word recognition. Then they can be allowed to do the reading that they find enjoyable and learn successfully through reading.
2.2 Vocabulary learning strategies
One of the approaches that facilitate effective vocabulary learning is vocabulary learning strategies (VLS). Instead of searching for the perfect teaching methods, second language teaching has recently focused on how successful learners actually achieve their goals. That is, how the learners take the actions to affect their acquisition of language (Griffiths & Parr, 2001; Gu, 1994, 2005; Macaro, 2005;
Rubin,1981,1987; Schmitt, 1997, 2000). For those researchers, it has raised increasing interest in knowing how language learners learned a second language from the perspective of learners such as their learning characteristics and possible influences on the process of acquiring a second language (Wenden, 1987). Young (2005) proposed that teachers can provide influential support in learners’
understanding and interest in the language with instruction on vocabulary learning strategies. Many learners seem to use various strategies for learning vocabulary because of the relatively discrete nature of vocabulary learning compared to more integrated language activities. Using the vocabulary learning strategies makes
learners learn more effectively.
There are plenty of different VLS, and Schmitt’s (1997) taxonomy was one of the most comprehensive classifications of VLS. Those strategies were divided into two major classes: (1) strategies for the discovery of a new word’s meaning, and (2) strategies for consolidating a word once it has been encountered. The former class referred to Determination strategies (DET), and Social strategies (SOC). The latter one contained Social strategies (SOC), Memory strategies (MEM), Cognitive strategies (COG), and Metacognitive strategies (MET).
1. Strategies for the discovery of a new word’s meaning
(1) Determination strategies (DET): the strategies are used to analyze the forms of the words, check cognates, definitions or translations of the words, and guess the meanings of the words by referring to the context or the pictures.
(2) Social strategies (SOC): the strategies are exploited to ask someone for help and work in group activities.
2. Strategies for consolidating a word once it has been encountered (1) Social strategies (SOC): the strategies different from those used in
discovering new words refer to the interaction in groups or practice with native speakers to learn vocabulary.
(2) Memory strategies (MEM): the strategies are employed to relate or connect words to the previous learned knowledge by means of orthographical, phonological forms or strategies.
(3) Cognitive strategies (COG): the strategies focus on the manipulations of learning materials in direct ways such as repetition, using mechanical means, and other study aids to learn vocabulary.
(4) Metacognitive strategies (MET): the strategies are utilized when learners attempt to control and evaluate their own learning of vocabulary. They may
try to use different media to learn vocabulary, testing themselves, and choose vocabulary to learn.
The following is the Table 2.1 of Schmitt’s taxonomy of vocabulary strategies.
A Taxonomy of Schmitt’s Vocabulary Learning Strategies ( Schmitt, 1997, p.207-208) Strategies for discovering the meaning of a new word
DET Analyze part of speech DET Analyze affixes and roots
DET Check for L1 (first language) cognate DET Analyze any available pictures or gestures DET Guess from textual content
DET Bilingual dictionary DET Monolingual dictionary DET Bilingual dictionary DET Word lists
DET Flash cards
SOC Ask teacher for L1 translation
SOC Ask teacher for paraphrase or synonym of a new word SOC Ask teacher for a sentence including the new word SOC Ask classmates for meaning
SOC Discover new meaning through group work activity Strategies for consolidating a word once it has been encountered SOC Study and practice meaning in a group
SOC Teacher checks students’ flash cards word lists for accuracy SOC Interact with native speakers
MEM Study word with a pictorial representation of its meaning MEM Image word’s meaning
MEM Connect word to a personal experience MEM Associate the word with its coordinates
MEM Connect the word with its synonyms and antonyms MEM Use semantic maps
MEM Use “Scale” for gradable adjectives MEM Peg Method
MEM Loci Method
(Continued on next page)
A Taxonomy of Schmitt’s Vocabulary Learning Strategies (Continued ) MEM Group words together to study them
MEM Group words together spatially on a page MEM Use new word in sentences
MEM Group words together within a storyline.
