Date of Award

May 2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Teaching and Learning

Committee Member

Danielle Herro

Committee Member

Faiza Jamil

Committee Member

Matthew Boyer

Committee Member

Jacquelynn Malloy

Abstract

Slow vocabulary development and poor comprehension among English Language learners (ELLs) (August, Carlo, & Snow, 2005) have resulted in an academic achievement gap between ELLs and native English-speaking learners in the United States (Klingner, Artiles, & Barletta, 2006; Wilde, 2010). This mixed-methods sequential explanatory research aims to help narrow the academic gap by providing increased engagement and interaction opportunities to ELLs. In this study, I replicated and extended Bourgonjon et al. (2010)’s study identifying the predictive factors of students’ acceptance for using video games in the classrooms. A sequential qualitative study with 11 selected participants was conducted to explain how the factors, tested in the first quantitative phase of study, facilitate ELLs’ vocabulary growth. I triangulated the results of the two phases and the discussion of the findings to answer my research questions.

Based on the data collected from 371 participants via a web-based survey, I tested the reliability and validity of the adapted survey scale items using inter-item correlations, factor analysis, and internal consistency reliability tests. Then, I formulated and validated path models to test the hypotheses related to relationships among variables. Results from the analysis concluded that the factor of perceived learning opportunity is an important predictors for players’ preference for using MMORPGs in the L2 English classroom. The follow-up qualitative study aims to explain why certain factors identified in the first phase were significant predictors that impact players’ preference to use MMORPGs to obtain L2 English vocabulary. Evidence shows that game texts and social interactions are major learning opportunities provided by MMORPGs.

I expect that this study, along with further research in this area, will help teachers integrate MMORPGs or related game mechanics into their regular instruction to provide increased engagement and interaction opportunities to English language learners.

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