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Serious Games for Global Education

Digital Game-Based Learning in the English as a Foreign Language (EFL) Classroom


Claudia Müller

In the last few years, global education has become a key concept within the TEFL domain, suggesting competences, topics, and methods that enable students to become responsible and knowledgeable participants in a globalized world. With the help of a triangulated blended learning study conducted in five different middle school EFL classes, and an additional small group study, the author investigates the potential of digital games that have an educational purpose, so called serious games, for global education when used in EFL scenarios. The results show a clear contribution of serious games to global education when used with EFL learners, leading to a reference model of digital game-based learning in the EFL classroom.

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3. Digital Game-Based Learning


Abstract: This chapter lays the groundwork for scrutinizing digital game-based learning. Therefore, this chapter looks at the role of digital games for teenagers and current research on digital games for educational purposes, before analyzing the functioning of digital games, their effects for game-based learning and the characteristics of digital and serious games.

3.1. Introductory Remarks

Digital game-based learning (also abbreviated as DGBL) is a discipline that emerged from computer assisted instruction (cf. Cornillie, Thorne & Desmet, 2012, p. 244), building on research from analog game-based learning. Yet, DGBL research does not only focus on the implementation of digital games within a formal environment. Quite the opposite: An extensive amount of research is being conducted in the field of game design and the factors that facilitate learning, whereas only a minority of researchers is working on the evaluation of digital games in the context of classroom language learning (cf. ibid., p. 244). However, in order to clarify the particular potential of digital game-based learning, it is necessary to approach the reciprocity of (digital) games and learning, outline its current status in society and depict the meaning of digital gaming for teenagers.

As the JIM Study released in November 2015 reveals, 68% of German teenagers play computer games multiple times a week, almost three out of four boys at the age of 14–15 years play daily or multiple times a week:

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