MEM Study the spelling of a word MEM Study the sound of a word
MEM Say new word aloud when studying MEM Image word form
MEM Underline initial letter of the word MEM Configuration
MEM Use keyword method MEM Affixes and roots MEM Part of speech
MEM Paraphrase the word’s meaning MEM Use cognates in study
MEM Learn the words of idiom together
MEM Use physical action when learning a word MEM Use semantic feature grids
COG Verbal repetition COG Written repetition COG Word lists COG Flash cards
COG Take notes in class
COG Use the vocabulary section in your textbook COG Listen to tape of word lists
COG Put English labels on physical objects COG Keep a vocabulary notebook
MET Use English-language media (songs, movies, newscast, etc. ) MET Testing oneself with word tests
MET Use spaced word practice MET Skip or pass new word MET Continue to study over time
( Schmitt, 1997, p.207-208)
Besides Schmitt’s taxonomy, Lin (2001) conducted a study by investigating vocabulary learning strategies commonly used by seven elementary school students,
collected the data through classroom observations, learners’ daily records of vocabulary learning, oral interviews, and think-aloud protocols and finally proposed a taxonomy of vocabulary learning strategies. Seventy-three vocabulary learning strategies were identified and divided into three strategy categories: Metacognitive, Cognitive, and Social-affective. The seventy-three strategies are listed as follows.
A Taxonomy of Lin’s Vocabulary Learning Strategies (Lin, 2001,p.130) Metacognitive Strategies
Writing down the L1 meaning of English vocabulary
Writing down the KK phonetic symbols of English vocabulary Dividing the target words into segments according to their sounds Checking L2 pronunciation of the target words
Paying attention to one’s spelling errors in quiz sheets/assignments Memorizing vocabulary while receiving vocabulary instruction in class Memorizing vocabulary while doing all kinds of English assignments Memorizing vocabulary while doing English vocabulary assignments Paying attention to English words written on physical objectives Paying attention to silent letters in the target words
Paying attention to more difficult words in a phrase Selecting the shortest or simplest words to memorize first Meaningless written repetition
Skipping unknown words
Skipping learned words in a new phrase or familiar forms in a new word Ignoring unknown words
Ignoring the function words in a new phrase Looking at the picture
Confirming an inference Making sense
(Continued on next page)
A Taxonomy of Lin’s Vocabulary Learning Strategies (Continued ) Self-Management
Listening to textbook cassettes Extra reading
Using English learning media Self-testing
Cognitive Strategies Written Repetition
Entire lexical item-letter by letter
Difficult parts of a lexical item- letter by letter Verbal Repetition
Entire lexical item-letter by letter
Difficult parts of a lexical item- letter by letter Entire lexical item-by sounds
L1 meaning of the target vocabulary Segmentation
Putting more efforts to memorize the difficult parts
Making it easier for letter-by-letter verbal or written repetition Trying to identify familiar forms in the new target word
Relating L1 equivalent to the parts of the target word Memorizing the target word by its sound
Applying phonics intentional when the patterns of phonics works Applying phonics automatically
Applying false phonics patterns intentionally when the patterns of phonics do not work
Creating a pattern of phonics when the learned phonics patterns do not work Association
Picture association Sound association Resourcing
Referring to the word indexes
Referring to illustrated pictures in English textbooks Using a monolingual dictionary
Using an electronic dictionary
(Continued on next page)
A Taxonomy of Lin’s Vocabulary Learning Strategies (Continued ) Listening to English textbook cassettes
Inferencing Pictures Global context Local context World knowledge Morphology Punctuation Predicting Picture Title
World knowledge Elaborating
Logic of the text content World knowledge Text
Recalling Auditory recall Sound association Others
Reading English texts aloud
Reading the target vocabulary once Social-Affective Strategies
Asking for help
Asking teachers for L1 meaning/or L2 pronunciation
Asking family members for L1 meaning/or L2 pronunciation Asking classmates for L1 meaning/or L2 pronunciation Cooperation
Reading aloud lessons in English textbooks with family members Speaking to family members in simple English phrases or sentences Playing vocabulary games with classmates
Others- Testing ( Lin, 2001, p.130)
With so many strategies provided for vocabulary learning, learners are able to
apply the strategies that are suitable for them, and in the meantime, teachers can teach learners how to choose the best strategy that meets their needs according to the learners’ characteristics, learning styles, and the language competence.
