Gamifying the flipped classroom using game-based learning materials

Gamifying the flipped classroom using game-based learning materials Abstract Many proponents of flipped classrooms have sought to develop innovative approaches in order to advance the knowledge base of effective practices. In this study, a gamified flipped classroom approach is thus proposed to help teachers design and incorporate classroom activities that can be engaging to students. The proposed approach combines the advantages of flipped classrooms and game-based learning, leveraging the use of technology-enhanced board games (TEBGs) to nurture student engagement. What distinguishes the TEBGs from common board games is the integration of Quick Response (QR) codes to deliver digital content via mobile technology. The research results suggest that the proposed approach is beneficial for English-language learners by reducing their anxiety about speaking English in class and enhancing their motivation to take part in classroom activities. It is thus hoped that more enthusiastic teachers will become early adopters of the gamified flipped classroom approach. Introduction Flipping the classroom is seen as a student-centred approach to teaching and learning across disciplines. In a flipped classroom, students are provided with an option to access the teacher’s lectures in advance in the form of instructional videos, and the instruction or lecture time in class can thus be devoted to learning activities that are believed to be more beneficial to students (Bergmann and Sams 2012). Nevertheless, what counts as a ‘beneficial’ learning activity is loosely defined in the current literature, allowing flexibility for teachers who wish to be innovative in their implementation of a flipped classroom, while also creating uncertainty for others. It follows that one challenge facing novice teachers who want to flip their classes is how to make the best of the freed-up class time to foster the engagement of students. Furthermore, research has shown mixed results regarding the effects of the flipped classroom approach on student perceptions; for example, students may conceive the face-to-face instruction to have a lack of structure as the teacher moves off the stage to become a guide on the side (Zack, Fuselier, Graham-Squire, Lamb, and O’Hara 2015). It should also be noted that the generic definition of the flipped classroom approach stated above, while applicable to most disciplines featuring lecture-based instruction, may not fully reflect the actual situation of teaching and learning in some contexts and disciplines. Language education is one such example, as teaching by lecturing is increasingly rare in modern language classrooms (Kostka and Brinks-Lockwood 2015). Therefore, a more contextualized understanding of flipping the language classroom refers to a blended learning approach that utilizes authentic online videos with comprehensible input to provide learners with additional exposure to the target language prior to class, and then creates interactional opportunities through active learning activities based around the video content to encourage learners’ output of the target language in class. Building on this view, a gamified flipped classroom approach is proposed in this study to help teachers develop beneficial classroom activities that can be engaging for English-language learners. The proposed approach combines the merits of flipping the classroom and game-based learning, leveraging the use of technology-enhanced board games (TEBGs) as in-class activity materials to gamify the flipped classroom. An evaluation was carried out to investigate the effects of the gamified flipped classroom approach on student engagement. The following research questions were posed: (1) How anxious were the students about speaking English in the flipped language classroom? (2) How motivated were the students to learn with the designed English learning materials in the flipped language classroom? Applying game-based learning strategy and materials Game-based learning can promote the active involvement of students in their learning, with the learning game playing a crucial role in fostering students’ cognitive and affective development (Hwang and Wu 2012). A learning game is defined as a purposeful and playful activity structured in a manner that players follow a set of rules to achieve certain learning goals (Ke 2016). Such games can provide immersive, simulated, or authentic contexts for learning, and may create enjoyable experiences for learners, hence acting as valuable mediation to active learning (Prensky 2007). While still under-researched, some pioneering studies have proposed board games as fruitful tools or materials for game-based learning. Hung and Young (2015) contended that guiding students to learn through a mobile-based board game using handheld devices could promote learner enjoyment and small-group interaction in the English classroom. Wu, Chen, and Huang (2014) constructed an interactive language-learning setting, featuring the use of a digital board game supported by a set of computerized equipment, including tabletop technology and interactive whiteboards. The results showed that the students’ English communication performance and intrinsic motivation for learning were enhanced, largely due to the face-to-face group interaction and the visualization of digital content enabled by the game-based learning environment. These studies have not only shown the potential of applying board games in classroom instruction, but have also demonstrated the feasibility of transforming conventional board games with the use of technology. Nevertheless, the programming skills required for game design, the expense required for high-end gameplay facilities, and the time required for the instructional design of game-based learning can make teachers reluctant to develop and/or adopt digital board games in their classrooms. In response to these hindrances, this study introduces the application of Quick Response (QR) codes to augment physical board games. QR codes are two-dimensional barcodes that can be read by dedicated decoders, with smartphones nowadays being used as typical QR code scanners. QR codes are perceived as a cost-effective and low-threshold technology that is simple to implement in educational contexts (Crompton, LaFrance, and van’t Hooft, 2012). For example, Chen, Teng, Lee, and Kinshuk (2011) incorporated QR codes to conduct paper-based English reading activities, in which students had to scan the printed QR codes to access the predesigned multimedia content over the Internet. Taking advantage of the affordability offered by such technology for connecting digital materials with physical ones, this study thus integrated QR codes into the design and development of TEBGs, which were implemented as game-based learning materials to support in-class activities in the established learning environment using the gamified flipped classroom approach. Methodology Participants The participants (N = 48) were two classes of university sophomores enrolled in a skill-based language course, ‘English Listening and Speaking Practice’, which aimed to develop their conversational skills in the target language. All the participants were Taiwanese students who were learning English as a foreign language (EFL). As measured by a placement examination on the first day of the course, most of them were intermediate-level learners in accordance with the proficiency guidelines of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. The participants were randomly assigned to the experimental and control groups, which were existing classes, and no significant difference in English proficiency was found between the two groups. All the participants were regular computer users, and most of them had experiences of blended and/or flipped learning prior to this investigation. Instructional design of the gamified versus non-gamified flipped classrooms A 3-week flipped classroom instructional design was integrated into the 18-week curriculum of the course under investigation. This micro-implementation was done to minimize the possible pitfalls resulting from radical changes in instructional conventions, as well as to reduce the workload of class preparation for both the students and teacher. Two different flipped classrooms were established for this study, with one designed for the experimental group (labelled as the gamified flipped classroom) and the other for the control group (labelled as the non-gamified flipped classroom). Each of the flipped classrooms contained three 50-minute lessons. Given the role of video as authentic input in flipped language classrooms, three video clips from TED-Ed (https://ed.ted.com/), a widely recognized source for flipped learning resources, were selected for inclusion in this flipped English classroom curriculum. These TED-Ed videos served as the basis of instruction for creating the materials to be used in the gamified and non-gamified flipped classrooms in the forms of teacher-made board games and printed worksheets, respectively. To prepare for classes, the students were instructed to self-study the video content using an English learning platform, VoiceTube (https://www.voicetube.com/). This platform contains multiple functionalities that are tailored to the various needs of English-language learners in their self-paced learning processes. For instance, given the participants’ linguistic background (L2 = English; L1 = Chinese), they can watch videos with English and/or Chinese captions, look up vocabulary items with the built-in dictionary, and review the video content with adjustable playback speed, to name just a few of the options. Consequently, while the selected video clips were available on the official website of TED-Ed, the participants were instead directed to study the weekly assigned TED-Ed videos using the VoiceTube platform. In terms of the instructional procedure, the two flipped classrooms (gamified versus non-gamified) both started with a self-study video-watching session before class, followed by a collaborative learning session and a teacher-led feedback session in class (see Table 1 for more details). In other words, both groups studied the same English learning videos on their own as class preparation, and then participated in equivalent classroom activities led by the same teacher, while the key difference lay in the way that the instructional materials were presented to guide the students in completing the designated in-class activities. To be clear, the experimental group learned with a gamified flipped classroom approach using teacher-made board games to participate in game-based learning activities, while the control group learned with a relatively conventional approach of flipped classroom using printed worksheets to facilitate group discussion activities. It is worth noting that the two types of materials used with both groups had identical content. Table 2 outlines the contrasting features of these materials, along with some sample questions