Teaching Vocabulary By Various Game-based Learning Activities And Gamification

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The studies found that according to different authors it is possible and effective to teach and learn vocabulary with the help of gamification and game-based learning skills. However, firstly, the aim of this paper is to know what the vocabulary is, how to expand learners’ vocabulary and its history. It has been also shown that Gamification is a new concept which is supportive in motivating the learner as it is supported in the paper with the evidence and the commitments of audiences. Additionally, this paper presents concepts, benefits and explanations of both Gamification and game-based learning. In this paper, discussion and evaluation are based on vocabulary teaching and Gamification. Finally, the contribution of Gamification and game-based learning into vocabulary teaching and learning is discussed in this paper.

Keywords: benefits of Gamification, game-based learning, Gamification, vocabulary, vocabulary learning, vocabulary teaching

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Games make education considerably more enjoyable than any lesson that only teacher talks and finishes. According to Smith (2016) enjoyable learning can influence the way learners interact with words. Hung (2019) indicates that one of the structures that people have developed to help learners to memorize easier and enlarge their vocabulary is Gamification which can be seen as the process of using game thinking to help and engage audiences. Garland (2015) demonstrates that Gamification includes game-like elements to attract attention thanks to rewards, animation videos and top score leader boards. Ferrer (2017) indicates that the effects of educational games are still considered as an innovative tool in educational issues due to having an intensive vocabulary that enriches itself day by day and teaches many words with enjoy. Therefore, teachers should use various games to not to turn learning into a task and to facilitate learning new vocabulary. In addition to Ggamification, House (1997) claims that various games which are meant to make boring and everyday tasks more interesting have also been created to practice, educate and train people who learns English. In this paper, vocabulary teaching, such as some ways to teach vocabulary, Gamification like its pros and cons and games that hasten learning words are going to be explained.

Vocabulary Teaching

Early English roots are thought to trace back to the invasion of the Anglo-Saxons to Britain approximately in the 5th or 6th centuries. Ooi and& Seoh (2019) states that in today’s English 83% of the most common 1,000 words are of Anglo-Saxon origin. The language borrow words from other languages to improve and stand by itself as an another language. The name of some places and rivers are thought to have been taken from the native Celts. However, Viking invasions which have been made to Britain are thought to make the Old English period closed during the 8th and 9th centuries. “After drawing his army to Britain, the king who is called as William the Conqueror marked the transition to Middle English in 1066” (Ooi & Seoh, 2019, p. 54). Therefore, the Old French became the spoken language of the ruling classes and lower classes had spoken the Anglo-Saxon and some kept Celtic dialects. Although the Middle English gradually overthrew French and became the lingua franca, many words about medicine, art and literature are originally French. According to Ooi and& Seoh (2019), the Renaissance arrived to England in around 1500 with a burst of literary works being published in Early Modern English thanks to the developments in mass printing. It was only at this time that some initial consolidation was beginning to occur in the language’s vocabulary. In brief, the creation of a new language had taken a long process due to the need of creating words and building vocabulary which does not seem easy.

According to Kingsley and& Hagen (2018) since the words effectuate phrases and they also contributes while creating clauses and sentences, it is possible to say that the more extensive vocabulary we have, the easier we can make a sentence. However, these steps may take long process, To shorten this process and hasten the process that helps learners during trying several ways which are going to help them in memorizing and learning those words., teachers prefer playing games today due to the attraction of those games. In a nutshell, the impact of learning new morphemes and words result with a better vocabulary reservoir thanks to the hierarchy.

“Approximately 70% learners are bad at remembering anything in education especially when it comes to memorizing the words” (Kingsley & Hagen, 2015, p. 18). Although some people advocate that the reason which hinders learners from memorizing is their own problems which are related to their family, themselves or many other issues. Learners who have written their notes to small piece of papers to see wherever they go and also have written a word more than two times to strength their memory were supported by their teachers in today’s world thanks to this game-based learning and Gamification structures. Briefly, though the memorizing style changes, Gamification and game-based learning take place to make it better and hasten that process and steps.

Gamification and Games

Gamification is a way to use game elements to learn. “While teachers are using educational video games, 70% of teachers notice an increase in student engagement due to online video games” (Abrams & Walsh, 2014, p. 12). Learners who love competence spend their time playing a learning-based game because of reward system which is used in today’s games. The reward system that includes badges and points also makes learners more competitive to each other. This is the way of having friends thanks to its wide social interaction network and team competitions that require students to collaborate on challenges. However, Ggamification has also negative effects. For instance, the time when learners expect to have the same outcomes, but can not meet their expectations make them feel frustrated and this causes to decrease of learners’ attention span and focus to anything. They spend their time by sitting and playing those complex games all the way through which may take a lot of hours, before they fully understand the game and objectives. In brief, Gamification which can be seen as a new concept of vocabulary teaching may also have disadvantages sometimes because of its relation with the other devices and elements.