For language learners, the commonly used VLS is probably memorization, repetition, and note-taking on vocabulary. Learners tend to use mechanical strategies more often than the complicated ones like imagery, inference, keyword method. Furthermore, the research has shown that some “deeper” strategies, such as forming associations (Cohen & Aphek, 1981) and using the keyword method (Hulstijn, 1997) enhance retention better than rote memorization. However, according to Chamot & O’Malley (1990), even rote repetition can be effective if students are accustomed to using it. If a generalization can be made, shallower activities (no deep mental process) may be more fitted for beginners because they consist of less material that may only distract a novice.
In contrast, intermediate or advanced learners can benefit a lot from the context typically embedded in deeper (more complicated mental process) activities (Cohen &
Aphek, 1981). Based on an explicit rationale for vocabulary teaching derived from a research base (Coady, 1993; Nation, 1990, 1993), there is an important emphasis on the explicit teaching of words at an early stage of acquisition, along with the later stages being more context-based. Moreover, Nation (1993) argued that the 2,000 most frequent words should be learned as soon as possible by the most effective ways, including direct teaching and learning and the use of graded readers. That is what Coady (1993) emphasizes that these words should be learned to the point of automaticity. The learning of these basic words can not be left to chance because they are prerequisites for language use. Therefore, for beginners, it may be more appropriate and effective to learn English in a direct and explicit way.
2.3 Vocabulary learning instruction
As far as vocabulary learning instruction is concerned, it is often suggested to
use the proper combination of explicit teaching and activities from which incidental learning in a well-organized vocabulary program is embedded. For the learning beginners, it is possibly effective for the instructors to teach all the words in an explicit way until they have enough vocabulary to start their learning by extensive reading. Therefore, explicit and incidental approaches are both necessary and complementary in language learning, each with its own strengths and drawbacks.
It has not been surprising that traditional vocabulary teaching mainly focused on activities for the explicit study of vocabulary. Numerous teaching sources could be found, such as Techniques in Teaching Vocabulary (Allen, 1983), Teaching and Learning Vocabulary (Nation, 1990), and Implementing the Lexical Approach (Lewis,
1997). Recently Computer-Aided Language Learning (CALL) has begun to address vocabulary learning. Because most of the computers now include multimedia capability, such as sound, video, pictures, and so forth, they are very suitable for language practice. Besides, computers are very patient about repetition and recycling. These traits fit very well with the requirements of vocabulary learning.
Sokmen (1997) noted a number of key principles regards to explicit vocabulary teaching:
1. Building a large sight vocabulary
2. Integrating new words with old (relate the new to the known) 3. Providing a number of encounters with a word
4. Promoting a deep level of processing 5. Facilitating imaging
6. Making new words “real” by connecting them to the student’s world in some way
7. Using a variety of techniques
8. Encouraging independent learning strategies
Compared with explicit approaches to vocabulary teaching and learning, the point to an incidental learning approach is to make sure that learners get as much exposure as they can. The teachers can have learners achieve the goal by letting them read more. The more learners engage in the reading, the more improvement they attain. Especially for the intermediate or advanced learners, they can benefit much more from the extensive reading context (Cohen & Aphek, 1981).
Recently, Bromley (2007) claimed that “Teaching vocabulary well is a key aspect of developing engaged and successful readers,” and gave a suggestion about nine things every teacher should know about words and vocabulary instructions:
1. English is a huge and unique collection of words.
2. The rules of English are simple and consistent compared to other languages.
3. Language proficiency grows from oral competence to written competence.
4. Words are learned because of associations that connect the new with the known.
5. Seventy percent of the most frequently used words have multiple meanings.
6. Meaning of 60 % of multisyllabic words can be inferred by analyzing word parts.
7. Direct instruction in vocabulary influences comprehension more than any factor.
8. Teaching fewer words well is more effective than teaching several words in a cursory way.
9. Effective teachers display an attitude of excitement and interest in words and language.
With the improvement of technology, the application of CALL (computer-assisted language learning) may provide a good alternative way to facilitate traditional vocabulary teaching.
