Acquiring English Through World of Warcraft: A Study of Overt Language Learning Strategies and Their Effects on English Language Development Principle Investigator: Amber Martin
BackgroundThis field is still fairly new, at least in that there is relatively little research that specifically examines how large scale, commercial video games support language learning outside of classroom use. Much of what has been done is qualitative. General More Specific (4 sources) Gee, J. P. (2003). What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy. New York: Palgrave MacMillan. general discussion, many related subtopics Rama, P. S., Black, R. W., Van Es, E., & Warschauer, M. (2012). Affordances for second language learning in World of Warcraft. ReCALL, 24(3), 322-338. master novice relationships and language development Thorne, S. L. (2003, May). Artifacts and cultures- of-use in intercultural communication. Language Learning and Technology, 7(2), 38-67. computer mediated communication Thorne, S. L., Fischer, I., & Lu, X. (2012). The semiotic ecology and linguistic complexity of an online game world. ReCALL,24(3), 279-301. meaningful use, opportunities • Exploratory • Video games = good or evil? • How commercial video games can be adapted for pedagogical purposes • Examining common motivational factors • Three main types of video games • Simulation (e.g. The SIMs) • Turn taking (e.g. CIV I-V) • Massively Multiplayer Onling Games, or MMOGs (e.g. World of Warcraft)
Research Questions • Can Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Games (MMORPGs) help non-native speakers (NNSs) improve their English ability? • In what, if any, overt language learning strategies do NNSs engage in relation to the game? • Do NNS players who engage in language learning strategies improve more over time than those who do not?
Hypotheses • NNS players who employ overt English learning strategies in conjunction with and during game play will improve their English language ability to a greater degree than those who do not. • Certain strategies will be greater or lesser predictors of ultimate developmental results.
Research DesignThis is mixed methods research that can be outlined generally as a qual-QUAN. Qualitative Quantitative Type Longitudinal Between groups Purpose Track progress over time Outcome Compare the amount of progress made in general between groups (first hypothesis) Examine whether certain strategies are stronger predictors than others of ultimate development (second hypothesis) • Type • Exploratory • Among a small group of NNSs • Purpose • Defining • Outcome • Identify potential motivators for NNS players • Identify types of strategies employed by NNSs to learn English • Develop coding systems for the quantitative data
Sample • NNS World of Warcraft players • young adults (age 20-40) • play 2 hours a day on average • do not have other, extensive exposure to English, but may have had instruction in the past • High beginner-high intermediate level • Qualitative • 5 NNS participants • Quantitative • 15 NNS participants who claim English language learning as one of their motivations for playing the game • 15 NNS participants who do not claim the above motivational factor
Data Collection Methods Qualitative (5 NNS players) Quantitative (30 NNS players) 3 video interviews/recall sessions of each player over the course of a year Counting times certain strategies are used 3 pre-campaign chat logs These should represent fairly communicatively “rich” episodes of game play since they will involve planning, commanding, and feedback among the collaborators • Examine the game itself • The rules and framework • Typical social expectations • Other types of online support (blogs, player forums, etc) • Example campaigns • Stimulated recall videos of the initial 5 participants • These should help the researcher identify and rank language learning strategies
Proposed Analysis • Regression Analysis • Based on the frequency of use and “strength” of the language learning strategies employed by the motivated group • Identify predictors of greater language development (independent or blended strategies) • Complexity will depend on how many strategies are identified • Dependent variable = progress over time • Independent variables = types of strategies • Repeated Measures ANOVA (univariate) • Multiple assessment of the same groups over time • Continuous Variable (dependent) = English development as measured through the chat logs • Categorical Variables (independent) = Motivated or not to improve English ability through game play (between groups). Type of overt language learning strategies employed (within motivated group). Time (within each group)
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