based on one of the selected TED-Ed videos for this study (e.g. ‘Would you sacrifice one person to save five?’) table 1 Overview of a weekly lesson plan Major sessions Gamified flipped classroom Non-gamified or conventional flipped classroom Self-study session before class (varied individually for studying a 5-minute weekly video) The students study the assigned video on their own to prepare for the weekly lesson. The students study the assigned video on their own to prepare for the weekly lesson. Collaborative learning session in class (30–40 minutes) The students participate in the game-based learning activity by playing board games in small groups, as a way to review and assess their mastery of the video content. The students participate in the small group activity by answering and discussing the questions on the printed worksheet with the group members, as a way to review and assess their mastery of the video content. Teacher-led feedback session in class (10–20 minutes) The teacher concludes the weekly lesson by announcing the scores on leaderboard of the gameplay and providing supplementary comments on student performance. The teacher concludes the weekly lesson by revealing the worksheet answers and providing supplementary comments on student performance. Major sessions Gamified flipped classroom Non-gamified or conventional flipped classroom Self-study session before class (varied individually for studying a 5-minute weekly video) The students study the assigned video on their own to prepare for the weekly lesson. The students study the assigned video on their own to prepare for the weekly lesson. Collaborative learning session in class (30–40 minutes) The students participate in the game-based learning activity by playing board games in small groups, as a way to review and assess their mastery of the video content. The students participate in the small group activity by answering and discussing the questions on the printed worksheet with the group members, as a way to review and assess their mastery of the video content. Teacher-led feedback session in class (10–20 minutes) The teacher concludes the weekly lesson by announcing the scores on leaderboard of the gameplay and providing supplementary comments on student performance. The teacher concludes the weekly lesson by revealing the worksheet answers and providing supplementary comments on student performance. View Large table 1 Overview of a weekly lesson plan Major sessions Gamified flipped classroom Non-gamified or conventional flipped classroom Self-study session before class (varied individually for studying a 5-minute weekly video) The students study the assigned video on their own to prepare for the weekly lesson. The students study the assigned video on their own to prepare for the weekly lesson. Collaborative learning session in class (30–40 minutes) The students participate in the game-based learning activity by playing board games in small groups, as a way to review and assess their mastery of the video content. The students participate in the small group activity by answering and discussing the questions on the printed worksheet with the group members, as a way to review and assess their mastery of the video content. Teacher-led feedback session in class (10–20 minutes) The teacher concludes the weekly lesson by announcing the scores on leaderboard of the gameplay and providing supplementary comments on student performance. The teacher concludes the weekly lesson by revealing the worksheet answers and providing supplementary comments on student performance. Major sessions Gamified flipped classroom Non-gamified or conventional flipped classroom Self-study session before class (varied individually for studying a 5-minute weekly video) The students study the assigned video on their own to prepare for the weekly lesson. The students study the assigned video on their own to prepare for the weekly lesson. Collaborative learning session in class (30–40 minutes) The students participate in the game-based learning activity by playing board games in small groups, as a way to review and assess their mastery of the video content. The students participate in the small group activity by answering and discussing the questions on the printed worksheet with the group members, as a way to review and assess their mastery of the video content. Teacher-led feedback session in class (10–20 minutes) The teacher concludes the weekly lesson by announcing the scores on leaderboard of the gameplay and providing supplementary comments on student performance. The teacher concludes the weekly lesson by revealing the worksheet answers and providing supplementary comments on student performance. View Large table 2 Comparison of materials used with the experimental and control groups Teacher-made board games for the experimental group Printed worksheets for the control group Contrasting features • Mobile access to the content in digital format. • Display one question at a time on webpages, in a random order. • Allow for more flexibility of information processing, such as adjusting text size, reviewing video, and looking up vocabulary. • Tactile access to the content in printed format. • Display all questions at once on paper, in a prescribed order. • Allow for easy annotation with the simplicity of pen and paper. (Identical) sample questions Comprehension question: • The decision to flip the switch, sacrificing one worker to save five, is consistent with which philosophical principle? (A) Virtue ethics (B) Utilitarianism (C) Sentimentalism (D) The principle of moral equivalence Vocabulary question: • Please fill in the blank of the following statement, and define the vocabulary in your own words. ‘In one survey, about 90% of respondents said that it’s okay to flip the switch, letting one worker die to save five, and other studies, including a virtual reality simulation of the _______, have found similar results.’ Discussion questions: • If the one person to be sacrificed was a child, does that have an impact on your decision? Why or why not? • Have you encountered any dilemmas in life when you needed to make a tough decision as there are no good choices? Give a specific example. Teacher-made board games for the experimental group Printed worksheets for the control group Contrasting features • Mobile access to the content in digital format. • Display one question at a time on webpages, in a random order. • Allow for more flexibility of information processing, such as adjusting text size, reviewing video, and looking up vocabulary. • Tactile access to the content in printed format. • Display all questions at once on paper, in a prescribed order. • Allow for easy annotation with the simplicity of pen and paper. (Identical) sample questions Comprehension question: • The decision to flip the switch, sacrificing one worker to save five, is consistent with which philosophical principle? (A) Virtue ethics (B) Utilitarianism (C) Sentimentalism (D) The principle of moral equivalence Vocabulary question: • Please fill in the blank of the following statement, and define the vocabulary in your own words. ‘In one survey, about 90% of respondents said that it’s okay to flip the switch, letting one worker die to save five, and other studies, including a virtual reality simulation of the _______, have found similar results.’ Discussion questions: • If the one person to be sacrificed was a child, does that have an impact on your decision? Why or why not? • Have you encountered any dilemmas in life when you needed to make a tough decision as there are no good choices? Give a specific example. View Large table 2 Comparison of materials used with the experimental and control groups Teacher-made board games for the experimental group Printed worksheets for the control group Contrasting features • Mobile access to the content in digital format. • Display one question at a time on webpages, in a random order. • Allow for more flexibility of information processing, such as adjusting text size, reviewing video, and looking up vocabulary. • Tactile access to the content in printed format. • Display all questions at once on paper, in a prescribed order. • Allow for easy annotation with the simplicity of pen and paper. (Identical) sample questions Comprehension question: • The decision to flip the switch, sacrificing one worker to save five, is consistent with which philosophical principle? (A) Virtue ethics (B) Utilitarianism (C) Sentimentalism (D) The principle of moral equivalence Vocabulary question: • Please fill in the blank of the following statement, and define the vocabulary in your own words. ‘In one survey, about 90% of respondents said that it’s okay to flip the switch, letting one worker die to save five, and other studies, including a virtual reality simulation of the _______, have found similar results.’ Discussion questions: • If the one person to be sacrificed was a child, does that have an impact on your decision? Why or why not? • Have you encountered any dilemmas in life when you needed to make a tough decision as there are no good choices? Give a specific example. Teacher-made board games for the experimental group Printed worksheets for the control group Contrasting features • Mobile access to the content in digital format. • Display one question at a time on webpages, in a random order. • Allow for more flexibility of information processing, such as adjusting text size, reviewing video, and looking up vocabulary. • Tactile access to the content in printed format. • Display all questions at once on paper, in a prescribed order. • Allow for easy annotation with the simplicity of pen and paper. (Identical) sample questions Comprehension question: • The decision to flip the switch, sacrificing one worker to save five, is consistent with which philosophical principle? (A) Virtue ethics (B) Utilitarianism (C) Sentimentalism (D) The principle of moral equivalence Vocabulary question: • Please fill in the blank of the following statement, and define the vocabulary in your own words. ‘In one survey, about 90% of respondents said that it’s okay to flip the switch, letting one worker die to save five, and other studies, including a virtual reality simulation of the _______, have found similar results.’ Discussion questions: • If the one person to be sacrificed was a child, does that have an impact on your decision? Why or why not? • Have you encountered any dilemmas in life when you needed to make a tough decision as there are no good choices? Give a specific example. View Large Material design of the technology-enhanced board games Implemented as game-based learning materials in the gamified flipped classroom, three sets of TEBGs were created by the teacher to help the students review and reflect on the video content of the three lessons for this study. Each of the TEBGs comprises the following items: A game board: This was printed and laminated on an A2 sheet, with 20 spaces of equal size arranged in a rectangular pattern. A set of player tokens: The game was ideal for two to four players, and a number of player tokens were available to represent each player’s gaming status or location on the board. A dice: This was used to determine the number of spaces a player could move around the board. Additionally, it was used to indicate the number of points obtained by the players at each turn. A deck of QR-code cards: These were printed and laminated on small cards (5 × 5 cm) in the form of QR codes, directing the players to the prepared digital content in the form of webpages when scanned by a mobile device with a QR-code reader. The triggered content of the QR-code cards contained a variety of opportunities to win or lose (e.g. ‘You win a turn and may pair up with another player for both to get three additional points’ and ‘You lose a turn’) as well as various video-based learning questions (as shown in Table 2) that the players had to answer correctly to obtain points. A regular gaming session took approximately 30 minutes, with game players competing against one another. To start with, the players randomly placed all the QR-code cards onto the spaces of the game board. The players then took turns to move around the spaces to earn game points by throwing the dice. A typical player turn is illustrated in Appendix 1. During the gameplay all the players had to communicate in the target language, English, while the teacher circulated around the classroom and provided assistance as needed. The game design is based on the spirit of simple question-and-answer games. What distinguishes the TEBGs from common board games is the integration of QR codes to deliver digital content via mobile technology, which constitutes the technology component of the TEBGs. To be clear, the QR codes were mainly used to provide the students with immediate access to the digital content presented on webpages, from where they could view the learning questions, review the source video, and look up vocabulary items, using their own smartphones or any other mobile devices. In this study, the QR codes for the TEBGs were generated using QRCode Monkey (https://www.qrcode-monkey.com/), and their linked webpages were created using Google Sites (https://sites.google.com/). Both tools are free of charge, which is the main reason why they were adopted. Data collection This study utilized both quantitative and qualitative data to answer the two research questions concerning English-speaking anxiety and student motivation. The entire study period lasted for six weeks, as outlined below. The pre-intervention questionnaire, conducted in the first week, was used to measure the students’ baseline English-speaking anxiety in traditional classrooms before participating in this study. It consisted of six speaking-related items derived from the Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (Horwitz, Horwitz, and Cope 1986), and measured with a Likert scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). These items were slightly reworded from the original version by specifying English as the target language in order to reflect the current research focus in EFL settings. During the second to fourth weeks, namely the 3-week flipped classroom curriculum part of their course, both groups followed the same guidelines for self-study prior to class, and then participated in in-class activities for a 50-minute class period every week. Given the purpose of this study, the experimental group learned through the TEBGs in the weekly class meetings, while the control group made use of printed worksheets to complete equivalent flipped classroom activities. In the fifth week, all the participants were asked to fill out a post-intervention questionnaire, containing two parts with a five-point Likert rating scheme. The first part consisted of six identical items used in the pre-intervention questionnaire to determine any changes in the students’ English-speaking anxiety, and the second part consisted of 12 items that were modified from Keller’s (2010) Instructional Materials Motivation Survey to examine the students’ perceptions of learning with the teacher-made materials. Specifically, the version for the experimental group centred on the evaluation of the TEBGs, while the one for the control group focused on the printed worksheets. As shown in Appendix 2, the modified motivation survey (for the experimental group) contained 12 items belonging to the four subscales: attention (items 1, 5, 9), relevance (items 2, 6, 10), confidence (items 3, 7, 11), and satisfaction (items 4, 8, 12). Lastly, both the experimental and control groups were asked to participate in interviews on an individual basis. Each interview took about 10 minutes. These interviews were audio-recorded and then content analysed in order to supplement the quantitative analyses of this study. With this aim, the interview protocol corresponded to the research questions, as follows: (1) Did participating in the classroom activities make you anxious? (2) Was participating in the classroom activities motivating to you? To elicit in-depth information, the participants were also asked to state their reasons for their responses. Due to limitations of space, this article only reports the perceptions of the experimental group who studied with the TEBGs in the gamified flipped classroom. Results Analysis of English-speaking anxiety The students’ English-speaking anxiety was measured using the pre- and post-questionnaires. Before the intervention, both groups reported similar anxiety levels when learning in conventional language classrooms; the average pre-questionnaire ratings were 3.47 (SD = 1.09) for the experimental group and 3.45 (SD = 1.01) for the control group. As shown in Table 3, the group means of the students’ perceived anxiety related to English-speaking situations in the flipped classroom were reduced to 2.23 (SD = 0.66) for the experimental group, and 3.27 (SD = 0.98) for the control group. The improvements seen for both groups might have been made due to the treatment conditions, with the gamified flipped classroom established for the experimental group being more beneficial in this regard. The one-way analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) results further revealed a significant difference between the two groups (F = 52.43, p < 0.01), indicating that the gamified flipped classroom was more effective than the non-gamified one in terms of decreasing the students’ English-speaking anxiety. table 3 The means and standard deviations of both groups’ post-questionnaire ratings on English speaking anxiety Items on English speaking anxiety Experimental group (N = 24) Control group (N = 24) M SD M SD (1) I never feel quite sure of myself when I am speaking English in my English classes. 2.25 0.79 3.29 1.04 (2) I get nervous and confused when I am speaking English in my English classes. 2.33 0.76 3.33 1.13 (3) I feel very self-conscious about speaking English in front of other students. 2.29 0.81 3.21 1.02 (4) I start to panic when I have to speak English without preparation in my English classes. 2.38 0.82 3.33 1.20 (5) It embarrasses me to volunteer answers in my English classes. 2.17 0.87 3.38 1.06 (6) I am afraid that the other students will laugh at me when I speak English. 2.00 0.66 3.13 1.08 Overall 2.23 0.66 3.27 0.98 Items on English speaking anxiety Experimental group (N = 24) Control group (N = 24) M SD M SD (1) I never feel quite sure of myself when I am speaking English in my English classes. 2.25 0.79 3.29 1.04 (2) I get nervous and confused when I am speaking English in my English classes. 2.33 0.76 3.33 1.13 (3) I feel very self-conscious about speaking English in front of other students. 2.29 0.81 3.21 1.02 (4) I start to panic when I have to speak English without preparation in my English classes. 2.38 0.82 3.33 1.20 (5) It embarrasses me to volunteer answers in my English classes. 2.17 0.87 3.38 1.06 (6) I am afraid that the other students will laugh at me when I speak English. 2.00 0.66 3.13 1.08 Overall 2.23 0.66 3.27 0.98 View Large table 3 The means and standard deviations of both groups’ post-questionnaire ratings on English speaking anxiety Items on English speaking anxiety Experimental group (N = 24) Control group (N = 24) M SD M SD (1) I never feel quite sure of myself when I am speaking English in my English classes. 2.25 0.79 3.29 1.04 (2) I get nervous and confused when I am speaking English in my English classes. 2.33 0.76 3.33 1.13 (3) I feel very self-conscious about speaking English in front of other students. 2.29 0.81 3.21 1.02 (4) I start to panic when I have to speak English without preparation in my English classes. 2.38 0.82 3.33 1.20 (5) It embarrasses me to volunteer answers in my English classes. 2.17 0.87 3.38 1.06 (6) I am afraid that the other students will laugh at me when I speak English. 2.00 0.66 3.13 1.08 Overall 2.23 0.66 3.27 0.98 Items on English speaking anxiety Experimental group (N = 24) Control group (N = 24) M SD M SD (1) I never feel quite sure of myself when I am speaking English in my English classes. 2.25 0.79 3.29 1.04 (2) I get nervous and confused when I am speaking English in my English classes. 2.33 0.76 3.33 1.13 (3) I feel very self-conscious about speaking English in front of other students. 2.29 0.81 3.21 1.02 (4) I start to panic when I have to speak English without preparation in my English classes. 2.38 0.82 3.33 1.20 (5) It embarrasses me to volunteer answers in my English classes. 2.17 0.87 3.38 1.06 (6) I am afraid that the other students will laugh at me when I speak English. 