The Impact of Digital Games-based Vocabulary Learning on English as a Foreign Language Learners: A systematic review

Year: 2021

Author: Wu, Di

Type of paper: Individual Paper

AbstractDigital games in recent decades have gained popularity among a massive number of players around the globe, and many educational scholars and researchers have regarded them as potential learning venues. Digital games-based language learning is emerging into the field of educational research, in which, digital games-based vocabulary learning has received the most attention from English language learners, researchers (linguistics, computer science, and education), and teachers. This paper presents a systematic review of studies on digital games-based vocabulary learning with reference to influences to English as a foreign language learner. Utilising a specific designed inclusion and exclusion criteria for article selection, 15 peer-reviewed publications were finalised for the review. Findings revealed (1) the fact that although there is a taxonomy of digital games endorsed by a majority of researchers, the detailed boundary between different genres of games is vague, which may have implications for researchers conducting research in this field; (2) and in general, the virtual environment provided by digital games is conducive for vocabulary practicing (environment); (3) in addition, digital games have the capacity of promoting vocabulary learning motivation and fostering interaction among learner-players (motivation and interaction). This paper contributes to the research of the digital games-based vocabulary field by listing the directions and areas for future research, more importantly, advocated for detailed and specific taxonomy of digital games for the interests of future researchers.