Learning English Vocabulary via Computer Gaming

Keywords: Language Learning, Vocabulary Learning Strategies, MMORPG, Thematic Analysis, English as Second Language


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, educators have opted for online discussions and classes in which the teaching and learning sessions occur beyond the classroom environment. As various forms of technology such as gaming can be potentially used as platforms for online teaching and learning, the study aims to investigate the use of vocabulary learning strategies (VLS) in a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) among Malaysian English as a second language (ESL) players. Data were obtained via a 12-hour online game-play recorded sessions of Guild Wars 2 involving four Malaysian ESL players. The participants consisted of experienced online gamers aged between 24 and 25 years. The game-play sessions were also observed to provide supporting details on how the players utilised strategies when learning English vocabulary. The outcome of the study revealed that the ESL players employed different VLS during their game-play sessions. Gu and Johnson’s (1996) categorisation of VLS, which are metacognitive, cognitive, memory, and activation strategies, was subsequently modified to accommodate the MMORPG context. The results showed that the top five strategies used by the players were meaning-making, consultation, using online dictionary, word comparison, and incorporating words with real-world contexts.


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How to Cite
Lee-Luan, N., & Raghbir, R. S. A. S. (2021). Learning English Vocabulary via Computer Gaming. Issues in Language Studies, 10(1), 93-109. https://doi.org/10.33736/ils.2708.2021