Mobile-Assisted Language Learning: How Gamification Improves the Learning Experience
The learning process can be improved through the incorporation of evolving information and communication technologies. But it is not enough to use cutting-edge technology in teaching. The focus must be in promoting the development of skills that traditional teaching cannot adequately address. In this way, mobile devices, particularly smartphones and tablets, present exciting opportunities. These devices, largely used by students, allow access to information in a ubiquitous way – anytime, anywhere. This ubiquity, aligned with other mobile learning features – such as high memory capacity, built-in video cameras, voice recording capabilities, and geolocation capabilities, among others – addresses several foreign language learning needs, in the modality known as mobile-assisted language learning. Recently, games have been studied in a systematic way, where game elements are extracted and applied in different situations. In educational context, game strategies – known as gamification – are often used to enrich the student experience, fueling motivation and promoting meaningful learning. To achieve the best results, it is important for the teacher, or other learning experience designer, to be knowledgeable of gamification elements and their application when creating mobile-assisted language learning activities. This paper highlights the main elements of gamification that can be exploited for teaching languages, and it examines three experiences of language teaching through mobile learning. It also analyzes how these experiences exploit gamification strategies to promote student engagement in the learning process. Understanding how gamification strategies improve student learning in these experiences is important in the advancement of pedagogical and technological research of mobile-assisted language learning.
KeywordsMobile learning Gamification Mobile-assisted language learning Language learning Language teaching
- Brophy, Keith. 2015. Gamification and Mobile teaching/learning. Characteristics of mobile teaching and learning. In Handbook of mobile teaching and learning, ed. Y. Zhang. Berlin Heidelberg: Springer.Google Scholar
- Figueiredo, F. 2006. A aprendizagem colaborativa de línguas. Goiânia: UFG.Google Scholar
- Historic Games. 2014. History of games timeline. http://www.historicgames.com/gamestimeline.html. Accessed 15 Dec 2014.
- Hunicke, R. 2009. Wildflowers: The UX of game/play. UX Week. http://vimeo.com/6984481.
- Johnson, L., S. Adams Becker, V. Estrada, and A. Freeman. 2014. NMC horizon report: 2014 higher education edition. In The new media consortium. Austin.Google Scholar
- Kapp, Karl M. 2012. The gamification of learning and instruction: Game-based methods and strategies for training and education. San Francisco: Pfeiffer.Google Scholar
- Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes, and Lesley Shield. 2008. An overview of mobile assisted language learning: From content delivery to supported collaboration and interaction. ReCALL European Association for Computer Assisted Language Learning 20 (3): 271–289.Google Scholar
- Mccombs, S. W. 2010. Mobile learning: An analysis of student preferences and perceptions surrounding podcasting. United States – Texas, University of Houston. Ed.D.Google Scholar
- Moura, Adelina Maria Carreiro. 2010. Apropriação do Telemóvel como Ferramenta de Mediação em Mobile Learning: Estudos de Caso em Contexto Educativo. RepositóriUM. http://hdl.handle.net/1822/13183. Accessed 10 Oct 2014.
- Petit, Thomas, Santos, Gilberto Lacerda. 2013. A aprendizagem não formal da língua estrangeira usando o smartphone: por quê voltamos a metodologias do século XIX? Simpósio Hipertexto e Tecnologias na Educação. http://nehte.com.br/simposio/anais/simposio2013.html Accessed 21 Nov 2014.
- Procter-Legg, Emma, Annamaria Cacchione, Sobah Abbas Petersen, and Marcus Winter. 2014. Mobile language learners as social networkers: A study of Mobile language learners’ use of LingoBee. Digital Systems for Open Access to Formal and Informal Learning 1: 121–137. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-02264-2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Robison, David. 2012. Learning on location with AMI: The potentials and danges of mobile gaming for language learning. In Left to my own devices: Learner autonomy and mobile-assisted language learning, ed. Javier E. Díaz-Vera. Bingley: Emerald.Google Scholar
- Salen, K., and E. Zimmerman. 2004. Rules of play: Games design fundamentals. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Sharples, M. Ed. 2006. Big issues in mobile learning (Report of a workshop by the Kaleidoscope Network of Excellence Mobile Learning Initiative, pp. 14–19). Nottingham, UK: Learning Sciences Research Institute.Google Scholar
- Simola. 2012. About SIMOLA. http://itrg.brighton.ac.uk/simola.org/. Accessed 11 Dec 2014.
- Telles, J. 2009. Teletandem: Um contexto virtual, autônomo e colaborativo para aprendizagem de línguas estrangeiras no século XXI. Campinas: Pontes Editores.Google Scholar
- Traxler, J. 2005. Defining mobile learning. Paper presented at the IADIS International Conference Mobile Learning 2005, Qawra, Malta.Google Scholar
- Trifonova, A.; Ronchetti, M. 2003. A general architecture for mobile learning. Technical Report. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/2929880_A_General_Architecture_For_Mlearning.
- Werbach, Kevin, and Dan Hunter. 2012. For the win: How game thinking can revolutionize your business. Philadelphia: Wharton Digital Press. 148p.Google Scholar
- Zhang, Yu. 2014. Characteristics of mobile teaching and learning. In Handbook of Mobile teaching and learning, ed. Y. Zhang. Berlin Heidelberg: Springer.Google Scholar