2.00 0.66 3.13 1.08 Overall 2.23 0.66 3.27 0.98 View Large According to the interviews, most of the students (83 per cent) described the classroom atmosphere as inviting and interactive, which made them more inclined to speak up in class. Many of the students (75 per cent) also commented that learning in the gamified flipped classroom was a playful and non-threatening experience, and thus they were more willing to communicate in the target language with less anxiety. Approximately half of the students (46 per cent) noted that although the game itself was not as entertaining as commercial board games, they enjoyed the group interaction during the gameplay and felt comfortable expressing their ideas and feelings in English. Analysis of student motivation The students’ motivation with regard to learning with the materials designed for the flipped classroom activities was assessed using the post-questionnaire. An independent-samples t-test was conducted to compare both groups’ motivational perspectives, as indicated by the subscales of attention, relevance, confidence, and satisfaction of the Instructional Materials Motivation Survey. As shown in Table 4, the overall motivation scores were significantly different between the two groups (t = 3.23, p < 0.01). Furthermore, the experimental group consistently reported higher ratings than the control group across the four subscales, with the subscales of attention (t = 9.08, p < 0.01) and satisfaction (t = 3.21, p < 0.01) showing significance. The results indicated that the students in the experimental group were overwhelmingly motivated to learn with the game-based learning materials. table 4 The independent-samples t-test results of both groups’ self-rated motivation in the post-questionnaire Subscale Experimental group (N = 24) Control group (N = 24) t M SD M SD Attention 4.43 0.58 3.00 0.51 9.08* Relevance 4.00 0.66 3.63 0.71 1.89 Confidence 4.25 0.61 4.00 0.59 1.45 Satisfaction 4.67 0.48 4.21 0.51 3.21* Overall 4.33 0.48 3.92 0.41 3.23* Subscale Experimental group (N = 24) Control group (N = 24) t M SD M SD Attention 4.43 0.58 3.00 0.51 9.08* Relevance 4.00 0.66 3.63 0.71 1.89 Confidence 4.25 0.61 4.00 0.59 1.45 Satisfaction 4.67 0.48 4.21 0.51 3.21* Overall 4.33 0.48 3.92 0.41 3.23* *Significance: p < 0.01. View Large table 4 The independent-samples t-test results of both groups’ self-rated motivation in the post-questionnaire Subscale Experimental group (N = 24) Control group (N = 24) t M SD M SD Attention 4.43 0.58 3.00 0.51 9.08* Relevance 4.00 0.66 3.63 0.71 1.89 Confidence 4.25 0.61 4.00 0.59 1.45 Satisfaction 4.67 0.48 4.21 0.51 3.21* Overall 4.33 0.48 3.92 0.41 3.23* Subscale Experimental group (N = 24) Control group (N = 24) t M SD M SD Attention 4.43 0.58 3.00 0.51 9.08* Relevance 4.00 0.66 3.63 0.71 1.89 Confidence 4.25 0.61 4.00 0.59 1.45 Satisfaction 4.67 0.48 4.21 0.51 3.21* Overall 4.33 0.48 3.92 0.41 3.23* *Significance: p < 0.01. View Large Most of the interview comments about the game-based learning materials or the TEBGs revolved around the technological components. Nearly all the students (96 per cent) thought the use of QR codes was a clever way for teachers to deliver content and for students to access it via personal mobile devices. They repeatedly mentioned how much they liked the educational use of mobile technology in class. One student noted: ‘Being encouraged to use my smartphone for classroom activities is amazing, as in other classes it would be banned.’ Many of the students (83 per cent) expressed their satisfaction with the inclusion of the TEBGs in the gamified flipped classroom. One student commented: Learning with board games was fun, and much more interesting than traditional textbooks and worksheets. The design and use of the teacher-made board games caught my attention and kept me focused throughout the learning process, which I would not otherwise do. Another noted: I found myself more confident in learning English because I felt that I was just playing a game, rather than completing an exercise or taking a quiz. I would not lose face even if I lost the game or performed poorly, because it was just a game. In short, the qualitative results obtained from the interviews support the quantitative findings of this study, and provide further insights into the students’ motivational perspectives on the use of TEBGs as game-based learning materials in the gamified flipped classroom. Discussions and conclusions This study is a quasi-experiment comparing two different flipped English classrooms to examine the impacts of the different approaches on the affective domain of student learning. The overall results suggest that the gamified flipped classroom is beneficial for EFL learners as it reduces their anxiety about speaking English in class and enhances their motivation to take part in classroom activities. At a broad level, the results of this study are in accord with prior research (Yu and Wang 2016), which showed that flipping the classroom creates an interactive environment where EFL learners participate actively to learn with and from one another. At a more specific level, the current study is unique in its adoption of a game-based learning strategy with the mediation of TEBGs to gamify the dynamics of flipped classrooms. A recent study (Hwang, Hsu, Lai, and Hsueh 2017) has shown the effect of a researcher-developed learning game on motivating EFL learners to persevere in completing learning-by-playing tasks, while also reducing their English anxiety. The current study confirms the value of using games for English learning, and further argues for the consideration of board games that are augmented by QR technology as an alternative to existing genres of learning games. It is thus hoped that some teachers will become early adopters of the gamified flipped classroom approach and even material designers of digitally augmented board games. The TEBGs implemented in this study offer several benefits. First, the use of QR codes to provide immediate access to digital content has low start-up costs, both in terms of money and time, because QR-code generators and readers are freely available to users and easy to operate (Crompton, LaFrance, and van’t Hooft 2012). Second, using personal mobile devices to learn by playing the TEBGs is in line with the Bring-Your-Own-Device trend of increasing integration of technology in higher education (Johnson, Adams Becker, Estrada, and Freeman 2015), and recent research has revealed a high acceptance of Bring-Your-Own-Devices by students in flipped classrooms (Hao 2016). Third, teacher-made board games for flipped classrooms enable the teacher–designer to purposefully align the game goals with the intentional learning content, which may not be possible when using commercial or off-the-shelf board games, as these are likely to be less flexible. However, some limitations can be identified in this study, and should therefore be addressed in future research. First of all, it is notable that while the use of TEBGs demonstrated in this work was capable of enhancing student motivation, this effect might be short-lived once their novelty has worn off. Future studies are thus recommended to conduct longitudinal investigations in order to determine the long-term impacts of such game-based learning materials on student learning. In developing board games for classroom use, teachers are also strongly encouraged to go beyond the question-and-answer structure by incorporating diverse game mechanics (e.g. voting, bidding, and set collection) to keep their students motivated. Another important limitation of this study was the lack of any measurement of the students’ language-learning outcomes, in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed approach. It is thus suggested that empirical data be collected via achievement tests or similar outcome measures in future studies in order to examine the pedagogical impacts of the proposed approach on language acquisition. To conclude, this study offers an integrated approach combining an active learning strategy (i.e. game-based learning) with associated learning materials (i.e. teacher-made board games enhanced by technology) to gamify the in-class activities of flipped language classrooms, which on the whole has proven to be effective for enhancing student engagement. Despite these findings, however, how to flip, and with what innovative approaches, are important questions that require careful thought and further investigation in order to obtain the maximum benefits of flipped classrooms. Acknowledgement This research was sponsored by the Ministry of Science and Technology in Taiwan under contract number MOST-106-2628-S327-001-MY3. References Bergmann , J. and A. Sams . 2012 . Flip your Classroom: Reach every Student in every Class every Day . Eugene, OR : International Society for Technology in Education . Chen , N. S. , D. C. E. Teng , C. H. Lee , and Kinshuk . 2011 . ‘ Augmenting paper-based reading activity with direct access to digital materials and scaffolded questioning ’. Computers & Education 57 / 2 ,: 1705 – 15 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Crompton , H. , J. LaFrance , and M. van’t Hooft . 2012 . ‘ QR codes 101 ’. Learning & Leading with Technology 39 / 8 : 22 – 25 . Hao , Y . 2016 . ‘ Middle school students’ flipped learning readiness in foreign language classrooms: exploring its relationship with personal characteristics and individual circumstances ’. Computers in Human Behavior 59 : 295 – 303 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Hung , H. C. and S. S. C. Young . 2015 . ‘ An investigation of game-embedded handheld devices to enhance English learning ’. Journal of Educational Computing Research 52 / 4 : 548 – 67 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Horwitz , E. K. , M. B. Horwitz , and J. Cope . 1986 . ‘ Foreign language classroom anxiety ’. Modern Language Journal 70 / 2 : 125 – 32 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Hwang , G. J. and P. H. Wu . 2012 . ‘ Advancements and trends in digital game-based learning research: a review of publications in selected journals from 2001 to 2010 ’. British Journal of Educational Technology 43 / 1 : E6 – E10 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Hwang , G. J. , T. C. Hsu , C. L. Lai , and C. J. Hsueh . 2017 . ‘ Interaction of problem-based gaming and learning anxiety in language students’ English listening performance and progressive behavioral patterns ’. Computers & Education 106 : 26 – 42 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Johnson , L. , S. Adams Becker , V. Estrada , and A. Freeman . 2015 . NMC Horizon Report: 2015 Higher Education Edition . Austin, TX : The New Media Consortium . Ke , F . 2016 . ‘ Designing and integrating purposeful learning in game play: a systematic review ’. Educational Technology Research and Development 64 / 2 : 219 – 44 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Keller , J. M . 2010 . Motivational Design for Learning and Performance: The ARCS Model Approach . New York : Springer . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Kostka , I. and R. Brinks-Lockwood . 2015 . ‘ What’s on the Internet for flipping English language instruction ?’ TESOL-EJ 19 : 1 – 12 . Prensky , M . 2007 . Digital Game-Based Learning . Saint Paul, MN : Paragon House . Wu , C. J. , G. D. Chen , and C. W. Huang . 2014 . ‘ Using digital board games for genuine communication in EFL classrooms ’. Educational Technology Research and Development 62 : 209 – 26 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Yu , Z. and G. Wang . 2016 . ‘ Academic achievements and satisfaction of the clicker-aided flipped business English writing class ’. Educational Technology & Society 19 : 298 – 312 . Zack, L., J. Fuselier, A. Graham-Squire, R. Lamb, and K. O’Hara. 2015. Flipping freshman mathematics. Primus 25: 803–13. Appendix 1: An illustration of a typical player turn during the gameplay Appendix 2: Instructional materials motivation survey © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press; all rights reserved. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/open_access/funder_policies/chorus/standard_publication_model) http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png ELT Journal Oxford University Press

Gamifying the flipped classroom using game-based learning materials

ELT Journal , Volume Advance Article (3) – Feb 21, 2018

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Oxford University Press
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© The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press; all rights reserved.
