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Play games or study? Computer games in eBooks to learn English vocabulary

, , , University of South Florida, United States ; , Murray State University, United States ; , University of South Florida, United States ; , Hawaii Pacific University, United States

Computers & Education Volume 69, Number 1, ISSN 0360-1315 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


This study investigated how Chinese undergraduate college students studying English as a foreign language learned new vocabulary with inference-based computer games embedded in eBooks. The investigators specifically examined (a) the effectiveness of computer games (using inferencing) in eBooks, compared with hardcopy booklets for vocabulary retention, and (b) the relationship between students' performance on computer games and performance on a vocabulary test. A database recorded students' game playing behaviors in the log file. Students were pre- and post-tested on new vocabulary words with the Vocabulary Knowledge Scale. Participants learned significantly more vocabulary (p < .0005) in the computer game condition (web-based text and computer games) than in the control condition (their usual study method, hardcopy text, lists of words and multiple-choice questions). Students' scores in the games correlated significantly with their vocabulary post-test scores (r = .515, p < .01).


Smith, G.G., Li, M., Drobisz, J., Park, H.R., Kim, D. & Smith, S.D. (2013). Play games or study? Computer games in eBooks to learn English vocabulary. Computers & Education, 69(1), 274-286. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved March 6, 2021 from .

This record was imported from Computers & Education on January 31, 2019. Computers & Education is a publication of Elsevier.

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