A Video Game-like English Class in a Japanese National University
Fukudai Hero is a gamified English class running at the University of Fukui, Japan. To gamify a class means to apply game dynamics to enhance students’ engagement and motivation. In FH students play the role of trainee heroes in Fukudai – a fantasy kingdom modeled on the university, whose official language is English. Part of their journey towards mastery is mission-based. Missions require students to (pro)actively use English to achieve tangible goals. Main missions are given on a weekly basis, while extra missions can be chosen from a list. They are not compulsory. Students are responsible for their own journey and track their progress through a point-based system that translates to a grading scale: the more missions students complete, the higher their grade. This paper discusses the reception of FH, insights on the changes in engagement, samples of missions, class materials and student work from the first two pilot classes.
Keywords: EFL • Gamification • Motivation • Engagement