Affect and willingness to communicate in digital game-based learning
Reinders, Hayo; Wattana, Sorada
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Citation:Reinders, H., and Wattana, S. (2015). Affect and willingness to communicate in digital game-based learning. ReCALL, 27(1), pp.38-57. doi:10.1017/S0958344014000226
Permanent link to Research Bank record:http://hdl.handle.net/10652/3438
The possible benefits of digital games for language learning and teaching have received increasing interest in recent years. Games are said, amongst others, to be motivating, to lower affective barriers in learning, and to encourage foreign or second language (L2) interaction. But how do learners actually experience the use of games? What impact does gameplay have on students’ perceptions of themselves as learners, and how does this affect their learning practice? These questions are important as they are likely to influence the success of digital game-based language learning, and as a result the way teachers might integrate games into the curriculum. In this study we investigated the experiences of five students who had participated in a fifteen-week game-based learning program at a university in Thailand. We conducted six interviews with each of them (for a total of 30 interviews) to identify what impact gameplay had in particular on their willingness to communicate in English (MacIntyre, Dörnyei, Clément & Noels, 1998). The results showed that gameplay had a number of benefits for the participants in this study, in particular in terms of lowering their affective barriers to learning and increasing their willingness to communicate. We discuss the implications of these results in terms of further research and classroom practice.