Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 13. Number1.  March 2022                                       Pp. 408-425

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The Effects of Mobile Game-Based Learning on Saudi EFL Foundation Year Students’
Vocabulary Acquisition

Amal Abdullah Alhebshi
English Language Institute, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, 

Nada Gamlo
English Language Institute, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Corresponding Author:


 Received:  12/28/2021                   Accepted: 3/1/2022                               Published:3/24/2022


Mastering vocabulary can be a challenge as a great deal of information is delivered in intensive English courses. This study investigates the effects of mobile games on EFL students’ vocabulary acquisition via the “Quizizz” application. A total of 56 female foundation year students from a Saudi Arabian university participated in this study. The purpose of the study was to explore the students’ attitudes, cognitive load and motivation concerning vocabulary acquisition. The study employed a mixed-methods approach. Two groups underwent a pretest and posttest to compare mobile game-based learning to traditional teaching methods. To examine the effect of this strategy on EFL students’ perceptions, both the control and experimental groups answered an online questionnaire. In a semi-structured interview, 10 participants from the experimental group expressed their perceptions towards mobile game-based learning. The study’s findings demonstrated that the experimental group outperformed the control group in the posttest results. It is noteworthy that although learners of the control group practiced vocabulary via the conventional teaching method, they showed a high level of agreement towards implementing digital gaming for vocabulary learning, similar to the experimental group. Furthermore, the experimental group expressed their acceptance of this strategy as an effective way of facilitating, retaining, and alleviating cognitive load during vocabulary learning. EFL teachers are, therefore, recommended to integrate mobile game-based learning into their vocabulary lessons.
Keywords: Cognitive load, mobile-assisted language learning, mobile game-based learning, Quizizz application,
vocabulary learning 

Cite as: Alhebshi, A. A., & Gamlo, N.  (2022). The Effects of Mobile Game-Based Learning on Saudi EFL Foundation Year Students’ Vocabulary Acquisition. Arab World English Journal, 13 (1) 408-425.


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Received: 12/28/2021
Accepted: 3/1/2022
Published: 3/24/2022

Amal Abdullah Alhebshi is a Masters in TESOL student at the ELI, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature from the Arab Open University and her research interests are English language teaching, especially integrating technology to facilitate English language teaching and learning.

Dr. Nada Gamlo is associate professor at the ELI/KAU. She holds a BA in English Language and Literature from KAU, an MA in TESOL from university of Newcastle and a PhD in Education from Warwick University. Her research interests are ICT in learning and teaching and mobile learning.