HomeThe Asia-Pacific Education Researchervol. 21 no. 3 (2012)

Effects of Vocabulary Games on Lexical Growth and Retention of Low-Motivated EFL Learners in Taiwan

Hui-chuan Liao | Margaret Chen

Discipline: Education, Languages



To examine the effects of a vocabulary strategy game program on compound noun learning and consolidation, a 20-hour quasi-experimental single group time-series research study was designed. A total of 79 low-motivated Taiwanese college students at the CEFR A1 (pre-basic) and A2 (basic) English proficiency levels participated in the study. Poker, Chinese chess, and gobang, along with several memorization-enhancing techniques, were utilized to facilitate vocabulary learning. Four specific research questions guided the study. The first looked independently at the effects of the invented poker, chess, and gobang games on vocabulary learning; the second at the holistic effect of the vocabulary program; the third at the effect of the game program on lexical retention one month later; and, finally, the fourth examined the effects across subgroups of different proficiency levels. Data were collected via the administration of a 174-item compound-noun test as pretest, after-poker test, after-chess test, posttest, and retention test. The data were analyzed with one-way repeated measures ANOVAs with subsequent protected t tests on top of descriptive statistics and independent-samples t tests. The results have shown that the vocabulary games, whether utilized independently or as a whole program, effectively facilitate learners’ lexical growth and retention. Pedagogical implications and suggestions for further studies are addressed.