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0951-0893
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1477-4526
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10.1093/elt/ccx055
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Abstract

Abstract Many proponents of flipped classrooms have sought to develop innovative approaches in order to advance the knowledge base of effective practices. In this study, a gamified flipped classroom approach is thus proposed to help teachers design and incorporate classroom activities that can be engaging to students. The proposed approach combines the advantages of flipped classrooms and game-based learning, leveraging the use of technology-enhanced board games (TEBGs) to nurture student engagement. What distinguishes the TEBGs from common board games is the integration of Quick Response (QR) codes to deliver digital content via mobile technology. The research results suggest that the proposed approach is beneficial for English-language learners by reducing their anxiety about speaking English in class and enhancing their motivation to take part in classroom activities. It is thus hoped that more enthusiastic teachers will become early adopters of the gamified flipped classroom approach. Introduction Flipping the classroom is seen as a student-centred approach to teaching and learning across disciplines. In a flipped classroom, students are provided with an option to access the teacher’s lectures in advance in the form of instructional videos, and the instruction or lecture time in class can thus be devoted to learning activities that are believed to be more beneficial to students (Bergmann and Sams 2012). Nevertheless, what counts as a ‘beneficial’ learning activity is loosely defined in the current literature, allowing flexibility for teachers who wish to be innovative in their implementation of a flipped classroom, while also creating uncertainty for others. It follows that one challenge facing novice teachers who want to flip their classes is how to make the best of the freed-up class time to foster the engagement of students. Furthermore, research has shown mixed results regarding the effects of the flipped classroom approach on student perceptions; for example, students may conceive the face-to-face instruction to have a lack of structure as the teacher moves off the stage to become a guide on the side (Zack, Fuselier, Graham-Squire, Lamb, and O’Hara 2015). It should also be noted that the generic definition of the flipped classroom approach stated above, while applicable to most disciplines featuring lecture-based instruction, may not fully reflect the actual situation of teaching and learning in some contexts and disciplines. Language education is one such example, as teaching by lecturing is increasingly rare in modern language classrooms (Kostka and Brinks-Lockwood 2015). Therefore, a more contextualized understanding of flipping the language classroom refers to a blended learning approach that utilizes authentic online videos with comprehensible input to provide learners with additional exposure to the target language prior to class, and then creates interactional opportunities through active learning activities based around the video content to encourage learners’ output of the target language in class. Building on this view, a gamified flipped classroom approach is proposed in this study to help teachers develop beneficial classroom activities that can be engaging for English-language learners. The proposed approach combines the merits of flipping the classroom and game-based learning, leveraging the use of technology-enhanced board games (TEBGs) as in-class activity materials to gamify the flipped classroom. An evaluation was carried out to investigate the effects of the gamified flipped classroom approach on student engagement. The following research questions were posed: (1) How anxious were the students about speaking English in the flipped language classroom? (2) How motivated were the students to learn with the designed English learning materials in the flipped language classroom? Applying game-based learning strategy and materials Game-based learning can promote the active involvement of students in their learning, with the learning game playing a crucial role in fostering students’ cognitive and affective development (Hwang and Wu 2012). A learning game is defined as a purposeful and playful activity structured in a manner that players follow a set of rules to achieve certain learning goals (Ke 2016). Such games can provide immersive, simulated, or authentic contexts for learning, and may create enjoyable experiences for learners, hence acting as valuable mediation to active learning (Prensky 2007). While still under-researched, some pioneering studies have proposed board games as fruitful tools or materials for game-based learning. Hung and Young (2015) contended that guiding students to learn through a mobile-based board game using handheld devices could promote learner enjoyment and small-group interaction in the English classroom. Wu, Chen, and Huang (2014) constructed an interactive language-learning setting, featuring the use of a digital board game supported by a set of computerized equipment, including tabletop technology and interactive whiteboards. The results showed that the students’ English communication performance and intrinsic motivation for learning were enhanced, largely due to the face-to-face group interaction and the visualization of digital content enabled by the game-based learning environment. These studies have not only shown the potential of applying board games in classroom instruction, but have also demonstrated the feasibility of transforming conventional board games with the use of technology. Nevertheless, the programming skills required for game design, the expense required for high-end gameplay facilities, and the time required for the instructional design of game-based learning can make teachers reluctant to develop and/or adopt digital board games in their classrooms. In response to these hindrances, this study introduces the application of Quick Response (QR) codes to augment physical board games. QR codes are two-dimensional barcodes that can be read by dedicated decoders, with smartphones nowadays being used as typical QR code scanners. QR codes are perceived as a cost-effective and low-threshold technology that is simple to implement in educational contexts (Crompton, LaFrance, and van’t Hooft, 2012). For example, Chen, Teng, Lee, and Kinshuk (2011) incorporated QR codes to conduct paper-based English reading activities, in which students had to scan the printed QR codes to access the predesigned multimedia content over the Internet. Taking advantage of the affordability offered by such technology for connecting digital materials with physical ones, this study thus integrated QR codes into the design and development of TEBGs, which were implemented as game-based learning materials to support in-class activities in the established learning environment using the gamified flipped classroom approach. Methodology Participants The participants (N = 48) were two classes of university sophomores enrolled in a skill-based language course, ‘English Listening and Speaking Practice’, which aimed to develop their conversational skills in the target language. All the participants were Taiwanese students who were learning English as a foreign language (EFL). As measured by a placement examination on the first day of the course, most of them were intermediate-level learners in accordance with the proficiency guidelines of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. The participants were randomly assigned to the experimental and control groups, which were existing classes, and no significant difference in English proficiency was found between the two groups. All the participants were regular computer users, and most of them had experiences of blended and/or flipped learning prior to this investigation. Instructional design of the gamified versus non-gamified flipped classrooms A 3-week flipped classroom instructional design was integrated into the 18-week curriculum of the course under investigation. This micro-implementation was done to minimize the possible pitfalls resulting from radical changes in instructional conventions, as well as to reduce the workload of class preparation for both the students and teacher. Two different flipped classrooms were established for this study, with one designed for the experimental group (labelled as the gamified flipped classroom) and the other for the control group (labelled as the non-gamified flipped classroom). Each of the flipped classrooms contained three 50-minute lessons. Given the role of video as authentic input in flipped language classrooms, three video clips from TED-Ed (https://ed.ted.com/), a widely recognized source for flipped learning resources, were selected for inclusion in this flipped English classroom curriculum. These TED-Ed videos served as the basis of instruction for creating the materials to be used in the gamified and non-gamified flipped classrooms in the forms of teacher-made board games and printed worksheets, respectively. To prepare for classes, the students were instructed to self-study the video content using an English learning platform, VoiceTube (https://www.voicetube.com/). This platform contains multiple functionalities that are tailored to the various needs of English-language learners in their self-paced learning processes. For instance, given the participants’ linguistic background (L2 = English; L1 = Chinese), they can watch videos with English and/or Chinese captions, look up vocabulary items with the built-in dictionary, and review the video content with adjustable playback speed, to name just a few of the options. Consequently, while the selected video clips were available on the official website of TED-Ed, the participants were instead directed to study the weekly assigned TED-Ed videos using the VoiceTube platform. In terms of the instructional procedure, the two flipped classrooms (gamified versus non-gamified) both started with a self-study video-watching session before class, followed by a collaborative learning session and a teacher-led feedback session in class (see Table 1 for more details). In other words, both groups studied the same English learning videos on their own as class preparation, and then participated in equivalent classroom activities led by the same teacher, while the key difference lay in the way that the instructional materials were presented to guide the students in completing the designated in-class activities. To be clear, the experimental group learned with a gamified flipped classroom approach using teacher-made board games to participate in game-based learning activities, while the control group learned with a relatively conventional approach of flipped classroom using printed worksheets to facilitate group discussion activities. It is worth noting that the