Developing a Gamification-Based Interactive Thesaurus Application to Improve English Language Vocabulary: A Case Study of Undergraduate Students In Malaysia
The acquisition of new vocabulary in a second language requires a series of repeated exposure. With emerging digital platforms and games such exposure can easily be provided. Due to the prevalence and ease of access of mobile technology learners have demonstrated a high degree of dependence on digital tools such as smartphones for learning as compared to the traditional approach. This study aims to explore whether a gamification-based interactive thesaurus app could be used to improve the level of English language vocabulary among students in a public university in Malaysia. Five participants (two males and three females) from four different Faculties were selected as interview participants from an English proficiency class of 22 students. Two of the participants were from the Faculty of International Relations and the other 3 from the Faculties of Forestry, Nature Parks and Recreation, Forest Plantation and Agroforest. Each student was required to respond to a set of eleven open-ended interview questions structured to examine their perception towards digital and mobile learning as well as game-based learning. The findings indicated that students (1) preferred the use of mobile learning over the traditional approach, (2) preferred online platforms rather than mobile apps, and (3) acquire vocabulary through watching movies and listening to music. The study also showed that despite the learners having had experience using thesaurus apps, they had very little knowledge about game-based learning. This suggests that lecturers should focus more on the explicit use of mobile digital technology in language learning. Incorporating gamification in the learning process of a foreign language is a issue that requires in-depth analysis and thought.
Index Terms� Game-based learning, language learning, mobile learning, vocabulary learning strategies.