2.4 Computer uses in vocabulary learning
In the eighties, technology was typically applied in language classrooms by using film, radio, television, language labs with audio/ video tapes, computers, and interactive video (Cunningham, 1998). Various kinds of computer-assisted language learning (CALL) began to become popular (Iandoli, 1990). As the technology rapidly advanced, more and more interactive uses of CALL and an increase in the integration of different kinds of media into the computer system have appeared (Pusack & Otto, 1990). The importance of technology concerning student-centered activities was greatly emphasized.
There was an obvious shift from computer technology itself to its applications.
Finding ways to enhance both teaching and learning by using computers has gained much attention in the recent research. In the present day, the use of multimedia, the Internet, and other forms of distance learning is widespread. The issues how computers can be properly used to support language learning have raised many researchers and educators’ interest. As far as teaching and learning languages more effectively are concerned, a great deal of literature explored the potential of computer technology. Dunkel (1990) claimed that the possibilities of computer technology as a tool could include the increase on language learners’ (1) self esteem, (2) vocational preparedness, (3) language proficiency, and (4) overall academic skills. Educators felt strongly interested in technology’s interactive capabilities, such as immediate feedback and learner autonomy providing, as well as the capability of simulating real world via audio, video, and graphics (Chun & Brandl, 1992 ; Hoffman, 1995/1996;
Jones, 1991; Legenhausen & Wolff, 1990). Liu (1994) used hypermedia technology with the linking and interactive capabilities as a tool to enhance vocabulary learning.
Kramsch & Andersen (1999) claimed that multimedia technology could supply
authentic cultural contexts which are significant for language learning.
In the early nineties, some critics still doubted the value of computer technology and whether to implement it into the language learning classroom or curriculum. Since the educators have found the effective use of technology can really foster learners’ learning, the focus does not lie on whether or not to accept computer technology. Rather, research must be concentrated on how to integrate it more successfully into the learning/teaching of languages. Computer games particularly gain much attention in the educational field because they carry a lot of potentials to motive learners and enforce the effectiveness of the learning process.
2.4.1 Game-Based Learning
Kramer (2000) identified a game as an activity that follows some rules, played by one or more individuals mainly for entertainment. Recently games, especially digital games such as video games and computer games, have become recognized as providing many learning contexts for players (Norman 2001; Norman 2001b; Prensky 2001). Games have been integrated into educational field. Educators are immensely interested in developing game-based learning materials because the potential of games can trigger the learners’ intrinsic motivation through the highly engaging challenges and feedbacks they provide (Conati, 2002). With the improvement of information technology, game-based learning has been provided as an alternative teaching and learning methodology. Despite the controversial views on educational games, researchers are beginning to study gaming as part of contemporary society and an increasing number of gaming programs have emerged.
Digital games, in particular, carry plenty of potential to draw learners to a subject and help them learn information, skills, attitudes, and ways of thinking effectively.
Due to the arrival and radical widespread of digital technology in the last decades of the 20th century, the students grown up with the new technology spend most of their lives surrounded by and using computers, video games, cell phones, and all the other equipment of the digital age. Computer games particularly play an essential part in students’ lives. Almost all children play video games, and gaming is common to not only young learners but adults. Computer games provide visual information to one or more players, accept input from the players(s), and use a set of programmed rules. According to Prensky (2001), twelve characteristics that make computer games engaging are as follows:
1. Games are a form of fun. That gives players enjoyment and pleasure.
2. Games are a form of play. That gives players intense and passionate involvement.
3. Games have rules. That gives players structure.
4. Games have goals. That gives players motivation.
5. Games are interactive. That gives players doing.
6. Games are adaptive. That gives players flow.
7. Games have outcomes and feedback. That gives players learning.
8. Games have win states. That gives players ego gratification.
9. Games have conflict/competition/challenge/opposition. That gives players adrenaline.
10. Games have problem solving. That sparks players’ creativity.
11. Games have interaction. That gives players social groups.
12. Games have representation and story. That gives players emotion.
Research indicates that games are attractive and could bear educational significance (Prensky, 2001). They could provide the enjoyment to attract the
players’ attention. It has been found that games do promote learning and reduce instructional time across multiple disciplines and ages. Computer games make learners take time and energy to collect materials in solving the problems and rising the level of their learning motivation (Kirriemuir & McFarlane, 2004).
