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How Incorporating Gaming Into an Online Language Course Engages Students & Creates a Sense of Belonging

Corrie Emery (Liberty University, USA)
Additional Authors
Alexandra Barnett (Liberty University, USA)
Kara Ranck (Liberty University, USA)
Session Information
November 21, 2013 - 11:30am
Technology and Emerging Learning Environments
Areas of Special Interest: 
None of the above
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Practical Application
Institutional Level: 
Multiple Levels
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Southern Hemisphere 5
Session Duration: 
35 Minutes
Information Session 8
Virtual Session

Online language learning has never been so fun. Join us for a hands-on demonstration of gaming in the online classroom.

Extended Abstract

Liberty University is one of the largest online schools, offering 166 online programs to students inAll 50 states and over 95 countries. Our online professor to student ratio is 17:1, allowing for students to feel engaged and receive quality instructor feedback. In creating courses for Liberty University, it is our desire to implement the newest technologies and current theories to enhance the learning experience for the students, as well as provide instructors with well-designed courses to teach.

Learning a language is difficult; learning a language online can prove to be even more difficult. Without the practice of speaking and continually hearing the learned language, a student can become discouraged in his/her efforts. By incorporating specific gaming aspects such as objectives, achievement rewards, and social interaction into an online language course, we can aid these online learners not only in the retention of the material, but also in their desire to learn the language.

By incorporating program "Captivate" with Blackboard, we have created an online German course that integrates leaderboards and gaming concepts, to create the ultimate online language learning class. Individually, students are required to complete a specific real life objective in a timed setting using that week's vocabulary concepts. Once the student has completed his/her individual task, he/she will receive a German phrase to submit to their Instructor. The student's completion time is then ranked on a "leaderboard". The purpose of the game is multiple: In playing the game, the students receive instant feedback on incorrect or correctly chosen answers, inadvertently fostering retention by creating a sense of belonging. Additionally, by using repetition throughout the game students achieve course outcomes, in addition to learning grammatical and vocabulary concepts.

In our presentation, we will engage attendees by inviting them to play an electronic game (ie: Words with Friends). This will then lead us into our concept of how people learn without recognizing it as the "tedious chore" normally associated with the word "learning." The language course and game will be presented during the session. We will then review students' survey response data, demonstrating the increased level of learning and sense of belonging perceived by learners of this language course. To conclude the session, attendees will be asked to participate in a Q & A session.