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


  • Pei Qin Tan SJK(C) Maran, Pahang, Malaysia
  • Kim Hua Tan Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi, Malaysia



in-game instructions, vocabulary acquisition, curiosity


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.

Author Biographies

Pei Qin Tan, SJK(C) Maran, Pahang, Malaysia

A master student of Faculty of Education in National University of Malaysia, Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia. She is teaching English as a Second language (ESL) at a primary school in Maran, Pahang, Malaysia.

Kim Hua Tan, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi, Malaysia

An Assoc Professor of Applied Linguistics at the Centre of Language Studies and Linguistics, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.




How to Cite

Tan, P. Q., & Tan, K. H. (2020). In-Game Instructions: The Extent of Their Usefulness in Enhancing the Vocabulary Acquisition of ESL Learners. International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning (iJET), 15(04), pp. 73–89.