Effect of Gamification on students’ motivation and learning achievement in Second Language Acquisition within higher education: a literature review 2011-2019

Nadia Azzouz Boudadi, Mar Gutiérrez-Colón


This paper focuses on a fairly new motivational technique, the so-called Gamification, which consists of introducing game mechanics in non-game environments to promote motivation and engagement. By the turn of the 21rst century, Gamification took off in the business field and soon after became an attractive concept for researchers and professionals in education as it appears to be an increasingly popular method to motivate learners. Nevertheless, it is still a nascent field in terms of empirical evidence available to firmly support its educational benefits. This paper intends to shed some more light on this topic through a comprehensive review of literature published in the most prominent journals. The present study is framed within the field of Second Language Acquisition (SLA) in higher education and Computer-Assisted Language Learning, and focuses on the effects of gamified learning environments on student’s motivation and learning. A Meta-analysis method was used to explore relevant empirical research published between 2011 and 2019. After reviewing a corpus of 68  papers drawn from the leading databases Scopus and Web Of Science, and from which only 15 could be included in the study, we can point out two main findings: (i) there is still very limited literature in the field of SLA and, (ii) results seem to be predominantly positive in terms of motivation and engagement but only a few studies confirm clear interconnections with learning outcomes. The results suggest a lack of solid correlations between Gamification, motivation and cognitive processes. 


Gamification; Second Language Acquisition (SLA); Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL); motivation; learning achievement

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