Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Proceedings of  2nd  MEC TESOL Conference   2020          Pp 238-251

Full Paper PDF


Exploiting Gamification and Interactive Activities to Achieve Better Students’ Engagement
in ELT Classes

Ramesh Govindarajan
English Language Center
University of Technology and Applied Sciences
Nizwa,  Sultanate of Oman




Students’ active engagement and participation in the learning process has always been the most desirable factor in English Language Teaching (ELT) classes. Yet, it remains challenging for educators to engage students and make them participate. This qualitative research addresses the potential for exploiting gamification and interactive activities to achieve improved engagement in ELT classes. The integration of technology in education enables educators to use web-based games and interactive activities in ELT classes to get students’ engagement. An analysis of the research done in the related fields proves that games and interactive activities, integrated with technology, can be more effectively used in ELT classes to deliver better outcomes, which include enhanced motivation, active engagement, and willing participation of learners in the learning process. Another observation is that the current scenario has reinforced the need for using gamification and interactive activities in online classes. For instance, pedagogical applications like Forum (Moodle), Nearpod, Kahoot!, and H5P can be used in both regular face-to-face classes and in online classes. A careful analysis of some research findings proves that educators face a number of difficulties such as lack of training and insufficient time to prepare. However, the researchers in the field have also provided some possible solutions such as collaboration at different levels. The present scenario demands new approaches as online classes necessitate the implementation of modern techniques such as web-based gamification and interactive activities in order to actively engage students in ELT classes.
Keywords: gamification, interactive activities, pedagogical application, students’ motivation, technology integration, web-based games

Cite as:  Govindarajan, R. (2020). Exploiting Gamification and Interactive Activities to Achieve Better Students’ Engagement in ELT Classes.  Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Proceedings of  2nd  MEC TESOL Conference 2020: 238-251.


Akbari, E., Naderi, A., Simons, R., & Pilot, A. (2016). Student engagement and foreign language learning through online social networks. Asian-Pacific Journal of Second and Foreign Language Education. 1(4). DOI:

Albrecht, S., & Cherrington, A. (2019, April 16). The Value of Gamification for Language Learning. (YouTube video). Cambridge English. Retrieved from

Al-Issa, A. (2009). ELT games and teacher beliefs: The use of games in teacher education in Oman. Reflections on English Language Teaching, 8(1), 35–52 Retrieved from

Altuntaş, A. (2020). Gamification in the Language Classroom – World of ELT. Retrieved from

Atabek, O.   (2019).   Challenges   in   integrating   technology   into   education. Turkish   Studies – Information Technologies and Applied Sciences, 14(1), 1–19. DOI:

Biech, E. (2015). 101 ways to make learning active beyond the classroom. Center for Creative Leadership. Retrieved from

Bond, M, & Bedenlier, S. (2019). Facilitating Student Engagement Through Educational Technology: Towards a Conceptual Framework. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 1(1), 1–14. DOI:

Bower, M. (2017). Design of Technology-Enhanced Learning: Integrating Research and Practice. Emerald Publishing Limited. Retrieved from

Boyinbode, O. (2018). Development of a Gamification Based English Vocabulary Mobile Learning System. A Monthly Journal of Computer Science and Information Technology, 7 (8), 183-191. Retrieved from

Burton, R. (2019). A review of Nearpod – an interactive tool for student engagement. Journal of Applied Learning & Teaching Vol.2 No.2, 95-97.

Butler, G., Heslup, S., & Kurth, L. (2015). A Ten-Step Process for Developing Teaching Units. English Teaching Forum. Retrieved from

Cassie, J. (2016). Level up Your Classroom: the Quest to Gamify Your Lessons and Engage Your Students. Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development Available at

Chapelle, C. (2020a). Module 1: Introductory Lecture Iowa State University. Retrieved from

Chapelle, C. (2020b). Module 5: Integrating Technology into the Curriculum Iowa State University. Retrieved from

Chinyelu, F., O., & Esther F., F. (2019). Gamification – Influence on Elementary Pupils’ Learning Outcomes and Engagement in English Language – EA Journals. EA Journals, International Journal of English Language Teaching, 7(2), 50-62. Retrieved from

Courtney, D. (2020). Activities to Activate and Maintain a Communicative Classroom. English Teaching Forum 2020, Volume 58, Number 1, 10-21. Retrieved from

Dehghanzadeh, H., Fardanesh, H., Hatami, J., Talaee, E., & Noroozi, O. (2019). Using gamification to support learning English as a second language: a systematic review. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 1-22. DOI:

Dichev, C., & Dicheva, D. (2017). Gamifying education: what is known, what is believed and what remains uncertain: a critical review. International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education, 14(9), 2-36. DOI:

Ellis, R. (2004). Understanding second language acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Flores, J.F.F. (2015). Using Gamification to Enhance Second Language Learning. Digital Education Review, 27, 32-54.