two types of materials used with both groups had identical content. Table 2 outlines the contrasting features of these materials, along with some sample questions based on one of the selected TED-Ed videos for this study (e.g. ‘Would you sacrifice one person to save five?’) table 1 Overview of a weekly lesson plan Major sessions Gamified flipped classroom Non-gamified or conventional flipped classroom Self-study session before class (varied individually for studying a 5-minute weekly video) The students study the assigned video on their own to prepare for the weekly lesson. The students study the assigned video on their own to prepare for the weekly lesson. Collaborative learning session in class (30–40 minutes) The students participate in the game-based learning activity by playing board games in small groups, as a way to review and assess their mastery of the video content. The students participate in the small group activity by answering and discussing the questions on the printed worksheet with the group members, as a way to review and assess their mastery of the video content. Teacher-led feedback session in class (10–20 minutes) The teacher concludes the weekly lesson by announcing the scores on leaderboard of the gameplay and providing supplementary comments on student performance. The teacher concludes the weekly lesson by revealing the worksheet answers and providing supplementary comments on student performance. Major sessions Gamified flipped classroom Non-gamified or conventional flipped classroom Self-study session before class (varied individually for studying a 5-minute weekly video) The students study the assigned video on their own to prepare for the weekly lesson. The students study the assigned video on their own to prepare for the weekly lesson. Collaborative learning session in class (30–40 minutes) The students participate in the game-based learning activity by playing board games in small groups, as a way to review and assess their mastery of the video content. The students participate in the small group activity by answering and discussing the questions on the printed worksheet with the group members, as a way to review and assess their mastery of the video content. Teacher-led feedback session in class (10–20 minutes) The teacher concludes the weekly lesson by announcing the scores on leaderboard of the gameplay and providing supplementary comments on student performance. The teacher concludes the weekly lesson by revealing the worksheet answers and providing supplementary comments on student performance. View Large table 1 Overview of a weekly lesson plan Major sessions Gamified flipped classroom Non-gamified or conventional flipped classroom Self-study session before class (varied individually for studying a 5-minute weekly video) The students study the assigned video on their own to prepare for the weekly lesson. The students study the assigned video on their own to prepare for the weekly lesson. Collaborative learning session in class (30–40 minutes) The students participate in the game-based learning activity by playing board games in small groups, as a way to review and assess their mastery of the video content. The students participate in the small group activity by answering and discussing the questions on the printed worksheet with the group members, as a way to review and assess their mastery of the video content. Teacher-led feedback session in class (10–20 minutes) The teacher concludes the weekly lesson by announcing the scores on leaderboard of the gameplay and providing supplementary comments on student performance. The teacher concludes the weekly lesson by revealing the worksheet answers and providing supplementary comments on student performance. Major sessions Gamified flipped classroom Non-gamified or conventional flipped classroom Self-study session before class (varied individually for studying a 5-minute weekly video) The students study the assigned video on their own to prepare for the weekly lesson. The students study the assigned video on their own to prepare for the weekly lesson. Collaborative learning session in class (30–40 minutes) The students participate in the game-based learning activity by playing board games in small groups, as a way to review and assess their mastery of the video content. The students participate in the small group activity by answering and discussing the questions on the printed worksheet with the group members, as a way to review and assess their mastery of the video content. Teacher-led feedback session in class (10–20 minutes) The teacher concludes the weekly lesson by announcing the scores on leaderboard of the gameplay and providing supplementary comments on student performance. The teacher concludes the weekly lesson by revealing the worksheet answers and providing supplementary comments on student performance. View Large table 2 Comparison of materials used with the experimental and control groups Teacher-made board games for the experimental group Printed worksheets for the control group Contrasting features • Mobile access to the content in digital format. • Display one question at a time on webpages, in a random order. • Allow for more flexibility of information processing, such as adjusting text size, reviewing video, and looking up vocabulary. • Tactile access to the content in printed format. • Display all questions at once on paper, in a prescribed order. • Allow for easy annotation with the simplicity of pen and paper. (Identical) sample questions Comprehension question: • The decision to flip the switch, sacrificing one worker to save five, is consistent with which philosophical principle? (A) Virtue ethics (B) Utilitarianism (C) Sentimentalism (D) The principle of moral equivalence Vocabulary question: • Please fill in the blank of the following statement, and define the vocabulary in your own words. ‘In one survey, about 90% of respondents said that it’s okay to flip the switch, letting one worker die to save five, and other studies, including a virtual reality simulation of the _______, have found similar results.’ Discussion questions: • If the one person to be sacrificed was a child, does that have an impact on your decision? Why or why not? • Have you encountered any dilemmas in life when you needed to make a tough decision as there are no good choices? Give a specific example. Teacher-made board games for the experimental group Printed worksheets for the control group Contrasting features • Mobile access to the content in digital format. • Display one question at a time on webpages, in a random order. • Allow for more flexibility of information processing, such as adjusting text size, reviewing video, and looking up vocabulary. • Tactile access to the content in printed format. • Display all questions at once on paper, in a prescribed order. • Allow for easy annotation with the simplicity of pen and paper. (Identical) sample questions Comprehension question: • The decision to flip the switch, sacrificing one worker to save five, is consistent with which philosophical principle? (A) Virtue ethics (B) Utilitarianism (C) Sentimentalism (D) The principle of moral equivalence Vocabulary question: • Please fill in the blank of the following statement, and define the vocabulary in your own words. ‘In one survey, about 90% of respondents said that it’s okay to flip the switch, letting one worker die to save five, and other studies, including a virtual reality simulation of the _______, have found similar results.’ Discussion questions: • If the one person to be sacrificed was a child, does that have an impact on your decision? Why or why not? • Have you encountered any dilemmas in life when you needed to make a tough decision as there are no good choices? Give a specific example. View Large table 2 Comparison of materials used with the experimental and control groups Teacher-made board games for the experimental group Printed worksheets for the control group Contrasting features • Mobile access to the content in digital format. • Display one question at a time on webpages, in a random order. • Allow for more flexibility of information processing, such as adjusting text size, reviewing video, and looking up vocabulary. • Tactile access to the content in printed format. • Display all questions at once on paper, in a prescribed order. • Allow for easy annotation with the simplicity of pen and paper. (Identical) sample questions Comprehension question: • The decision to flip the switch, sacrificing one worker to save five, is consistent with which philosophical principle? (A) Virtue ethics (B) Utilitarianism (C) Sentimentalism (D) The principle of moral equivalence Vocabulary question: • Please fill in the blank of the following statement, and define the vocabulary in your own words. ‘In one survey, about 90% of respondents said that it’s okay to flip the switch, letting one worker die to save five, and other studies, including a virtual reality simulation of the _______, have found similar results.’ Discussion questions: • If the one person to be sacrificed was a child, does that have an impact on your decision? Why or why not? • Have you encountered any dilemmas in life when you needed to make a tough decision as there are no good choices? Give a specific example. Teacher-made board games for the experimental group Printed worksheets for the control group Contrasting features • Mobile access to the content in digital format. • Display one question at a time on webpages, in a random order. • Allow for more flexibility of information processing, such as adjusting text size, reviewing video, and looking up vocabulary. • Tactile access to the content in printed format. • Display all questions at once on paper, in a prescribed order. • Allow for easy annotation with the simplicity of pen and paper. (Identical) sample questions Comprehension question: • The decision to flip the switch, sacrificing one worker to save five, is consistent with which philosophical principle? (A) Virtue ethics (B) Utilitarianism (C) Sentimentalism (D) The principle of moral equivalence Vocabulary question: • Please fill in the blank of the following statement, and define the vocabulary in your own words. ‘In one survey, about 90% of respondents said that it’s okay to flip the switch, letting one worker die to save five, and other studies, including a virtual reality simulation of the _______, have found similar results.’ Discussion questions: • If the one person to be sacrificed was a child, does that have an impact on your decision? Why or why not? • Have you encountered any dilemmas in life when you needed to make a tough decision as there are no good choices? Give a specific example. View Large Material design of the technology-enhanced board games Implemented as game-based learning materials in the gamified flipped classroom, three sets of TEBGs were created by the teacher to help the students review and reflect on the video content of the three lessons for this study. Each of the TEBGs comprises the following items: A game board: This was printed and laminated on an A2 sheet, with 20 spaces of equal size arranged in a rectangular pattern. A set of player tokens: The game was ideal for two to four players, and a number of player tokens were available to represent each player’s gaming status or location on the board. A dice: This was used to determine the number of spaces a player could move around the board. Additionally, it was used to indicate the number of points obtained by the players at each turn. A deck of QR-code cards: These were printed and laminated on small cards (5 × 5 cm) in the form of QR codes, directing the players to the prepared digital content in the form of webpages when scanned by a mobile device with a QR-code reader. The triggered content of the QR-code cards contained a variety of opportunities to win or lose (e.g. ‘You win a turn and may pair up with another player for both to get three additional points’ and ‘You lose a turn’) as well as various video-based learning questions (as shown in Table 2) that the players had to answer correctly to obtain points. A regular gaming session took approximately 30 minutes, with game players competing against one another. To start with, the players randomly placed all the QR-code cards onto the spaces of the game board. The players then took turns to move around the spaces to earn game points by throwing the dice. A typical player turn is illustrated in Appendix 1. During the gameplay all the players had to communicate in the target language, English, while the teacher circulated around the classroom and provided assistance as needed. The game design is based on the spirit of simple question-and-answer games. What distinguishes the TEBGs from common board games is the integration of QR codes to deliver digital content via mobile technology, which constitutes the technology component of the TEBGs. To be clear, the QR codes were mainly used to provide the students with immediate access to the digital content presented on webpages, from where they could view the learning questions, review the source video, and look up vocabulary items, using their own smartphones or any other mobile devices. In this study, the QR codes for the TEBGs were generated using QRCode Monkey (https://www.qrcode-monkey.com/), and their linked webpages were created using Google Sites (https://sites.google.com/). Both tools are free of charge, which is the main reason why they were adopted. Data collection This study utilized both quantitative and qualitative data to answer the two research questions concerning English-speaking anxiety and student motivation. The entire study period lasted for six weeks, as outlined below. The pre-intervention questionnaire, conducted in the first week, was used to measure the students’ baseline English-speaking anxiety in traditional classrooms before participating in this study. It consisted of six speaking-related items derived from the Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (Horwitz, Horwitz, and Cope 1986), and measured with a Likert scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). These items were slightly reworded from the original version by specifying English as the target language in order to reflect the current research focus in EFL settings. During the second to fourth weeks, namely the 3-week flipped classroom curriculum part of their course, both groups followed the same guidelines for self-study prior to class, and then participated in in-class activities for a 50-minute class period every week. Given the purpose of this study, the experimental group learned through the TEBGs in the weekly class meetings, while the control group made use of printed worksheets to complete equivalent flipped classroom activities. In the fifth week, all the participants were asked to fill out a post-intervention questionnaire, containing two parts with a five-point Likert rating scheme. The first part consisted of six identical items used in the pre-intervention questionnaire to determine any changes in the students’ English-speaking anxiety, and the second part consisted of 12 items that were modified from Keller’s (2010) Instructional Materials Motivation Survey to examine the students’ perceptions of learning with the teacher-made materials. Specifically, the version for the experimental group centred on the evaluation of the TEBGs, while the one for the control group focused on the printed worksheets. As shown in Appendix 2, the modified motivation survey (for the experimental group) contained 12 items belonging to the four subscales: attention (items 1, 5, 9), relevance (items 2, 6, 10), confidence (items 3, 7, 11), and satisfaction (items 4, 8, 12). Lastly, both the experimental and control groups were asked to participate in interviews on an individual basis. Each interview took about 10 minutes. These interviews were audio-recorded and then content analysed in order to supplement the quantitative analyses of this study. With this aim, the interview protocol corresponded to the research questions, as follows: (1) Did participating in the classroom activities make you anxious? (2) Was participating in the classroom activities motivating to you? To elicit in-depth information, the participants were also asked to state their reasons for their responses. Due to limitations of space, this article only reports the perceptions of the experimental group who studied with the TEBGs in the gamified flipped classroom. Results Analysis of English-speaking anxiety The students’ English-speaking anxiety was measured using the pre- and post-questionnaires. Before the intervention, both groups reported similar anxiety levels when learning in conventional language classrooms; the average pre-questionnaire ratings were 3.47 (SD = 1.09) for the experimental group and 3.45 (SD = 1.01) for the control group. As shown in Table 3, the group means of the students’ perceived anxiety related to English-speaking situations in the flipped classroom were reduced to 2.23 (SD = 0.66) for the experimental group, and 3.27 (SD = 0.98) for the control group. The improvements seen for both groups might have been made due to the treatment conditions, with the gamified flipped classroom established for the experimental group being more beneficial in this regard. The one-way analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) results further revealed a significant difference between the two groups (F = 52.43, p < 0.01), indicating that the gamified flipped classroom was more effective than the non-gamified one in terms of decreasing the students’ English-speaking anxiety. table 3 The means and standard deviations of both groups’ post-questionnaire ratings on English speaking anxiety Items on English speaking anxiety Experimental group (N = 24) Control group (N = 24) M SD M SD (1) I never feel quite sure of myself when I am speaking English in my English classes. 2.25 0.79 3.29 1.04 (2) I get nervous and confused when I am speaking English in my English classes. 2.33 0.76 3.33 1.13 (3) I feel very self-conscious about speaking English in front of other students. 2.29 0.81 3.21 1.02 (4) I start to panic when I have to speak English without preparation in my English classes. 2.38 0.82 3.33 1.20 (5) It embarrasses me to volunteer answers in my English classes. 2.17 0.87 3.38 1.06 (6) I am afraid that the other students will laugh at me when I speak English. 2.00 0.66 3.13 1.08 Overall 2.23 0.66 3.27 0.98 Items on English speaking anxiety Experimental group (N = 24) Control group (N = 24) M SD M SD (1) I never feel quite sure of myself when I am speaking English in my English classes. 2.25 0.79 3.29 1.04 (2) I get nervous and confused when I am speaking English in my English classes. 2.33 0.76 3.33 1.13 (3) I feel very self-conscious about speaking English in front of other students. 2.29 0.81 3.21 1.02 (4) I start to panic when I have to speak English without preparation in my English classes. 2.38 0.82 3.33 1.20 (5) It embarrasses me to volunteer answers in my English classes. 2.17 0.87 3.38 1.06 (6) I am afraid that the other students will laugh at me when I speak English. 2.00 0.66 3.13 1.08 Overall 2.23 0.66 3.27 0.98 View Large table 3 The means and standard deviations of both groups’ post-questionnaire ratings on English speaking anxiety Items on English speaking anxiety Experimental group (N = 24) Control group (N = 24) M SD M SD (1) I never feel quite sure of myself when I am speaking English in my English classes. 2.25 0.79 3.29 1.04 (2) I get nervous and confused when I am speaking English in my English classes. 2.33 0.76 3.33 1.13 (3) I feel very self-conscious about speaking English in front of other students. 2.29 0.81 3.21 1.02 (4) I start to panic when I have to speak English without preparation in my English classes. 2.38 0.82 3.33 1.20 (5) It embarrasses me to volunteer answers in my English classes. 2.17 0.87 3.38 1.06 (6) I am afraid that the other students will laugh at me when I speak English. 2.00 0.66 3.13 1.08 Overall 2.23 0.66 3.27 0.98 Items on English speaking anxiety Experimental group (N = 24) Control group (N = 24) M SD M SD (1) I never feel quite sure of myself when I am speaking English in my English classes. 2.25 0.79 3.29 1.04 (2) I get nervous and confused when I am speaking English in my English classes. 2.33 0.76 3.33 1.13 (3) I feel very self-conscious about speaking English in front of other students. 2.29 0.81 3.21 1.02 (4) I start to panic when I have to speak English without preparation in my English classes. 2.38 0.82 3.33 1.20 (5) It embarrasses me to volunteer answers in my English classes. 2.17 0.87 3.38 1.06 (6) I am afraid that the other students will laugh at me when I speak English. 