ESL/EFL Student Anxiety: How Can the Implementation of MMORPGs Help Anxious Students?

UNCP Author/Contributor (non-UNCP co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Andrew Johnston Burns (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP )
Web Site:
Dr. Eun Hee Jeon

Abstract: Language anxiety is a serious issue for many students wishing to acquire a second or foreign language (L2); it can take many forms and affect many L2 learners in several different ways. The construct of language anxiety is composed of test anxiety, social anxiety, and computer anxiety; past researchers have tried to address the problem of language anxiety through traditional teaching methods employed in ESL/EFL classrooms, however these methods have limitations that can be addressed through the implementation of Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs) and Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC). Given the limitations of the traditional, or non-technical, teaching methods in addressing language anxiety, the present study examines the unique contributions of MMROPGs and CMC by synthesizing the results of previous studies to show how the implementation of MMORPGs and CMC can help alleviate anxiety in language learners. To this end, this paper specifically examines the electronic environment created in MMORPGs and its effect on anxious language learners, as well as what effect synchronous and asynchronous CMC communication strategies have on anxious language learners. The synthesized results show that online communication tools do have positive effects in lowering learner anxiety through several aspects including anonymity, slower conversation pace, and added control. Finally, the study offers a caveat, the online communication tools are not a panacea; there are limitations through competitive anxiety, power distances between cultures, miscommunication, public nature of discussion forums, and lack of intercultural knowledge.

Additional Information

UNCP Graduate School
Language: English
Date: 2017
Language Anxiety, Second or Foreign Languages, (EFL) English as a Foreign Language, (ESL) English as a Second Language, Effective Teaching Methods, Online Communication Tools, Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs), Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC)
Language and Education
Languages, Modern—Study and teaching

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