(Video) Games in the Language Classroom

A Gamified Distance Learning Course on Gamification and Game-Based Learning for (Pre-Service) Language Teachers

  • Ingo Kleiber (Autor/in)
    Universität Köln

    Ingo Kleiber studied English, political science, and economics at Heidelberg University, pursuing a teaching degree. He is an English linguist at the University of Cologne, and his primary research and teaching interests include corpus and computational linguistics as well as foreign language teaching. Currently, he is working on his Ph.D. thesis at the intersection of these disciplines. For him, good teaching means to communicate, to be empathetic, and to embrace both innovation and change.

Identifier (Artikel)


Gamification and game-based learning, especially in relation to modern technology, are widely discussed in various educational contexts. After providing a general introduction to both concepts, this paper discusses a gamified distance learning course on gamification and game-based learning targeted towards pre-service language teachers. Following a thorough discussion of the course design, Classcraft as the chosen gamification platform, as well as the experiences gained, an attempt is made to generalize some key insights. These focus on gamification and its role within higher education and teacher education as well as its relation to distance learning. The primary argument is that despite their proven effectiveness, traditional, reward-based game elements are less promising than their creative, narrative, social, and human-centered counterparts.




BUSSE, Beatrix, KLEIBER, Ingo. 2020. “Realizing an Online Conference: Organization, Management, Tools, Communication, and Co-Creation”, in: International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 25:3, pp. 322–46.
BLUME, Carolyn. 2019. “Games People (Don’t) Play: An Analysis of Pre-Service EFL Teachers’ Behaviors and Beliefs Regarding Digital Game-Based Language Learning”, in: Computer Assisted Language Learning, 33:1-2, pp. 109–32.
CLASSCRAFT. 2020. “Our Approach” (https://www.classcraft.com/our-approach/; accessed September 20, 2020).
CONWAY, Steven. 2014. “Zombification? Gamification, Motivation, and the User”, in: Journal of Gaming & Virtual Worlds, 6:2, pp. 129–41.
CHOU, Yu-Kai. 2019. Actionable Gamification: Beyond Points, Badges, and Leaderboards. Milpitas: Octalysis Media.
DECI, Edward L., RYAN, Richard M.. 2000. “The "What" and "Why" of Goal Pursuits: Human Needs and the Self-Determination of Behavior”, in: Psychological Inquiry, 11:4, pp. 227–68.
DETERDING, Sebastian, DIXON, Dan, KHALED, Rilla, NACKE, Lennard. 2011. “From Game Design Elements to Gamefulness: Defining ‘Gamification‘”, in: LUGMARY, Artur (ed.) Proceedings of the 15th International Academic MindTrek Conference: Envisioning Future Media Environments. New York: Association for Computing Machinery, pp. 9–15.
DEHAAN, Jonathan. 2020a. “Game-Based Language Teaching Is Vaporware (Part 1 of 2): Examination of Research Reports.”, in: Ludic Language Pedagogy, 2, pp. 116–39.
DEHAAN, Jonathan. 2020b. “Game-Based Language Teaching Is Vaporware (Part 2 of 2): It’s Time to Ship or Shut down.”, in: Ludic Language Pedagogy, 2, pp. 141–61.
DOMSCH, Sebastian. 2013. Storyplaying: Agency and Narrative in Video Games. Boston: De Gruyter.
GEIßLER, Karlheinz A. (ed.). 1985. Pädagogisch-Psychologische Grundlagen für das Lernen in Gruppen: Lernen in Seminargruppen. Tübingen: Deutsches Institut für Fernstudien. Studienbrief 3 des Fernstudiums Erziehungswissenschaft.
GIRARD, Coralie, ECALLE, Jean, MAGNAN, Annie. 2013. “Serious Games as New Educational Tools: How Effective Are They? A Meta-Analysis of Recent Studies”, in: Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 29:3, pp. 207–19.
GRÜN, Patrick, ANTON, Björn, KÖNIG, Alexander. 2019. “Wenn der Unterricht zum Spiel wird! Gamification mit digitalen Medien als Unterrichtsprinzip”, in: Computer+Unterricht, 105, pp. 4–7.
