A Non-Academic Computer Video Game: Its Effect On Vocabulary Acquisition In The EFL Classroom

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics


Amanda Brown


CALL, EFL, TESOL, Video games, Vocabulary

Subject Categories



Non-academic computer video game use for teaching and learning has recently become an area of research in second language acquisition. This thesis presents research using The SIMs, a non-academic computer video game, for teaching and learning vocabulary in the English as a foreign language (EFL) classroom. The purpose of this study is two-fold (a) to establish whether a video game, unintended for academic purposes, can facilitate language learning in the EFL classroom by analyzing vocabulary acquisition, and (b) to assess whether the incorporation of a video game will lead to more acquired vocabulary words compared to traditional teaching materials. There were 14 beginning level EFL learners, undergraduates at a major university in northern France, who participated in this quasi-experimental study. Two intact classes, each containing seven learners, comprised the experimental and control groups. Acquisition of target vocabulary in the domains of clothing and hairstyles were tested in a pretest and posttest. The pretest assessed receptive knowledge, and the posttest assessed receptive and productive knowledge. All learners participated in an information gap activity; the experimental group used The SIMs, and the control group used magazine images to complete the activity. The statistical results showed vocabulary learning from pretest to posttest for the experimental group and the control group, but there was a non-significant difference in vocabulary learning between the two groups at either time period. However, further analysis revealed that the experimental group outperformed the control group in productive learning related to clothing. A qualitative analysis of student performance in the task suggested motivation as a possible factor for learning differences between the groups. This research provides some empirical data to support the incorporation of non-academic computer video games as a tool used to teach EFL vocabulary in the classroom.


Surface provides description only. Full text is available to ProQuest subscribers. Ask your Librarian for assistance.