GHOUNANE, N. (2020). Moodle or Social Networks: What Alternative Refuge is Appropriate to Algerian EFL Students to Learn during Covid-19 Pandemic. Arab World English Journal, 11 (3) 21-41. DOI:

Ginosyan, H. & Tuzlukova, V. (2015). Enhancing Omani University students’ writing and study skills: Discussion forum module. Indonesian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 4(2), 56-67. DOI :

Gurung, M. P., & Kadel, R. (2018). Efficacy of Moodle Forum in Teaching and Learning. The International Academic Forum. Retrieved from

Huang, H. Y. W., & Soman, D. (2013). A Practitioner’s Guide to Gamification of Education. Research Report Series: Behavioral Economics in Action. University of Toronto –Rotman School of Management.

Isaacs, S. (2015). The Difference between Gamification and Game-Based Learning – ASCD Inservice. ASCD Inservice. Retrieved from

Johnson, A. M., Jacovina, M. E., Russell, D. E., & Soto, C. M. (2016). Challenges and solutions when using technologies in the classroom. In S. A. Crossley & D. S. McNamara (Eds.) Adaptive educational technologies for literacy instruction (pp. 13-29). New York: Taylor & Francis. Retrieved from

Kessler, P. (2020). Module 5: Using Educational Technology in the English Language Classroom. Retrieved from

Mackenzie, A. (2014). Promoting Student Engagement in the English as a Foreign Language Classroom in a Japanese University. Toyo University Journal of Business Administration, 86. 129-143.

Natalie, D. (2015). Gamification with Moodle, Packt Publishing Limited, ProQuest Ebook Central. Retrieved from

Nation, I. S. P., & Macalister, J. (2010). Language Curriculum Design. New York & London: Routledge.

Plass J.L., Homer B.D., Kinzer C.K. (2015). Foundations of Game-Based Learning. Educational Psychologist,50(4), pp.258-283. DOI:

Rivers, W. M. (2000). Preface.  In W. M. Rivers. (Ed.), Interactive Language Teaching (pp. xi-xvi). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Sanmugam, M., Selvarajoo, A., Ramayah, B., & Lee, K. W. (2019). Use of Nearpod as Interactive Learning Method, INTED2019 Proceedings, pp. 8908-8915. DOI:

Sartor, V. (2018). Using H5p + Video to Support English Language Learners, On CALL, August 2018. Retrieved from

Sartor, V. (2020). Digital Age Pedagogy: Easily Enhance Your Teaching Practice with Technology. English Teaching Forum 2020, Volume 58, Number 3, 2-9. Retrieved from

Schindler, L.A., Burkholder, G.J., Morad, O.A. & Marsh, C. (2017). Computer-based technology and student engagement: a critical review of the literature. International Journal of Educational Technology in High Education 14, 25. DOI:

Selvi, K. (2010). Motivating factors in online courses. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, Volume 2, Issue 2, 819-824. DOI:

Shamsutdinova, E. K., Khakimzyanova, D. F., Melnikova O. K., (2017). Implementing Interactive Methods in Teaching General English for Future Programmers. Int J Sci Stud 2017;5(5):362-366 Retrieved from

Thakur, V. (2014). Teaching Grammar in an Integrated-interactive Framework: Some Pedagogical Applications. HuSS: International Journal of Research in Humanities and Social Sciences, 1(1), 18-21. DOI:

Veljković Michos, M. (2017). Gamification in Foreign Language Teaching: Do You Kahoot?. Paper presented at Sinteza 2017 – International Scientific Conference on Information Technology and Data Related Research. DOI:

Wardlow, L. (2016). How technology can boost student engagement. USA. Retrieved from

Wichadee, S., & Pattanapichet, F. (2018). Enhancement of Performance and Motivation Through Application of Digital Games in an English Language Class. Teaching English with Technology, 18(1), 77-92.

Wilkie, S., Zakaria, G., McDonald, T. & Borland, R. (2018). Considerations for designing H5P online interactive activities. In M. Campbell, J. Willems, C. Adachi, D. Blake, I. Doherty, S. Krishnan, S. Macfarlane, L. Ngo, M. O’Donnell, S. Palmer, L. Riddell, I. Story, H. Suri & J. Tai (Eds.), Open Oceans: Learning without borders. Proceedings ASCILITE 2018 Geelong (pp. 543-549). Retrieved from

Yolageldili, G., & Arikan, A. (2011). Effectiveness of Using Games in Teaching Grammar to Young Learners. Elementary Education Online, 10(1), 219-229. Retrieved from

Yunus, M., & Azman, M. (2019). Memory Stay Or Stray? Irregular Verbs Learning Using Kahoot!. Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Special Issue on CALL5(5), 206-219. DOI:


Ramesh Govindarajan is currently a lecturer at the English Language Center at the University of
Technology and Applied Sciences – Nizwa. He has more than twenty-five years of experience in
teaching English. His interests include using technology in teaching, teacher-training and elearning material development.