HATTIE, John. 2011. Visible Learning for Teachers. London and New York: Routledge.
HUBER, Ludwig. 2014. “Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: Konzept, Geschichte, Formen, Entwicklungsaufgaben.”, in: HUBER, Ludwig, PILNIOK, Arne, SETHE, Rolf, SZCZYRBA, Birgit (eds.) Forschendes Lehren im eigenen Fach: Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Beispielen. Blickpunkt Hochschuldidaktik. Bielefeld: W. Bertelsmann Verlag, pp. 19–36.
HUBER, Mary Taylor, HUTCHINGS, Pat. 2005. The Advancement of Learning: Building the Teaching Commons. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
HUNG, Aaron Chia Yuan. 2017. “A Critique and Defense of Gamification”, in: Journal of Interactive Online Learning 15:1, pp. 57–72.
HUNG, Aaron Chia Yuan, DEHAAN, Jonathan, LEE, To-Ken. 2018. “Games and Language Learning: An International Perspective”, in: NYS Tesol Journal, 5:2, pp. 3-11.
JONES, Daniel Marc. 2020. “Games in the Language Learning Classroom: Is the Juice Worth the Squeeze?”, in: Ludic Language Peda-gogy, 2, pp. 1–36.
KIM, Sangkyun, SONG, Kibong, LOCKEE, Barbara, BURTON, John. 2018. Gamification in Learning and Education: Enjoy Learning Like Gaming. Cham: Springer.
KROMMER, Alex. 2018. “Kurz Notiert: Warum ‚Classcraft‘ eine didaktische Bankrotterklärung ist”, (https://axelkrommer.com/2018/08/30/kurz-notiert-warum-classcraft-eine-didaktische-bankrotterklaerung-ist/; accessed Septem-ber 20, 2020).
MARCZEWSKI, Andrej. 2017. “Periodic Table of Gamification Elements”, (https://www.gamified.uk/2017/04/03/periodic-table-gamification-elements/; Zugriff: 11.12.2020)
PLASS, Jan L., HOMER, Bruce D., KINZER, Charles K.. 2015. “Foundations of Game-Based Learnin.”, in: Educational Psychologist, 50:4, pp. 258–283.
PLASS, Jan L., HOMER, Bruce D., MAYER, Richard E., KINZER, Charles K.. 2019. “Theoretical Foundations of Game-Based and Playful Learning.”, in: PLASS, Jan L., MAYER, Richard E., HOMER, Bruce D. (eds.) Handbook of Game-Based Learning. Cambridge: The MIT Press, p. 3–24.
QIAN, Meihua, CLARK, Karen R.. 2016. “Game-Based Learning and 21st Century Skills: A Review of Recent Research”, in: Computers in Human Behavior, 63, pp. 50–58.
REINHARDT, Jonathon & THORNE Steven L. 2019. “Digital Games as Language-Learning Environments”, in: PLASS, Jan L., MAYER, Richard E., HOMER, Bruce D. (eds.) Handbook of Game-Based Learning. Cambridge: The MIT Press, pp. 409–36.
ROUTLEDGE, Helen. 2016. Why Games Are Good for Business: How to Leverage the Power of Serious Games, Gamification and Simula-tions. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
SAILER, Michael, TOLKS, Daniel, MANDL Heinz. 2019. “Potenziale von Gamification: Empirische Befunde zum Einsatz in Schule und Unterricht.”, in: Computer+Unterricht, 105, pp. 8–11.
SAILER, Michael, HOMNER, Lisa. 2020. “The Gamification of Learning: A Meta-Analysis”, in: Educational Psychology Review, 32:1, pp. 77–112.
SAMARAS, Anastasia P. 2008. “Learning Communities in University Settings: Introduction”, in: SAMARAS, Anastasia P., FREESE, Anne R., KOSNIK, Clare, BECK, Clive (eds.) Learning Communities in Practice. Explorations of Educational Purpose 4. Dordrecht: Springer, pp. 87–88.
SANCHEZ, Eric, YOUNG, Shawn, JOUNEAU-SION, Caroline. 2017. “Classcraft: From Gamification to Ludicization of Classroom Manage-ment”, in: Education and Information Technologies, 22:2, pp. 497–513.
SUBHASH, Sujit, CUDNEY, Elizabeth A. 2018. “Gamified Learning in Higher Education: A Systematic Review of the Literature”, in: Com-puters in Human Behavior, 87, pp. 192–206.
TULLOCH, Rowan, RANDELL-MOON, Eva Katherine. 2018. “The Politics of Gamification: Education, Neoliberalism and the Knowledge Economy”, in: Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies, 40:3, pp. 204–226.
WETTKE, Christian. 2019. Gamification im Unterricht - Nicht nur Spielerei! Hamburg: AOL Verlag.
Forschungsansatz, -methode oder -verfahren
Gamification, Game-based Learning, Classcraft, Lehrkräftebildung, Fernlehre