Motivation plays a significant role in learning process because all learning requires much effort and people rarely do it without a motive (Prensky, 2001).
Gardner (1985) has pointed out that motivation is one of the major underlying factors in promoting language learning. The reason why computer games are so engaging is the primary objective of the designers is to keep the users engaged (Prensky, 2001).
They try hard to capture the users’ attention and bring players back day after day.
Putting it in the real scenario whether classroom, online, distance, or “e-“ , one of the biggest problems in all formal learning is keeping students motivated enough to stick with the learning process. Lepper & Malone (1987) identified motivation into four main factors: challenge, curiosity, control, and fantasy, which make multimedia learning environment motivating and engaging. Challenges in a game tend to fight students’ boredom and keep them engaged with the activity by adjusting levels of difficulty. Fantasy in a game increases enthusiasm by providing an appealing imaginary content, whereas curiosity offers interesting and surprising contexts that stimulate students’ needs to explore the unknown. And the control gives learners the feeling of self-determination. Compared with the traditional learning environment, digital learning is challenging, relaxing, and engaging. Therefore, computer games are viewed to arouse motivation through the potential of the game such as rule-based, goal-directed challenging play, and fun.
With computer games considered as learning technology, games provide the environment for players to develop the learning interactively through play. Without the activity of the player, there is no game; games are to be played by players. The
control of playing (learning processing) belongs to learners. Games are taken as a learner-centered learning approach. While playing computer games, players as learners take control of the whole learning process. On the contrary, in most of today’s schools, the students are asked to do what the teacher tells. That is to say that control and activities mainly rely on the teacher. The teacher is the center of the learning environment whereas the students are passive in learning. The outcome of the learning is definitely limited. It is believed that high motivation and engagement are linked to student success (Dev, 1997). Therefore, the most important point is that as long as the learners feel responsible for the whole learning, they are more willing to learn and do it actively.
2.4.2 Game Classification
Classifying educational games is not easy because games often overlap. The researchers may typically classify the games according to different criteria, such as the functions, student levels, learning styles, the contents, and strategies or activities used.
Lee (1986) introduced vocabulary games, spelling games, pronunciation games, listen-and–do games and read-and-do games based on the content of the games.
Hadfield (1990) proposed the spectrum of games that might be also considered as the game classification in terms of the activity type:
1. guessing games 2. searching games
3. matching and matching up games 4. exchanging and collecting games 5. arranging games
6. board and card games
Besides the game classification mentioned above, Hadfield (1990) further provided another classification. He divided games into two main kinds: competitive games and cooperative games. In the former type, participants try their best to reach the goal first in order to win the game. The latter one is that participants work together in pairs or groups towards a common goal. David, Michael, & Andrew (1979) proposed the classification according to the general character and spirit (True/false games, Guessing and speculating games, Memory games, etc.) of the games. These games are divided into thirteen categories, illustrated as follows:
1. picture games 2. psychology games 3. magic tricks
4. caring and sharing games 5. card and board games 6. sound games
7. story games 8. word games 9. true/false games 10. memory games
11. question and answer games 12. guessing and speculating games 13. miscellaneous games
As for vocabulary learning, most of the learners find it boring. One possible solution to the problem is the application of vocabulary games. Vocabulary games
are not just the activities used in the classroom to let students practice repeatedly, but more importantly, they can be used for entertainment and making learning and memorizing vocabulary much fun and engaging.
A number of vocabulary games can be found through many resources, such as the Internet, newspapers, textbooks, etc. Sasson (2008) classified the vocabulary games into three categories:
1. creative and fun vocabulary games 2. vocabulary guessing games
3. vocabulary games and group work
Sasson’s classification does not provide a complete list of vocabulary games.