Game-based learning is another way of learning with enthusiasm and excitement. Despite the fact that both game-based learning and Gamification are similarities, they also have differences. For instance, as Snezana, Nada and& Trıpo (2015) indicates that Gamification as a term was mentioned for the first time in 2008 while game-based learning which is a somewhat older phenomenon dates back from 1970’s. In addition that Gamification utilizes game mechanics to transform the learning experience into a game, game based learning integrates games into the learning process to teach a specific skill or achieve a learning objective. Finally, Gamification in education is used as a way to increase the student’s engagement and learning, however, game-based learning is just a piece of Gamification. Briefly, we can say that they complete each other.

Having a bad day, lack of sleep, relationship problems, classes and so many reasons may cause learners’ focus. Therefore, the skills and approaches help teacher to avoid learners’ from losing their focus. Learners usually want to talk about different issues during classes because they lost their attention. Although this hard process fatigue the teacher, she should find some solutions. It can be said that numerous ways have been tried such as a short dialogue about daily issues, having a break time and not allowing learners to do something which were invalid solutions to get their attention back. Therefore, teachers started to prefer playing games to those activities which were supposed to be funny. As Karagiorgas and& Niemann (2017) states that learners especially almost 7-13 years old are tendt to lose their attention easier than older learners. Because expecting them to be mature is nonsensical due to their age. Hence, these games also make learners bored sometimes. That is why we need Gamification. After finding solution for learners not to get bored, Gamification is the another solution for them to not to get bored due to games. In brief, being anxious and having a competence make learner eager to find the answers and it also help them to focus in a short time. In brief, it is clear that Gamification does not make bored the learner bored.

As it was mentioned before this paragraph, games are helpers and Gamification helps to games. However, considering teachers’ way of teaching vocabulary with benefiting from Gamification may also be not adequate. Due to this, teachers also try to explore new variety of games. According to Wu (2018) having many choices about the same subject is effective because, it helps learners to discover new words without intention thanks to all their different concepts such as the difficulty of a game, learners’ understanding and colours of games. To shorten, learners have attracted thanks to those elements which help them memorizing and enlarging their vocabulary. The more games the teachers have, the more learners give attention. Briefly, seeing various ways make the learner open-minded and it makes everything much clear to be understood.

Online games which mean having quite a lot people from other countries or cities of a world who know different languages except a common language to communicate are essential in vocabulary learning. Online is a word that indicates a wide social network. Learners need to speak or send messages during playing games to their friends who are in the same team with them. Butler, Someya and& Fukuhara (2019) demonstrates that it is not knowing a language totally, but learning at least short idioms, phrases or words such as ‘come’, ‘go’, ‘fire’, ‘good job’, AFK (away from computer), brb (be right back) can be shown as examples. In brief, online games which are just a piece of vocabulary teaching also contribute a lot thanks to phrases and words that are almost known by every learner.

Board games have been searched in many scientific studies covering such research areas as memory, perception, decision making, problem-solving, motivation, intelligence, and neuroscience. According to Lodzikowski and& Jekiel (2019) in the ELT classroom, puzzle logical techniques such as board games and word searches are used for reinforcing communicative skills and memory. Moreover, Hockly (2019) states that playing board games is a social experience that can boost the development of social and emotional skills. Additionally, since classroom engagement is partly based on peer interactions, playing board games may contribute to increase this engagement. A case study by Carleton and& Marzano (2010) showed that the use of board games in the classroom can significantly improve learners’ comprehension and retention. This is probably because all phonetic games available on the market are aimed at either primary learners or beginner to intermediate learners of all ages. Briefly, board games also support and engage learners aware of how English speech sounds are produced, transcribed, and how they function in creating a word.

As Townsend (2009) indicates that card games are the last essential and effective technique. Teachers created a set of cards for each of the target words in language workshop. Each student would draw a card from a hat, and each card had a word, a definition, or a sentence (with a blank where the word would go). Students with a word card would have to find the students with the matching definition and sentence cards. Variations on these matching games created different challenges for students. For example, students sometimes had to find their groups in complete silence, and sometimes their cards were taped to their backs so that students had to help each other get into the right groups. Chesla (2004) indicates that games like these meet both adolescents’ previously mentioned word-learning needs and social needs because the games allow for multiple exposures to words in multiple contexts, opportunities to practice word meanings, and opportunities for collaboration. In a nutshell, card games are one of the ways to teach and learn vocabulary in a effective way when it is also combined with Gamification and games.


In conclusion, there are numerous ways of learning and teaching vocabulary with the help of games, strategy of game-based learning and gamification. Teachers who are familiar with know these techniques and use them during their classes are helpful towards their students. Games never get old due to the fact that we all have childish soul in our bodies. These games would be changed with teachers’ or learners’ imagination. Gamification engages learner to play game while playing a game makes learner happy. Therefore it is clear that these two should be used together. Learning is an educational activity, but making it an enjoyful educational activity is belong to us. Our brain loves seeing, hearing, learning with laughing a lot to a situation and much more statements. Therefore, play more, learn more.


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