2.00 0.66 3.13 1.08 Overall 2.23 0.66 3.27 0.98 View Large According to the interviews, most of the students (83 per cent) described the classroom atmosphere as inviting and interactive, which made them more inclined to speak up in class. Many of the students (75 per cent) also commented that learning in the gamified flipped classroom was a playful and non-threatening experience, and thus they were more willing to communicate in the target language with less anxiety. Approximately half of the students (46 per cent) noted that although the game itself was not as entertaining as commercial board games, they enjoyed the group interaction during the gameplay and felt comfortable expressing their ideas and feelings in English. Analysis of student motivation The students’ motivation with regard to learning with the materials designed for the flipped classroom activities was assessed using the post-questionnaire. An independent-samples t-test was conducted to compare both groups’ motivational perspectives, as indicated by the subscales of attention, relevance, confidence, and satisfaction of the Instructional Materials Motivation Survey. As shown in Table 4, the overall motivation scores were significantly different between the two groups (t = 3.23, p < 0.01). Furthermore, the experimental group consistently reported higher ratings than the control group across the four subscales, with the subscales of attention (t = 9.08, p < 0.01) and satisfaction (t = 3.21, p < 0.01) showing significance. The results indicated that the students in the experimental group were overwhelmingly motivated to learn with the game-based learning materials. table 4 The independent-samples t-test results of both groups’ self-rated motivation in the post-questionnaire Subscale Experimental group (N = 24) Control group (N = 24) t M SD M SD Attention 4.43 0.58 3.00 0.51 9.08* Relevance 4.00 0.66 3.63 0.71 1.89 Confidence 4.25 0.61 4.00 0.59 1.45 Satisfaction 4.67 0.48 4.21 0.51 3.21* Overall 4.33 0.48 3.92 0.41 3.23* Subscale Experimental group (N = 24) Control group (N = 24) t M SD M SD Attention 4.43 0.58 3.00 0.51 9.08* Relevance 4.00 0.66 3.63 0.71 1.89 Confidence 4.25 0.61 4.00 0.59 1.45 Satisfaction 4.67 0.48 4.21 0.51 3.21* Overall 4.33 0.48 3.92 0.41 3.23* *Significance: p < 0.01. View Large table 4 The independent-samples t-test results of both groups’ self-rated motivation in the post-questionnaire Subscale Experimental group (N = 24) Control group (N = 24) t M SD M SD Attention 4.43 0.58 3.00 0.51 9.08* Relevance 4.00 0.66 3.63 0.71 1.89 Confidence 4.25 0.61 4.00 0.59 1.45 Satisfaction 4.67 0.48 4.21 0.51 3.21* Overall 4.33 0.48 3.92 0.41 3.23* Subscale Experimental group (N = 24) Control group (N = 24) t M SD M SD Attention 4.43 0.58 3.00 0.51 9.08* Relevance 4.00 0.66 3.63 0.71 1.89 Confidence 4.25 0.61 4.00 0.59 1.45 Satisfaction 4.67 0.48 4.21 0.51 3.21* Overall 4.33 0.48 3.92 0.41 3.23* *Significance: p < 0.01. View Large Most of the interview comments about the game-based learning materials or the TEBGs revolved around the technological components. Nearly all the students (96 per cent) thought the use of QR codes was a clever way for teachers to deliver content and for students to access it via personal mobile devices. They repeatedly mentioned how much they liked the educational use of mobile technology in class. One student noted: ‘Being encouraged to use my smartphone for classroom activities is amazing, as in other classes it would be banned.’ Many of the students (83 per cent) expressed their satisfaction with the inclusion of the TEBGs in the gamified flipped classroom. One student commented: Learning with board games was fun, and much more interesting than traditional textbooks and worksheets. The design and use of the teacher-made board games caught my attention and kept me focused throughout the learning process, which I would not otherwise do. Another noted: I found myself more confident in learning English because I felt that I was just playing a game, rather than completing an exercise or taking a quiz. I would not lose face even if I lost the game or performed poorly, because it was just a game. In short, the qualitative results obtained from the interviews support the quantitative findings of this study, and provide further insights into the students’ motivational perspectives on the use of TEBGs as game-based learning materials in the gamified flipped classroom. Discussions and conclusions This study is a quasi-experiment comparing two different flipped English classrooms to examine the impacts of the different approaches on the affective domain of student learning. The overall results suggest that the gamified flipped classroom is beneficial for EFL learners as it reduces their anxiety about speaking English in class and enhances their motivation to take part in classroom activities. At a broad level, the results of this study are in accord with prior research (Yu and Wang 2016), which showed that flipping the classroom creates an interactive environment where EFL learners participate actively to learn with and from one another. At a more specific level, the current study is unique in its adoption of a game-based learning strategy with the mediation of TEBGs to gamify the dynamics of flipped classrooms. A recent study (Hwang, Hsu, Lai, and Hsueh 2017) has shown the effect of a researcher-developed learning game on motivating EFL learners to persevere in completing learning-by-playing tasks, while also reducing their English anxiety. The current study confirms the value of using games for English learning, and further argues for the consideration of board games that are augmented by QR technology as an alternative to existing genres of learning games. It is thus hoped that some teachers will become early adopters of the gamified flipped classroom approach and even material designers of digitally augmented board games. The TEBGs implemented in this study offer several benefits. First, the use of QR codes to provide immediate access to digital content has low start-up costs, both in terms of money and time, because QR-code generators and readers are freely available to users and easy to operate (Crompton, LaFrance, and van’t Hooft 2012). Second, using personal mobile devices to learn by playing the TEBGs is in line with the Bring-Your-Own-Device trend of increasing integration of technology in higher education (Johnson, Adams Becker, Estrada, and Freeman 2015), and recent research has revealed a high acceptance of Bring-Your-Own-Devices by students in flipped classrooms (Hao 2016). Third, teacher-made board games for flipped classrooms enable the teacher–designer to purposefully align the game goals with the intentional learning content, which may not be possible when using commercial or off-the-shelf board games, as these are likely to be less flexible. However, some limitations can be identified in this study, and should therefore be addressed in future research. First of all, it is notable that while the use of TEBGs demonstrated in this work was capable of enhancing student motivation, this effect might be short-lived once their novelty has worn off. Future studies are thus recommended to conduct longitudinal investigations in order to determine the long-term impacts of such game-based learning materials on student learning. In developing board games for classroom use, teachers are also strongly encouraged to go beyond the question-and-answer structure by incorporating diverse game mechanics (e.g. voting, bidding, and set collection) to keep their students motivated. Another important limitation of this study was the lack of any measurement of the students’ language-learning outcomes, in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed approach. It is thus suggested that empirical data be collected via achievement tests or similar outcome measures in future studies in order to examine the pedagogical impacts of the proposed approach on language acquisition. To conclude, this study offers an integrated approach combining an active learning strategy (i.e. game-based learning) with associated learning materials (i.e. teacher-made board games enhanced by technology) to gamify the in-class activities of flipped language classrooms, which on the whole has proven to be effective for enhancing student engagement. Despite these findings, however, how to flip, and with what innovative approaches, are important questions that require careful thought and further investigation in order to obtain the maximum benefits of flipped classrooms. Acknowledgement This research was sponsored by the Ministry of Science and Technology in Taiwan under contract number MOST-106-2628-S327-001-MY3. References Bergmann , J. and A. Sams . 2012 . Flip your Classroom: Reach every Student in every Class every Day . Eugene, OR : International Society for Technology in Education . Chen , N. S. , D. C. E. Teng , C. H. Lee , and Kinshuk . 2011 . ‘ Augmenting paper-based reading activity with direct access to digital materials and scaffolded questioning ’. Computers & Education 57 / 2 ,: 1705 – 15 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Crompton , H. , J. LaFrance , and M. van’t Hooft . 2012 . ‘ QR codes 101 ’. Learning & Leading with Technology 39 / 8 : 22 – 25 . Hao , Y . 2016 . ‘ Middle school students’ flipped learning readiness in foreign language classrooms: exploring its relationship with personal characteristics and individual circumstances ’. Computers in Human Behavior 59 : 295 – 303 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Hung , H. C. and S. S. C. Young . 2015 . ‘ An investigation of game-embedded handheld devices to enhance English learning ’. Journal of Educational Computing Research 52 / 4 : 548 – 67 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Horwitz , E. K. , M. B. Horwitz , and J. Cope . 1986 . ‘ Foreign language classroom anxiety ’. Modern Language Journal 70 / 2 : 125 – 32 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Hwang , G. J. and P. H. Wu . 2012 . ‘ Advancements and trends in digital game-based learning research: a review of publications in selected journals from 2001 to 2010 ’. British Journal of Educational Technology 43 / 1 : E6 – E10 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Hwang , G. J. , T. C. Hsu , C. L. Lai , and C. J. Hsueh . 2017 . ‘ Interaction of problem-based gaming and learning anxiety in language students’ English listening performance and progressive behavioral patterns ’. Computers & Education 106 : 26 – 42 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Johnson , L. , S. Adams Becker , V. Estrada , and A. Freeman . 2015 . NMC Horizon Report: 2015 Higher Education Edition . Austin, TX : The New Media Consortium . Ke , F . 2016 . ‘ Designing and integrating purposeful learning in game play: a systematic review ’. Educational Technology Research and Development 64 / 2 : 219 – 44 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Keller , J. M . 2010 . Motivational Design for Learning and Performance: The ARCS Model Approach . New York : Springer . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Kostka , I. and R. Brinks-Lockwood . 2015 . ‘ What’s on the Internet for flipping English language instruction ?’ TESOL-EJ 19 : 1 – 12 . Prensky , M . 2007 . Digital Game-Based Learning . Saint Paul, MN : Paragon House . Wu , C. J. , G. D. Chen , and C. W. Huang . 2014 . ‘ Using digital board games for genuine communication in EFL classrooms ’. Educational Technology Research and Development 62 : 209 – 26 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Yu , Z. and G. Wang . 2016 . ‘ Academic achievements and satisfaction of the clicker-aided flipped business English writing class ’. Educational Technology & Society 19 : 298 – 312 . Zack, L., J. Fuselier, A. Graham-Squire, R. Lamb, and K. O’Hara. 2015. Flipping freshman mathematics. Primus 25: 803–13. Appendix 1: An illustration of a typical player turn during the gameplay Appendix 2: Instructional materials motivation survey © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press; all rights reserved. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/open_access/funder_policies/chorus/standard_publication_model)

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ELT JournalOxford University Press

Published: Feb 21, 2018

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