Presenter: Chris McGuirk, University of Central Lancashire
The Quest for Learning: discussing learner motivation paradigms in an online gaming space.
Date: 11 May 2018
Time: 1pm – 2pm UK time
Recording of the session: http://connect.uclan.ac.uk/p2dfeky2k4e/
There has been considerable research into what motivates learners to participate within an online gaming space, with a number of those studies reporting heightened levels of motivation. However, the source of such motivation is arguably the source of controversy. Some theorists argue that students are motivated by a desire to integrate, which fits models of learner identity proposed by researchers such as Dörnyei (2009) and Kramsch (2009), whereas others propose an almost Thorndikian, behaviourist notion of motivation, possibly inspired more than a little by Skinner’s (2016) notions of reinforcement.
The underpinnings of the author’s doctoral study going forward, this presentation attempts to move away from defining motivation towards gaming in terms of the regularly quoted constructs, looking more at why gamers game, and how language learning fits into those reasons for gaming. Delving back into earlier theories about how learners are motivated, aligning them with recent hypotheses about the average gamer’s mind set, the author proposes that language learning within a gaming space may be highly implicit, by proxy, and strongly connected to other key factors driving players to succeed within the game.
Chris McGuirk is a lecturer in ESOL/EFL at the University of Central Lancashire. A teacher of EFL/ESOL/EAP since 2002, his research interests mainly lie in the field of CALL, applied linguistics and educational psychology, currently focusing on gamification, online identity development, virtual worlds and ambient learning. He has recently started a PhD at the University of York, looking at serious gaming and its impacts on a learner sense of self.