Holmes (2010) noted that crossword puzzles are the activities that force players to consider words based on letter clues. Hung & Young (2010) collected the relevant English vocabulary games commonly used today, and classified them into six main kinds (crossword puzzle, word search, quiz, hangman, match game, and word jumble), and analyzed the strengths and drawbacks for each kind of the games. The comparison of English vocabulary games proposed by Hung & Young (2010) was presented in Table 2.3.
Table 2.3 Comparison of English Vocabulary Games (Hung & Young, 2010)
Definition Advantages Drawbacks Application in the classroom 1. Crossword
Guess the correct word in grids by following the vertical and horizontal hints
Increase the knowledge of word meaning according to the hints
Easy to fall into puzzles by limited answers.
A common way to test students’
2. Word Search Find out the words from a group of English letters
Train the sensibility with the outsight of word
Need to observe patiently
Less application in the classroom
3. Quiz An exam to test
the word meaning by selecting the right answer
Test a range of words and assess students easily
Just like an exam and less interesting
Used as an exam to evaluate the effectiveness of students’ learning
4. Hangman Guess the letter that will appear in the right position of the word;
otherwise lose a guessing chance
Strengthen word structure by pondering from the memory
The answer comes out by chance. It can not always be used to evaluate the effectiveness of learning.
Class can be divided into groups to compete
5. Match Game Find the same pair of cards by turning over two cards once among several cards
Remember word content and the position in the memory to strengthen word ability
Mainly focus on memory more than the meaning of the word
Class can be divided into groups to compete
6. Word Jumble Arrange alphabets in order into a meaningful word
Strengthen the word
recognition by arranging
Focus on the order of letters. Less fun
Train the ability of spelling
The massive use of the Internet and computers has changed the way people communicate, work, and learn in their daily lives. Learning by using digital material in a self-directed and self-organized way creates the new world of the 21st century. It is obvious that advanced information technology should be more widely exploited to improve education. Educators are now trying to apply the vast potential of
information technology to transform schooling, teaching, and learning. In particular, they put great emphasis on developing game-based learning because the potential of the games can effectively trigger learners’ motivation. As Rieber (1996) asserted,
“Research from education, psychology, and anthropology suggests that play is a powerful mediator for learning throughout a person’s life”. Therefore, the use of game-based learning has been more and more common nowadays.
2.5 Criteria on Evaluating Game-Based Vocabulary Learning
In the recent years, with the rapid improvement of technology, along with the growing number of software products and game-based learning systems, more and more researchers think it is imperative to provide the criteria on evaluating game-based learning for the field of education. Recently, numerous studies on developing the evaluative criteria concerning computer-based learning have been increasingly proposed. Therefore, in this study, the researcher attempts to provide the evaluative criteria for teachers to consider when they want to apply it into the teaching environment.
Wood (2001) proposed the five criteria for evaluating effective vocabulary learning software for the perspective of education:
1. Relating the new to the known
2. Promoting active, in-depth processing. This includes a) association processing, b) comprehension processing, and c) generation processing.
3. Providing multiple exposures of new words 4. Teaching students to be strategic readers 5. Promote additional reading
Besides the criteria mentioned above, Wood (2001) also suggested the guidelines with regard to the technical features:
2. Video chips of related information 3. Sound components
4. Hyperlinks to related information
5. Ability to create one’s own pathway through information 6. The ability to pause, repeat information, or replay video clips 7. Hints or clues related to word meaning
8. Multimodal presentation of information 9. Online definitions, glossaries, or thesauruses
Cowan (1974) made some other criteria for evaluating vocabulary games.
1. Relevance. The task to be completed in a game should be ‘readily related by the student to the tasks required in the study course’ (Cowan, 1974, p.57)
2. Peer interaction. The games should be accommodated with sufficient interaction between various players to increase the group dynamic and promote peer learning.
3. Continuous motivation. The games should make sure continuous motivation for learners. This can be achieved by providing a sufficient challenge and the scope to mature to players.
4. Minimum equipment. Although the use of some ‘game-like’ equipment such as joysticks and steering wheels may increase the excitement of the games, too much may distract the learners’ attention from the learning goals.
