Using Video Game-Based Instruction in an EFL Program: Understanding the Power of Video Games in Education

El Uso de Video Juegos en el Aprendizaje de una Lengua Extranjera: El poder de Los Video Juegos en la Educación

  • Héctor Alejandro Galvis Guerrero Universidad Libre; Universidad Pedagógica Nacional
Keywords: Foreign language instruction, video game-based instruction, student engagement, use of video games in foreign language education (en_US)
Keywords: Enseñanza de lengua extranjera, instrucción basada en el uso de video juegos, uso de video juegos en la enseñanza de lengua extranjera (es_ES)

Abstract (en_US)

This small-scale action-research study examines the perceptions of four students in a military academy in Colombia undergoing the processof using a mainstream video game in their EFL classes instead of classic forms of instruction. The video game used served to approach EFL by means of language exploratory activities designed according to the context present in the video game and the course linguistic objectives. This study was conducted on the grounds that computer technology offers the possibility of enhancing EFL instruction by means of simulating and augmenting the target language context. The researcher’s belief is that video games offer a learning environment closely related to students’ experiences and preferences. Results from this study suggest that students were more entertained and attentive and demonstrated more engagement and disposition towards their English classes. Students also learned about matters related to the target language and culture, and were not only circumscribed to linguistic ones. Similarly, results from this study shed some light on the importance of offering access to technology to students before they advance to higher education that support video-gaming practices in the classroom.

Abstract (es_ES)

Este estudio a pequeña escala de investigación-acción analizó las percepciones de cuatro estudiantes en una institución de educación superior militar en Colombia en la cual se cambió los métodos tradicionales de enseñanza por la inclusión de un video jugar popular. Este video juego se utilizó con el fin de presentar el estudio del inglés como lengua extranjera a través de actividades exploratorias dentro del juego; dichas actividades se diseñaron teniendo en cuenta los objetivos lingüísticos del curso y el contexto presente en el video juego. Este estudio fue llevado a cabo bajo la premisa de que las herramientas tecnológicas ofrecen la posibilidad de mejorar la instrucción en lengua extranjera al aumentar y simular el contexto lingüístico de la lengua objetivo. El investigador actuó bajo la convicción de que los video juegos ofrecen un ambiente de aprendizaje más compatible con las experiencias y gustos de los estudiantes. Los resultados de este estudio sugieren que los estudiantes percibieron estar más entretenidos, atentos y demostraron mayor disposición hacia sus clases de inglés. De la misma forma, se observó que en este estudio se pudo enseñar aspecto no solo relacionados a la parte lingüística, sino también a otras áreas relevantes a la enseñanza de lenguas extranjeras. Finalmente, los resultados de este estudio destacan la importancia de tener acceso a las TICs en los primeros niveles de educación y cómo dicha instrucción apoya el uso de herramientas como las utilizadas durante el desarrollo de este estudio.


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Author Biography

Héctor Alejandro Galvis Guerrero, Universidad Libre; Universidad Pedagógica Nacional
HECTOR ALEJANDRO GALVIS holds a B.A in Modern Languages (English and French) from Universidad Pedagógica Nacional,  and an M.A. in TESOL\Applied Linguistics from the University of Northern Iowa. He’s currently working at Universidad Libre where he teaches undergraduate courses in TESOL\English and assists undergraduate and graduate students with thesis writing. He also teaches courses in ELT and Technology at Universidad Pedagógica Nacional”.


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How to Cite
Galvis Guerrero, H. A. (2011). Using Video Game-Based Instruction in an EFL Program: Understanding the Power of Video Games in Education. Colombian Applied Linguistics Journal, 13(1), 54-70.
Published: 2011-01-01
Research Articles