Published online by Cambridge University Press: 26 September 2012
This paper aims to provide a rationale for the utility of corrective feedback (CF) in digital games designed for language learning, with specific reference to learners’ perceptions. Explicit and elaborate CF has the potential to increase learners’ understanding of language, but might not be found useful in a game-based learning environment where the primary focus for the learner is on meaningful interaction and experiential learning. Also, as CF can be perceived as a measure of performance, it could harm learners’ perception of competence. Eighty-three learners of English as a foreign language participated in a mixed-method experimental study that aimed to first explore the perceived usefulness of, and preferences for, explicit and implicit CF in an immersive educational game, and to secondly chart the relation between learners’ perceptions of CF as they pertain to three individual difference factors related to learners’ self-perception, namely intrinsic goal orientation, perceived competence and game experience. Survey and interview data showed that CF was found to be generally useful. A regression model indicated that the three measures of self-perception affected learners’ perceptions of explicit CF positively, and that there was no impact on perceptions of implicit CF. Further, learners reported having enjoyed the implicit CF, although they did not find it particularly useful for learning. These findings indicate that the type of CF should be considered in the design of effective and enjoyable educational games.
This study is based on research funded by IBBT (Interdisciplinary Institute for Broadband Technology) and was conducted within the LLINGO project “Language Learning in an Interactive Game Environment” (ICON 2009).