In-Game Instructions: The Extent of Their Usefulness in Enhancing the Vocabulary Acquisition of ESL Learners

Pei Qin Tan, Kim Hua Tan


The contributions of video games to learning, including vocabulary acquisition, have been acknowledged over the past few decades. In-game instructions may account for the majority of such contributions. This study checks whether such instructions can pique the curiosity of participants and subsequently enhance their vocabulary acquisition. Ten 11 to 12-year-old pupils were recruited for a month-long video game experiment. Three instruments, including vocabulary tests, interview questions and observation checklists, were employed. The qualitative data were analysed to determine the key aspects of in-game instructions and how they enhance the vocabulary acquisition of these pupils. Findings show that not all participants have gained additional vocabulary from in-game instructions. Whilst all participants were interested in playing the video game, only four of them showed curiosity towards the in-game instructions. Therefore, the usefulness of in-game instructions fundamentally depends on the attitudes of players towards the game, the suitability of the language level being used in the game and the players’ demand for such instructions.


in-game instructions; vocabulary acquisition; curiosity

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Copyright (c) 2020 Pei Qin Tan, Kim Hua Tan

International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning (iJET) – eISSN: 1863-0383
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