According to the corroborative study on Taiwanese cuisine and e-learning system proposed by Lu (2005), evaluative criteria were developed in term of game-based learning system. The fifty-three criteria were divided into three dimensions and twelve categories. Criteria on evaluating game-based learning system were presented as follows in Table 2.4.
Table 2.4 Criteria on Evaluating Game-Based Learning System ( Lu, 2005)
Dimension Category Criterion Teaching Material Adaptability Fertility and correctness Triggering motivation
Having specific teaching objects Integration with everyday situation Integration with school curriculum Related the new to the known Meeting the social needs and trend Integrating into social issues
Learner Adaptability Suitable for student levels Arousing learners’ motivation
Facilitating students’ learning Promoting the control of learning
Providing learning assessment
Providing the function to record the learning processing
Able to be applied to the daily situations Providing related information for learning
Providing the judgment and clarification of the value
Providing the demonstration for learning Instructor Adaptability Providing teaching activities
Providing teaching material
Providing the function as a facilitator
Providing the calculation and analysis of the assessment
(Continued on next page)
Table 2.4 Criteria on Evaluating Game-Based Learning System (Continued )
Dimension Category Criterion
Providing the material for remediation Game Enjoyment Fun and interesting
Various forms of game types Simple and understandable rules Various game solutions
Providing multiplayer online games Challenge Able to choose a competitive player Providing a specific goal
Providing the scoring or upgrading system Different levels of difficulty
Inspiration Including story or narrative elements Developing thinking and imagination Able to gain new knowledge
Promoting the ability of problem-solving Integration with the content
Impartiality Providing reasonable game rules Proper scoring system
Expansion Able to expand the content of the game
Able to develop PC game or the Network Version
Controlling Able to control the direction of game processing
Able to control the speed of game processing Society
Cooperation and Interactivity Providing feedback and support by the system Providing cooperative learning
Allow human and computer interaction Able to exchange information
Reinforcing effectiveness of learning Family Participation Parents’ participation
Promoting the family interaction
Future Acceptance and Widespread Able to be extensively used in teaching Parents’ permission
Becoming students’ favorite pastime
Drawing upon the findings from the related literature and research above, we will select the top criteria and rank them from the perspectives of teachers and students. Then we attempt to provide the selection criteria on evaluating game-based vocabulary learning for teachers that intend to apply it into the teaching environment.
After reviewing literature on vocabulary learning, vocabulary learning
strategies and instruction, and computer uses in vocabulary learning as well as criteria on evaluating game-based vocabulary learning, the researcher found there is no doubt that vocabulary learning plays a crucial role in the language learning. However, vocabulary learning has been a big headache for most of the learners, especially the second language learners. Students often feel bored or frustrated when they have to memorize the unfamiliar words and spelling. As the technology rapidly advances the use of the multimedia, the Internet, e-learning and other forms of distance learning is widespread. Digital learning may become an alternative way to improve the effectiveness of learning. In the recent years, games have been gradually integrated into educational field. One of the reasons why educators and teachers have so much interest in game-based learning is the potential of games. Games can trigger the learners’ intrinsic motivation which has been the question for the traditional teachers.
In the traditional classroom, the control of learning depends on the teacher. For students, they learn passively and just do what the teacher tells. Therefore, how to keep students continuously motivated to a specific learning goal has been teachers’
main concern. In fact, students grown up in the digital age may want more control of their own learning. Hence, it is necessary for teachers to think of using digital
learning systems as a facilitator for teaching. In addition, more and more software products and game-based learning systems come out to claim to foster the learning development. As far as vocabulary learning is concerned, it seems to be a good alternative way to apply game-based learning into the teaching environment. But not all the games are suitable for learning. How to choose an appropriate vocabulary game for learning is much more important for teachers to consider. Only if the learners’ need is really considered, they feel more engaged and motivated in their learning process and they may have more opportunities to succeed in their own learning. Therefore, the researcher intended to provide the criteria on evaluating game-based vocabulary learning for teachers who want to use game-based vocabulary learning in their teaching environment.